you cannot come and die
I learned sometime last week that the question “hope you’re good?” is not accommodating enough because it allows the responder only the option to negate. And since replying with “no, I’m not good” could be unnerving and awkward in most social situations, people tend to answer in the default affirmative even when they aren’t telling the truth.
“Hope you’re good” is also (usually) a precursor to a request:
“Hope you’re good. Have you gotten the documents ready?”
“Hope you’re good. When will you send money?”
Its primary objective (in the Nigerian context) is usually to pave the way for a request, which defeats the purpose of a well-being inquiry. If you care enough, it is best to ask, “how are you?” and allow people to choose their response themselves. Yes, even if they say, “I’m fine”, and you know that they’re lying. Ask still; you never know who needs it.
So, how are you? How was your week?
If you returned to school this week, how did it make you feel?
The truth is, I don't have much to say this week. I’m exhausted. Actually, exhaustion is an understatement. This week, I went back to school, and I had to juggle long hours of back-to-back classes with work. I also had tutorials in the evening, which left me feeling zombified at the end of the day. I told a friend on a call yesterday that I feel how a person would feel the first time they start going to the gym. It’s very hard because you aren’t used to it, but with time it gets easier and perhaps even enjoyable. I had gotten used to living with only work on my mind, and returning to school after eight months has introduced a new tempo to my life. It’s uncomfortable, but I hope that subsequent weeks will be easier because only my eyes know wetin dem don see this week.
Ironically, this week has also provided me with much needed mental clarity. I know what I have to do, why things are hard and what I can do to make them easier. I saw a TikTok video earlier this week about structures, and why navigating your twenties can be so hard. I can’t find it anymore, but in the video, the lady shared that our twenties are difficult because they are a tough break from the structured environments we’re so used to. Think about it: as kids, our parents prepare us for school, we return home, do homework, watch an hour of Cartoon Network and sleep. On weekends, we do chores, homework, go to Mr Biggs and church on Sundays; and the cycle repeats itself. At every point in time, we’re told what to do. We look at our parents and guardians like harbingers of order. Their instructions make us feel secure.
But in your twenties, and especially in uni, you have to create that structure for yourself. Nobody will beat you if you don’t attend classes. You can use your rent money to buy hair or a car. You are responsible for most of, if not every, decision you make, and their impending consequences. It takes a while to realise that the life you’re living is yours. I have had several moments where I really wanted someone to make decisions on my behalf so that I could pin the consequences on them when things went south, but that’s not happening anymore, and it’s scary.
I’m on my own.
So what happens? I do the most to cover all grounds. I overdose on self-improvement. I work, learn about finances, take on my responsibilities with an anxiety-induced drive, try my best to handle my relationships, and iterate as much as possible.
Part of why I do a lot is because I have a future in mind that requires so much from me. Where I am right now is a far cry from where I want to be tomorrow, so I must move. In the past, worry used to translate into inactivity. I would panic and freeze up the way face muscles do at the sight of an old love. Now, worry propels me to do a lot. To keep moving, to not stop. I know I am on the right path, so I must move.
This in itself is not a bad thing. At an event I hosted last week, Adia Sowho, the keynote speaker, said that: as young people, we must take ownership of our lives. Taking ownership means being the key actor in your life. Being the person that makes things happen. It looks like doing all the things I stated above, sans the anxiety, (if you’re lucky).
However, the thing with moving is that it’s easy to become the proverbial hamster running on the wheel. Capitalism will do this to you. My biggest shortcomings revolve around how easy it is for me to forget taking care of myself when I’m on the run. It almost feels like allowing myself to calm down and work/walk at a pace that is easy and healthy feels like a slippery slope, which can be dangerous. Inactivity is healthy. You need to pause from time to time to allow your body to heal. To breathe. I know this, but it can be really hard putting it into practice when there are 101 things to do in a day.
But it doesn’t hurt to be reminded, does it? That I am not a self-improvement project, that I am, first, a living, breathing human being. That eating cake in the middle of the night doesn’t make me a sinner, and hating how my body looks once in a while, doesn’t mean I am not making progress in loving and accepting myself. That having a slow work week because I’m back to school and trying to find my bearing doesn’t make me a terrible employee, and sleeping for eight hours when I have exams in a month isn’t irresponsible.
Rest is important. You have so many years ahead of you, don’t ruin your health before you get to enjoy the fruit of your labour. Do what you have to do, but take your time to relax. Zukwanike. Rest. Sometimes. Not always oh. But rest sometimes.
With this, I must also say that it’s important to know yourself and what works for you. Reading overnight or working long hours may not be your cup of tea, and it shouldn’t make you feel bad. Instead you can think of ways to make cups of tea that best suit you. It’s perfectly valid.
I don’t have anything else to say, but I hope next week will be better for all of us.
Media I consumed this Week
I didn’t watch any films this week, because time no dey again. I also didn’t read anything that wasn’t academia. The most interesting I learned this week was about conflict of laws and the concept of renvoi.
However, Rihanna dropped Lift me Up for the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever movie, which was amazing. I had missed her. Taylor Swift dropped Midnights, and while I haven’t enjoyed the album, the track: Anti-Hero does nice things to my brain. Feels so vivid in my head, and I love when songs do that. High Infidelity and Glitch are also really nice tracks. Taylor Swift is a fantastic songwriter.
That’s all. Here is a cute picture.
XOxO. Rooting for you!
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