It was in my 200 level at the University that I learnt one of the greatest lessons of my life. I had worked hard to pass my Joint Admissions and Matriculations Examination Board (JAMB) exams and the post Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (post-UTME). My hard work and prayers paid off and I was admitted into the University. I had entered into the University with so much joy and enthusiasm. I had a perfect laid out plan on how my life on campus would be. The things I would do and those I will not do. In the pictures I painted, life was perfect.
However it just was not what I expected. All my plans came crashing down pretty fast. The high castles I have carefully constructed for myself in thin air came crashing down. To start with, finance was an issue. It is a well established fact that things are hard in the country. So things were not easy for my parents too considering the fact that I had three siblings in the University then plus me. I was not getting enough funds that I needed and sometimes I went hungry.
I literally struggled and managed till my second year. It was not easy and most times I was unhappy. I was sad. I was angry at life. While my friend got fifty thousand naira from her father every month, I was begging for at least ten thousand a month (which never came). In the midst of all this, we were packaging shaa. We went for lectures wearing our white shirt and black skirt like others. With smiles I covered my mood and smiled at the camera. Such happy and perfect pictures I posted on social media. Most people thought my life was perfect. I consoled myself with the ‘you are beautiful comments’ (a girl cannot kill herself nah, smile).
It was on one of those days that she chatted me up on whatsapp. A girl that I went to the same secondary school with. I was happy and elated. She left after our Junior Secondary and as I did not have a phone, I lost contact with her. After chatting with her for some minutes, I realized that in life nothing is static, changes can occur at any minute or second. It had been four years since I last saw her and within the four years, life had happened. She had lost her father. She has also relocated to her village in Enugu with her mother. She told me I was lucky to be in school as she had no one to pay her fees. She narrated to me how she had struggled to write WASSCE and though she passed her papers, going to the University was something her mother could not afford at that moment. My friend had computer training after our junior Secondary Examination. With her knowledge of computers, she worked at a Cyber Café in her village.
In her words, ‘I wish that I’m you right now. I was shocked and did not know what to tell her. While I sat in my room, crying that I did not see anything to eat for dinner, someone was somewhere wishing she was in my position. She wished she had the life which I was even unhappy about. While I was lamenting about all the things I needed which I could not get, another wished to have that life. I chatted with her and encouraged her. She was happy, she told me that such situations come with life and humans should not allow it get to them. Though I later lost her contact, chatting with her that night gave me hope, it made me see things in a whole new way. I learnt that happiness is not something you depend on others for, it is what you have to give yourself. Happiness is a state of mind.
So, let me ask you. Yes, you. How happy are you? Are you having a difficult time in life? Is the tide of the world sweeping you too fast? Are you unhappy with the way your life is going or how it turned out? That profession, yes, your profession, it was never what you wanted? You are depressed? You are tired of life? Ooh, do not be. Calm down I’m not here to preach, just trying to help. You owe it to yourself to be happy.
So before you complain and whine, remember, the life you have right now someone somewhere is wishing he has half of it. Of course, there are people who are also better than you but…. Be consoled that there are still people you are better than and help when you can.
Life is dealing with everyone. Do not be deceived by the smiles and mask of happy faces we all put on once the camera is watching us. Try to reach out to your friends, encourage them, go that extra mile to know and understand what is going on in their lives. More importantly, never judge. Laugh with them when they are happy, mourn with them when they mourn. Console them during their hard times.
Do not forget to stay happy. Do not bother about following doctor’s prescription of happiness, there is never an overdose of it. It is only when you have happiness in you that you will be able to spread it to other both those who seek it and those who do not. Remember the rule, ‘Nemo dat quod non habet ‘,you cannot give what you do not have.
Life sure comes with ups and downs. Just like a rose has thorns, there is always the sweet and bitter side of life. Stay happy and spread it!