Less than three weeks ago, a colleague of mine passed away. It was too sudden, too fast, too unexpected. This was someone who another person said “was too full of life to be dead”. I was like how can this person be here today and then the next day he’s gone and its not like he’s away on holiday, he’s away forever?
Death does basically the same thing to us. It takes our loved ones from us, rids us of spoken promises and leaves us clawing for and clinging to cherished memories. We are often filled with pain which threatens to strip us of ourselves and the reason to live fulfilling lives.
While we grieved this loss, I tried to make sense of it (my need-for-logic persona at work) and even though I wasn’t able to, I realized that I was re-learning a few truths:
Savour the Moment: Every day is a gift. Actually, its every moment of life because you aren’t even guaranteed the whole day! Every breath you take is a gift, so while you are alive and breathing, savour the moment! Enjoy the time you spend with people, the strength to work, and even your senses while you eat delicious food (#yesfoodie) or watch sunsets.
Stop being Afraid: My greatest limitation for many years has been my mind. I’m not so much afraid of events or situations as I am afraid of people and most especially what my hyperactive (and mostly paranoid) mind creates. For a few years I’ve been taking proactive steps in an attempt to overcome the limits my mind has placed on me and suddenly I find myself screaming: “Stop being afraid!” Life is too short to live in fear of what people think or of what they’ll do, or if a situation or project goes wrong (Hello Miss Failed Perfectionist). I’m more determined than ever to overcome that part of my mind that isn’t letting me achieve my full potential.
Admit it, you’re a Lover: I was born to love. I love God with all my heart. I love my family in a quiet but fierce way. I love good food, laughter, music and landscapes. But you know, life has a way of making you numb and breaking your heart so much that you end up being a shell of your former self, and you hide your heart behind walls of ice and bushes of thorny black roses. But whats the point really, if you’re just going to die? I believe God put us on earth to fulfill purpose, but I’m sure he meant for us to enjoy our lives while at it. So what if I love and get heart broken? I’m not dead yet, so love again, dammit! I never really believed in the slogan but I can see the sense behind it when they say “It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all“.
Have no Regrets: I’ve always had conflicts within myself about this, because the many
things which have shaped and defined me to be the strong person I am today are the
same which I would take back in a hurry. Suddenly I find myself thinking why I spend so much mental and emotional energy on memories that I can’t change, when there are many more ahead of me to be made. Right now it just feels like a waste of time.
Just. Do. It: Like I said earlier, I procrastinate a lot on ideas and projects (like my blog posts or music production) because I want it to be perfect, and it gets to a point where I’m lost in the micro analysis of it all. If I keep up with this habit, I probably won’t have a legacy to leave behind. I want to be able to leave my footprints engraved firmly in the
sands cement of time, and waiting until everything is 100% isn’t going to cut it. Just do it. It may not make me famous but it makes me happy and that’s what matters.
I suddenly feel like I’ve woken up from a long bout of sleep. I see things with much more clarity and focus. Death hit close to home, but I try not to dwell on the pain. I will try to dwell on the second chance it’s given me to live life, and to live it to the fullest. So I’m going to love fiercely. I’ll appreciate and enjoy every moment I’ve been gifted. I’ll strive to become better without dwelling on my imperfection and I won’t look back anymore. Oh death, where is thy sting?
– Dedicated to Yakubu Kitchener, 1980-2016.