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Falling Forward

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It’s not easy to make changes, not when everything seems to be “ok”. As long as we can pay the bills, meet our needs and go for the occasional night out, we’re good. And as long as we have that, it’s easy to forget that niggling feeling at the back of your mind that this is not exactly what you planned life to be. As long as your needs are met, it’s easy to forget fulfillment. Sometimes, however, life throws you a curveball that makes all your plans irrelevant. Out of the blue, something happens and we realize that perhaps, this is the perfect opportunity to go ahead and “try” something new. It doesn’t matter if you fail or succeed, all that matters is that you try.

Whenever I’m asked why on earth I made the move from Abuja to Lagos, I glibly reply that I needed a change of scenery. In truth, it was nothing as clear as that. For 3 years, I had a job the main advantage of which seemed to be helping me to add “able to work with minimal encouragement and constant criticism” to my CV.  Despite this, I had worked on, putting my head down and doing my bit and then taking a good chunk of the end of the month cheque for an outing with some friends where we would all complain about how hard our lives were and how horrible our bosses were and how to cap it all, we were still single! A series of events led to the realization that not only did I no longer want my job, I wasn’t particularly wanted either! I finally resigned and finally had to face up to the fact that I was frustrated and bone weary, and that at less than 30, my life was already in a rut! An invitation for a weekend holiday in Lagos came just in time. I packed for a weekend and ended up staying almost 2 years.

Lagos was not fun, far from it. I was unemployed and had no savings. For 6 months I languished in some sort of depression, trying to figure out exactly what my purpose in life was and bemoaning the fact that I simply had no idea what to do next. All I knew was that I needed something different. I endured days with low rations and the inevitable side comments and behaviour that come from not contributing your quota. I also watched friends hustle and achieve, and began to realize that my survival would lie in my ability to end my pity party, and change the habits of a lifetime. Instead of waiting for life to hand me what it wanted, it was up to me to get up and make my life what I wanted it to be.

In the 2 years I was in Lagos, I worked as a TV presenter, a personal assistant and an artiste manager. I started writing again and experienced the blissful moment when my work was used for a national campaign. I also learned lessons; I learned to walk up to people I’d never met and introduce myself like their oldest friend. I learned to write proposals and sit outside an office for hours waiting for a boss who had seen 5 million just like me the day before. I learned not to get upset when I was ignored or insulted by people who decided I didn’t conform to their standards of acceptability, not to feel bad that I had only 3 highly recycled evening clothes despite working in a media-related industry. I learned to say yes and stand by it and never let anyone see my doubts and worries. I learned to survive.

In August, I got an opportunity to be on a reality show. It was like an exam for all the preceding months of preparation. It was a grueling and intensive period that required every single bit of mental strength I had managed to gather. And even with that, I spent nights, staring tearfully at the stars and asking God why everything seemed to be so much harder for me. After 3 months, however, I came 4th and came home, totally proud of myself, and who I had become. I had set targets and met them, worked hard, cried hard and made friends. Wana Udobang talked about a Master’s degree in life, I had finally gotten mine.

I got off the plane in Abuja feeling like a champion; with even less money than I had when I left and headed back to my mum’s house. But somehow, it’s not a big deal. I realize I have everything it takes to become whoever it is I want to be. I know I can achieve it; I’ve just got to plan it. And somehow, even though here seems to be no physical evidence to back me up, I know it’s going to be a great year because I’m going to make it one. I’ve rolled up my sleeves; I’m getting ready to work!

If I hadn’t lost my job though, I would never have known that there was so much to get out of life. I would never have known what I was capable of. And that is the reason why I will always be grateful to God, for seeing far ahead as usual, and making things just hot enough that I had to move.

Once in a while, life gives you an opportunity to erase your script and start totally afresh; new plans and new potentials. Once in a while, life gives you an opportunity to make your childhood dreams come true. They don’t usually look like opportunities though: the end of a relationship, the loss of your job, one disappointment or another. I believe we owe it to ourselves to be the happiest and most fulfilled we can be, because no one can do that for us; it’s our responsibility. And so, even though it seems scary and strange, the best thing we can do is take a deep breath…and jump! Who knows, you might just land on a dream come true.

