You can live, now

So I am sitting down in one restaurant like this in Abule Oja where I went to eat unnecessarily expensive food for 600 and drink bottled water 100 naira just so I can charge my phone. Because, electricity has become like menstruation, coming once a month. My regards to Ambode. No hate speech because that one carries death penalty and I am not ready for that yet. In fact you can see the title of this article.

So anyway I am listening to old jams I have on my playlist. And the Live your life song by TI and Rihanna song comes on. And what TI is saying and a couple things I have been thinking about lately propel me to write this article. So the song starts and TI does his shutouts and all and says something.

Be thankful for the life you got.’

I know you have heard that a lot. From pastors and motivational speakers and your mothers. But it goes on

Stop looking at what you ain’t got and start being thankful for what you do got.’

That’s the part I found poignant. And what I want to add to that, even though I am not a super rich and successful rapper and I’m just a humble writer is

Make the best life out of what you have.’

In other words, live your life, now. Or as another rapper, Nas put it in his song, Live, now. You might wonder why I am making so much of this. Several things that have been happening for a while and some more recent events made me really think of it and realise lots of us aren’t living. And even more worrying is the reason.

So I have this friend, who hasn’t had a girlfriend in like 5 years. This is not a problem normally if he didn’t want one. But he did. I have nothing against young people without girlfriends believe me. If you have your reasons. Perhaps, religious, or otherwise. But that wasn’t why. This guy was a rapper. He loved women and girls. In all shapes and sizes and colours. He talked about them all day everyday for five years now. And I am forced to listen. I believe that gives me the locus standi to write about him.

So he loves females. Human females but has never had a relationship with any in as long as I can remember. I ask him why one day and he tells me the reason. I can’t believe it even though I have heard it from several other people. The reason is ‘he doesn’t have money.’

And that is the problem. Not just him but a lot of people believe that you need not just money, but a lot of money to be in love or have a romantic relationship. Not just relationships, but everything. A lot of Nigerians have this fallacious, idea. And yes it is wrong, false and as I said before, fallacious. Look at the girlfriend issue. There’s a girl/female for everyone/situation/condition/creature/person. I know broker people than him with girlfriends. Myself I didn’t get one because I struck gold and found a lot of money. I mean I still don’t have a lot of money now.

You see, he could have gotten a girlfriend that wasn’t materialistic. He could have gotten a rich girlfriend that didn’t require him to spend on her. There are a number of inconceivable ways around the issue. And don’t say all girls are materialistic because that is not true. And on rich or independent girls being hard to get, being the provider is even harder. It’s one or the other. So if you can’t get one, you can get the other. That’s the beauty of life. There’s always a way to get what you want, to live.

Don’t get this wrong. This article is not about girlfriends or getting one. You don’t have to unless you want to. And that is what this guy wants. But he won’t live his life because is convinced that he needs a lot of money to do so. He has given up on himself and won’t make any effort, even try. This reflects the attitude of most young Nigerian men.

I was talking with another friend, almost the same day. And he said randomly that one of his dreams was skydiving and ocean diving(whatever that is really called). So he says this is his dream, and one of the things he really wants to do and he will do it someday when he has ‘a lot of money.’ You see what I am saying? Someday when he has A LOT OF MONEY. That right there is the problem. This one too has given up on himself without even attempting to live his dream or life. He has convinced himself that there is no way to do it without plenty of money. This is horrible. He has never tried to find out. I mean it may be expensive. I don’t know. But if it was my dream I would find out, the price of diving gear, parachute, paying an instructor. For all he knows, these things cost under a hundred thousand naira, money I know for sure he spends on things he doesn’t want as much as he wants this.

So like I said, he might be able to get these things at second hand value, if he can’t get new, I don’t know. The point is, he never even tried. This like I said is the mentality of most Nigerian youths. It’s a very materialistic society and this is being encouraged by all of us unconsciously with our expectations and attitudes. A lot if us have convinced ourselves of the false fact that we need plenty of money for everything when in fact we really don’t.

You see, there are myriad ways to do/achieve what you want without ‘plenty of money.’ It merely requires that you may have to work, save, plan, hustle, be dexterous or creative. You could downsize your goals. For example, instead of ocean-diving, you can go river diving(if that’s a thing. I’m no expert. Like I said, that’s not my thing) So you can downsize, you can still do what you want, though you might have to sacrifice some other thing or things. You might have to compromise, say forego having flashy clothes or a gadget for something else you want.

There’s a company somewhere in the world offering a discount for that service you want. There’s a person somewhere waiting to discard that item you crave so badly. You just have to search, find a way to get it, live. And even if you don’t, you gotta try. TRY. That’s the point. Don’t give up on yourself, even if the Nigerian government has given up on you.

So whether by dexterousness, finding discounts, saving, compromise, sacrifice, downsizing, there’s a way out there for you to live your dream/life. You really do not need ‘plenty of money’ to do so. Who is going to give you plenty of money anyway? White people who believe they have met an African Prince? Naa. Don’t do that. Everywhere I go I see that most of us have convinced ourselves we need plenty money to live. And this is a very harmful, dangerous mentality.

Dangerous? Harmful? Yes. How so? You see firstly you will die brokenhearted because plenty money will never come from anywhere. You keep hearing people not doing anything saying life is turn by turn and ‘their turn’ to have money will come. But that’s not how it works and their turn never comes. They die having never lived even for one day. If a broken heart was all that was involved I wouldn’t worry. But these people that don’t live are a danger not just to themselves with their mentality but to others as well.

There are a lot of frustrated people being horrible out there. The waitress that gives you and your gf attitude when you go to eat because they think you are enjoying and blame you for their not doing so. The civil servant who thinks you are a spoilt kid because you are simply well dressed. Bro and sis we are all just civil servants and waiters. Some people just want to live. So you owe it to yourself to live, and to others to not be a wet blanket and piss on them while they are having their much worked for life.

If broken heart and disgruntlement was where it ended it would still be nothing. But the danger is still greater. When most people have spent their lives having done none of the things they wanted and with the firm conviction that they need lots of money to do so, they become desperate. So time is going. You haven’t done anything because you need ‘lots of money’. you start to try to acquire that ‘lots of money’ fast. Before you die, you gotta live. So you will do anything to live. ‘Yahoo yahoo’, MMM and other ponzi schemes and fraudulent activities, things that will hurt both yourself, your friends, family and society.

All this, starting with a simple false but innocent thought that ‘plenty money’ is the crux of life. Sure there are things we can all use plenty money for. Me, I would like to propose with a Bentley, bring Taylor swift to sing at my wedding and go to the moon for honeymoon. Believe me people are doing that now. Out of this world huh? I know right. But if I don’t earn plenty of money, I will still find a way to do the things I want, in the best way I can, with what I have.

This really doesn’t mean YOLO. Don’t die trying to live. Quite the contrary, live the best you can without dying to do so. And nothing will kill you faster than trying to speedily acquire ‘plenty money.’ It’s counterproductive really, if you think of it, a snake biting its own tail. Some of the things we even think we want or need to be happy, we don’t really want. But you will never know if you don’t try on some level, measure to live that thing you want. So in the end you could be trying to steal, cheat, get plenty money fast to do something you don’t really want. Or want as much as you think you do. I mean, what’s the difference between the guy who goes to a classy hotel or restaurant on his birthday and the rich yahoo boy who lives there? It’s the same experience. And sometimes one day is all you want, can stand. But you’ll never know if you don’t try that one day.

So pls brethren. Go therefore, and live. For your sakes, your friends, family’s, nation and single white people searching for love’s sake, live. Live now, in the way that you can. Live before you die and don’t die or kill to live.