I am an experienced Social Media practitioner with a strong passion for connecting with customers of brands. As part of a team, I presently work on the social media account of a leading European auto company. On this job, I have brought my vast experiences in journalism, marketing, search engine optimisation and branding to play.
By M. Babajide-Alabi
Many times we get carried away with world or national politics, business and issues that we are literally lost in the commotion of ideas and events that follow. We are deeply involved in what is directly or indirectly happening around us that we often neglect the most important things that we should always celebrate. In the technological age we live in right now, news, politics, business etc are pushed in our faces every minute of the day through various means and medium, that we have no choice than constantly analysing.
I decided to take a brief break from politics and economy today, I took a critical look at my reactions to a few issues in recent weeks and I realised I take more time than usual nowadays to react to events that do not directly impact on me. I have not been able to explain what’s going on, but my close friends are wittingly suggesting it might be down to “growing old.” Instinctively I have had to vehemently disagree with them.
However, “growing old” resonated with me last week Thursday, as I marked my birthday. On this day, I paused to think about the connection between maturing and experiences. In my journey to understand the true “art of growing” two inseparable words have continually popped up in my head. They are life and time.
It is no discovery that life is a journey but not a destination. From childhood to adulthood, it can be likened to when we pack our suitcases for a journey from point A to point B. Some methodically planned journeys work out fantastically, while some turn out to be nightmare. And surprisingly some journeys that are not planned st all end up being fun for the travellers. But in the journey of life, no one can predict the end.
“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made of” (Anonymous). Time is a crucial factor to a successful life. My first thought on the morning of Thursday April 7 was how fast time flies, considering the fact that 2015 birthday seemed like yesterday. But unfortunately, the days had rolled into weeks and the weeks into months and a full year had gone by.
The 2015 birthday celebration was meant to be an important one in my journey of life, of which I decided should be done differently from what I had done before. I am not the average party person who at every opportunity gathers people around to wine and dine on their bill. Not for anything economical, but the fact that charity is always profitable than an open display of “benevolence” to people who most likely forget your party a week after. 2015 was to be a 360 degree turn around from this long held belief. The idea was to have a modest celebration in thanksgiving to the Almighty Father for blessings, protection and diverse breakthroughs in years gone by.
To achieve this ‘modest’ celebration, by the first day of the month plans were in high gear on the modalities. In the days to follow the popular cliche – man proposes, God disposes was driven home for me. On the morning of 3rd April, 2015, I got the call that my beloved father, Chief John Alabi, had been hospitalised. As expected I was torn between two worlds, separated by thousands of miles, but connected by technology, which allowed me to speak to him. Technology, tried as we may, was not a good substitute to being at the bedside, or to have held his hand and assure him that all would be well.
Probably sensing my guilt of being physically absent by his side, he hid his pain as much as possible to avoid any pity. Such was his nature, that at every opportunity he placed other peoples feelings and needs before his. He was not a man to indulge in self pity, even when the reality of life and time was starring him in the face.
However, it was not a good cover up of the fact that he knew his time on earth was gradually coming to an end. This phone conversation with a loving, caring and honest father weakened me, and set me in a state of disorientation which, as expected, put doubts on any left over plans for birthday celebrations. When the phone call announcing his call to glory came the following day, it was as shattering as it could ever be.
I know the scriptures says we are all appointed to die but the reality that he would die was far away from me. He was too large an individual in my life that there was no thought that we would be without him one day. Make no mistake, I did not see him as god, but there was something in me that believed death could not touch him. After his demise, and many times on soul searching exercises, I had concluded that my thoughts of him was probably shaped by my knowledge of the many adversities he faced and conquered in his life time.
As I write this it seems unreal that a year has passed by since he has been gone. Thinking about this has reiterated in me once more the essence of time in the life of a man. We are in today, but before a short time, today becomes yesterday and in a blink of an eye, today becomes a year ago. The reality of time in the life of humans also drives home the saying that it waits for no one.
In trying to understand time further I also evaluated the process of growing up. Looking back now, as I indulge myself to soak in past memories and events, I marvel at the full cycle they have taken. As a teenager, I often wondered why my father was always on my case, and never believed I could make correct decisions in this journey of life. As a father now, and as I watch my children in their teenage years, I can fully relate to his thoughts. I can now understand why he was always double checking on my decisions and every step I took.
As a father, and a responsible one for that matter, he had planned out my future ahead of me. I had no thought I hurt him when I didn’t end up in his choice secondary school or university. The reality of the magnitude of his hurt hit me in the face a couple of weeks ago. My son got admission offers into three colleges for his A Levels. I tried goading him towards my preference, but it did not take a long time for me to realise my opinion on his choice would not carry much weight. Imagine how I felt.
Looking back now after having transformed over a period of time, I could not but agree with this quote from William Makepeace Thackeray –
“At certain periods of life, we live years of emotion in a few weeks, and look back on those times as on great gaps between the old life and the new.” True!
Rest on Chief John Oluwabayofunmi Alabi.