I remember when I was young and all I wanted to do was become an adult. At the age of 5, I would wear my mum’s dresses and high heeled shoes and pretend I was gossiping on the phone with my friends. I remember when I was 10, my older brother locked me in my room while he watched Police Academy because my dad said I was too young to watch. I remember on the eve of my 13th birthday how excited I was at the prospect of becoming a teenager only to discover my parents couldn’t care less. I still vividly recall writing them a letter explaining that as a teenager, I was now an adult. I explained that as an adult I required more pocket money to buy ‘adult things’ and wanted my curfew changed from 5pm to 9:00pm. My father instead concentrated on my spelling mistakes in the letter while my mum complained about the illegibility of my hand writing. When I complained that they were missing the point, my dad promptly told me that if I believed I was now an adult, and needed more money I could get a job. I never mentioned the letter again. Even till today I still recall the arguments I had with my mum during my teenage years about make up, boys, short skirts…the list was endless. At the end she would always say…Glory, you are trying to grow-up too fast!
I entered my twenties with such excitement. The parties, the boys, the cloths, the FREEDOM! I was 21 and legally an adult. I had a first degree and the world was my oyster. I was going to be a multi-millionaire, own my own home and have a conglomerate with a dotting husband and 3 wonderful children all by the ripe old age of 30. Why not? Nothing was impossible. I was Glory Obiajulu Edozien and the world had nothing on me. Then I moved to London for my Masters and life began in earnest. There was no bank account of daddy and mummy. There was no shoulder to cry on and give me the needed confidence boost I so craved. I was alone and life was hungry for blood! My job was crap and the boys were even crapper! The parties were filled with the same faces every Friday night and the designer bags and cloths were getting too expensive, without daddy’s purse. I had responsibilities, my rent, petrol costs, my bills, my credit card repayments, my groceries, my cloths….sheesh! Then there was the close friend (the so called sister from another mother) who betrayed me, the boyfriend I loved who cheated, the job I wanted that I didn’t get and the friend I loved who died. Life……
All of a sudden life wasn’t as rosy as I thought it would be. I realised there was nothing I had control over. Absolutely nothing. I was 28 with no conglomerate and was definitely not a multi millionaire. Even my friends who were married with children reminded me daily that the grass was no greener on the other side. Instead as my responsibilities and people’s expectations of me increased with each passing second, my own confidence in life continued to decrease drastically.
Then one day, it happened. I am not sure how exactly. But it was over Christmas holidays and I was talking to my father at his bedroom veranda. He was telling me stories from when I was a toddler. My first word, my first tricycle, my first fall, my first footsteps….and then for no apparent reason I started to cry. At first it was the silent one eyed tear that could easily go unnoticed. Then suddenly, without any warning whatsoever, it became a gut wrenching, nose sniffling cry! My dad looked at me in amazement. “My darling daughter” he said as he removed his glasses and placed his hands on my shoulder ‘ogini’ [what is it]. “Why are you crying?” He asked as he looked at my face with a bewildered look in his eyes.
It took me almost two full minutes to regain my ability to speak. But after wiping my eyes with my palms, my tear ducts decided to take a water break. “I am tired daddy” I finally said.
“Tired of what my dear?”, he replied moving his chair closer to mine.
“Tired of trying daddy” I answered. Life is just too hard. “If it’s not one thing it’s another. I want to be a child again, I want to be in diapers and not have to worry about anything. I want my biggest concern to be what toy I want for Christmas and not where the next rent payment is coming from. I want someone else to decide what I should wear and where I should work instead of putting up with all the office and tribal politics at work”. “I am scared daddy”, I continued. “Scared that none of my dreams will come true. Scared that next year I will still be stuck in the same ole rot I am in now, without any improvement or indication that things will change for the better. Scared that my dreams will remain just that…dreams”.
My father’s bewildered frown had now turned into a smile. “My dear daughter”, he said as he took my hand into his. “You will be just fine”. “How do you know that daddy”? I asked cutting him off. “How can you be sure”? “Because I too had those same fears”, he answered looking straight at me. “I too wondered whether the storms of life would cripple my ambition and drive. But look at me now. Look at our family. Life is a hard place, but you must fight your way through. You must learn to stand up straight after every fall, count your losses and move on”. “You must learn it”, he repeated. “That is what grown-ups do”.
So after my somewhat tear filled conversation with my dad I started to reflect on life and I realised two things. First, life doesn’t always hand you your dreams on a platter of gold. You have to fight your way through. Some fights you lose and some you win, but whatever the case, win or lose, the lessons you learn are invaluable and the person you become through those challenges is the Person God may have just intended you to be. Secondly, life isn’t for kids, everything has its time, so enjoy the process of growing up….laugh and learn from your mistakes, celebrate your achievements no matter how small and appreciate those around you. We only get to live this life once, so it’s about time we all start enjoying the process.
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