Photo Credit: www.shutterstock.com

51 Comments

  1. Ronnie's Jeans

    January 19, 2011 at 9:13 am

    I really needed to read something like this today. I woke up thinking “I’m going to choose a thankful disposition, not be afraid to make changes this year etc” and this has re enforced my conviction. Great read!

  2. milzpolzy

    January 19, 2011 at 9:36 am

    yippie…1sssssssttt

    @writer: u forgot to add “Put God first in all things and watch everything fall into place”…

    All d best

  3. NneSomebody

    January 19, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Aaaaaw, bless! This really is very inspiring. Keep writing o, you have a gift.

  4. Gloria Anthony

    January 19, 2011 at 10:05 am

    Nice write up, i love this phase “I believe we owe it to ourselves to be the happiest and most fulfilled we can be”

  5. lizzy

    January 19, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Awww, Arit from the Debaters. Luv you girl. Looking at you, no one will know that you’ve been there and back (M.Sc, School of life).

    Thanks for the encouragement. May God cause your current level to be the best you can ever be. Keep on shinning, and please, keep writing cos u’re good.

  6. lizzy

    January 19, 2011 at 10:31 am

    sorry dear, i meant May God cause your current level to be the **LEAST** you’ll ever be.

  7. Ajike Gold

    January 19, 2011 at 11:10 am

    I made a choice to be grateful recently and the result has been ‘peace and hope’.
    Good one Arit.

  8. notaplayahater

    January 19, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Good one Arit…..keep on keeping on

  9. Me

    January 19, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Nice

  10. KLK

    January 19, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Sweety
    Thank you soooo much for this.
    I think your article was made just for me
    Thanks again
    Keep up with your good work

  11. ochella

    January 19, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    ARIT FROM THE DEBATERS….
    Welldone.

  12. susan dikeh

    January 19, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    so very inspirational,keep up the good job cos u’re touching many lives with this and am one for sure,welldone.

  13. laraak

    January 19, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    Arit nicely written,this struck a part of me.

  14. cheaster

    January 19, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    this article has made me realize that its not only my shoe that hurts but alot of other people feel the same way too. truely inspiratiional, everyone should wake up and say, am happy at what i am today, and grateful to God for been there all the way! i so long to have a doctorate degree in life experinces knowing fully well that its never too late or been in a hurry for we would all get to the top one day.

  15. foolish talk

    January 19, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    OMG! THIS IS MY STORYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

  16. Ytee

    January 19, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Good writeup, keep it up!

  17. Bella Noire

    January 19, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Great piece, Arit.

  18. lizk

    January 19, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Wonderful and inspiring story!

  19. dante

    January 19, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    Thank you so much Arit for this.. God bless you

  20. Miss ATL

    January 19, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Very very nice write up. Like you, I get that nagging feeling that I’m stuck in a rut simply because everything is “ok.” I’ve said too many times that I feel like I’M JUST FLOATING, and will go where the wind carries me. But I’ve purposed in my heart and mind to seek direction from God, and strive to make changes in my life. One might be stuck in their job, but you can always find a new way to approach your tasks, go above and beyond, and move to the next level.

    Your piece, like many of my co-commenters have said, is very inspirational. God bless.

  21. sequoyah

    January 19, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    WOW! this is hope distilled and bottled. ready to drink! God bless you for sharing.

  22. sequoyah

    January 19, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    WOW! This is inspiration distilled and bottled. Ready to drink! God bless you for sharing your gift with the world.

  23. myne Whitman

    January 19, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    This was really touching and inspiring. I’m motivated to JUMP! Thanks for sharing.

  24. Feelitx

    January 19, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    Well written. You sure have a gift. you can write more.

  25. Nneka

    January 19, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    I enjoyed reading this Arit!

  26. Oma

    January 19, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    thanks for this.quite inspiring. http://lifethroughomaseyes.blogspot.com

  27. Timma

    January 19, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    Lovely piece! keep up the good work.

  28. Pizzazz

    January 19, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    Thank you for this…It’s not everyone that can share their experiences and still have so much hope,wish you all the best and your worst is over dear,you’re best is right around the corner…Good job on the Debaters too…Much love

  29. ope

    January 19, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    God bless you Arits! I really did need this…. God keeps in perfect peace him whose mins is stayed on Him…He would perfect everies…we just have to keep believing. I always saw, when I jump off the cliff, I am confident that I just cannot drown…. Great post Arits

  30. Toyin Inniss

    January 19, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    It takes quite a lot to go thru the hoops of life and still come out scratched but with the ability to walk with ur head on ur shoulders and a smile on ur face. Thanks for being a lighthouse. For reminding me that fairy tales and happy endings are feasible, realistically I can live my dream. Wonderful piece Arit.

