Travelling from an exit point like the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos, Nigeria, one may not easily realise that it is one of the few airports in the world where bags and luggage are still manually searched by the customs and immigration officers, thus making it a rather tedious and slow process checking in your travelling bags.
“Madam where you dey go”? Asked the immigration representative, a question I imagined was already answered with my passport and ticket in his hands. My answer was simple, “Spain, Sir”. I had been looking forward to this trip for a long time and it was my ‘one chance’ to really experience life; to live outside the box, set my worries aside and live like I only have today.
Any traveller knows that the hardest part of embarking on any journey is the preparation/packing process – mentally preparing for all the eventualities you may need for the trip – warm clothes, camera, toothbrush, foreign exchange, gifts for loved ones, travel documents, etc. Similarly, in the journey that is life, just like travelling, we are constantly trying to equip ourselves with the right tools which we may require for the future, like education and useful skills.
As I sat and waited for my flight, I couldn’t help but observe the vast amount of people at the airport. There were lovers hugging goodbye and anxious relatives eagerly waiting to welcome their loved ones and the airport looked like a picture-perfect definition of life- people dragging their ‘luggage’ from one end to the other. Some travelling really light and others with so much luggage I wondered how many planes would be required to transport those to their destination! It was then that it suddenly hit me: “we all carry something”.
The New Year, with all the congratulatory messages, resolutions and all that accompanied it, now feels like a hundred days old. It’s a new start and, for some, it’s the same old mess with just a difference in dates. Many of us have still carried our ‘baggage’ from the previous years into 2011 – memories from failed relationships and mistakes, bad friendships, fights, toxic words uttered in anger and every form of malice and heartache under the sun. Just like we have to pay at the airport for excess luggage, we do have to pay for life’s excess luggage in currencies like unnecessary tears and ill feelings, depending on the amount of excess weight you are carrying.
As I watched the other passengers struggle with various shapes and sizes of luggage, I made a mental promise to do away with all the clutter in my life – hurts and aches of the past, text messages I have needlessly hung on to, sentimental gifts that have kept me bound to the past and memories that are now meaningless in my future (ladies, you all know what I am talking about).
It’s time to make a change and dare to be different! It’s time to do away with the yearly resolutions we let go of after the first couple of weeks. Let’s make progressive promises to ourselves and our future. Let us embrace 2011 and all it holds with optimism and excitement, leaving the bad memories of the past where they belong- in the past! It’s time to save some extra cash by refusing to pay for excess luggage from 2010 and previous years. Let’s take only the most important items with us in our hand luggage, making our journey through life easy and light. What’s the point of starting a New Year if we are still holding on to the old? It’s time for a new start, new beginnings, new dreams, new aspirations and, above all, a conscious effort towards making the best of whatever you set out to do.
As with all things I know, this may be hard to do especially when these hurts and mistakes have deep roots. But really, the other options are few and far between and aren’t necessarily healthy for us in the long run. So, instead, let us learn to use the ‘block button’ when those emotions and memories of the past begin to cloud our vision for the future.
My people, it’s a new season; a time for progress, a time for change, and a time to be the catalyst for your own change. No longer should you have to pay for what you no longer need; no more blaming the world for what you don’t have – in all honesty, very few people owe you anything. Quoting from a friend of mine, 2011 is the year of the “boundaries”; guard your heart from unnecessary emotional drama, keep the friendships you deserve, eat healthy, pray to your God and love endlessly.
Always remember in 2011, we are keeping it drama-free; hand luggage only!