  31. debbiesworld

    January 20, 2011 at 12:17 am

    The prayer is that God should shift us and give us the grace to be able to take bold steps.

  32. shade

    January 20, 2011 at 7:22 am

    Well said. Thank you for inspiring me.

  33. sehby

    January 20, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Lovely! well done Arit.

  34. Den

    January 20, 2011 at 10:31 am

    This is really inspiring,well done

  35. steezy

    January 20, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    beautiful piece!!!!!!!!!!

  36. bcgeorge

    January 20, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    If you are holding on to a job that no longer meets your needs or talents… LET IT GO!!! T.D.Jakes….nice piece ARIt..may God grant ur heart desires..cheers

  37. tootie

    January 20, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    Yes, God always sees ahead of us and surely has the best plans for as many that trust in Him. Just like you said, it sometimes involves letting go of something we see as valuable to get what God sees as valuable.May God help us to always see the light at the end of the tunnel so we would hang in a little longer and not give up too easily.God bless you Arit.

  38. Mary

    January 21, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Absolutely brilliant!

  39. Yumium

    January 22, 2011 at 4:53 am

    Truly inspirational! You’re definitely on the right path as u have inspired more than one person. Keep going at it; and just like you, my sleeves r rolled u. still takn that deep breath cus i’m about to jump. abosolutely brilliant! x

  40. mary007

    January 22, 2011 at 11:24 am

    What I truly love about this is that its so real, next door girl story and Arit you wrote it like it is!!! lovely, wish you well and girl you are optimistic

  41. Smv

    January 22, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Exactly wt I wanted to read…..well composed! God bless u as u ve blessed me this wonderful and sad evening for me…sob!

  42. Cynthia

    January 24, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    This article is just so “hopeful” 🙂
    Thanks… more people needed to read this than you can ever IMAGINE!

  43. onyinye

    January 26, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Like dis is what I nid ryt now!!
    Wonderful write up..keep it up

  44. Chibaby

    January 26, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Very nice read. Everything in life happens for a reason. My goal this year, which started last year November, is to be more thankful and happy; My goal is to live(as in do unordinary things, do what I want to do, Forgive myself, forgive others, feel pain, love, sadness, happiness if I want to, etc). Living my life is what makes it very fulfilling.

  45. Sk

    January 28, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Glad I finally got to read this…Very authentic
    Tells the story of many young people and the choice we can decide to take…Well done….Debater

  46. wealthy one

    February 2, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    very interesting and inspirational, not turning to pot belly men as a solution, but finding the real talent that God has given you, you were in University of Calabar, in biochemistry? I’m proud of you, your story is similar to mine, I’m so jumping forward, with God first.

  47. Abayomi

    February 3, 2011 at 1:11 am

    Surely inspirational. Life has a way of dealing with you but it’s only that person that takes on the challenge that we have testimonies like you. A look at most success stories shows that there was always a turning point based on the premise of dedication and determination.

  48. lola

    June 15, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    thanks a lot i really need this, very inspiring.

  49. tmtmtmte

    July 5, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    This piece shouldn’t be under relationships. It should be in inspired!
    Well said arit.

  50. Debs

    July 6, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Once in a while, life gives you an opportunity to erase your script and start totally afresh; new plans and new potentials. Once in a while, life gives you an opportunity to make your childhood dreams come true. They don’t usually look like opportunities though: the end of a relationship, the loss of your job, one disappointment or another. I believe we owe it to ourselves to be the happiest and most fulfilled we can be, because no one can do that for us; it’s our responsibility. And so, even though it seems scary and strange, the best thing we can do is take a deep breath…and jump! Who knows, you might just land on a dream come true.

    Priceless…..
    So much of this is my story too Arit, youknow this, and that’s why we’re friends.

  51. don chex kenneth

    September 16, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    im at d junction where i have to make a decision about wat i want in my life. ur story is definately going to make me make dat decision and by the grace of God i pray i make the right one.

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