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Onyinye O: Appreciating the Past

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“I desperately need to get this job! I can’t be depending on other people all my life”.
“I need a car. Any car. I’m tired of having to jump from one bike onto the next. Once done dressing up, I have to ask myself :“can I comfortably climb a bike with this dress, and get to the junction where I’ll get ‘along’? The money I’m spending on TP sef! Haba. A car is the solution to all of these”.
“I need a new phone! One with better camera quality and more space so I can take more selfies!”
“I just need more money- money to help pay my bills and live a relatively comfortable life”

The list goes on and on. And then, you get the job, and after a short while you’re saying, “I need a promotion. I need more money. This job isn’t paying enough”. You get the car and after a while you’re thinking “this car isn’t befitting of my status. It’s an embarrassment to my person. I should sell it and buy a better one”. You get the phone and after a while, there are newer ones in the market and you begin to feel “I need to change this phone o. E don tey for my hand”.

But really, lack of appreciation goes beyond material possessions and extends to human beings too. You see that person, you like what you see, you get close- you like what’s going on, you want that person,  you get the person, you date person, you get tired of the person, you set your eyes someone “better” or you come to your “senses”, you ditch the person and/or you both go your separate ways, and you move on, repeating the same cycle over. You ignore the fact that at a certain point in your life, that was all you wanted and lived for.

Still on unappreciating people, recently, I went on twitter and a trending topic up for discussion was “if your ex was a clothing line, what would that clothing line be?” I saw someone write “Primark”, another wrote “Chanel” and someone even mentioned “Victoria Secret”. The list went on and on until I came across one which the person wrote “bend-down-select”. Ah ah! I first laughed hard! You know that kind of laughter that you’ll stand up, jump around, hold your stomach and end panting? Yes, that type. But after I was done laughing, it hit me that it probably wasn’t a joke and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Bend-down? Really?

Ok. So for those of you who do not know what bend-down is, I’ll attempt an explanation. These are clothes that have been used and are resold. A better way get a solid explanation is for you to walk into any Nigerian market (make sure clothes are sold in that market) and ask for the “okrika” section. Once you get there, they’ll school and tutor you on the different grades of bend-down that exist and you’ll understand first-hand what bend-down-select clothes are; because it’s only when you get there that you’ll understand the saying ,“by their smell, you shall know them!”

Now that’s in the bag, I choose to believe the person who wrote bend-down probably meant that in the context of “my ex is just all forms of crap”, but it still got me thinking, and which leads to a quick question for all those who agree that their exes fall in the bend-down-select category: does the above description really suit the person?

On a more serious note though, I get the fact that some exes are the absolute worst: liars, cheats, live off you (I’m talking money, drive your car, bills, and more bills), and all the negative things you can think of, but it gets to a point you just gotta let it go. Let bygones to bygones. Despite the fact that some exes were these things and maybe more, you still chose to have them in your life at some point for reasons best known to you.

Yes, some jobs aren’t pretty; I agree. They make you feel less of the person you think you are but they’ve helped put food on the table and taken you out of the “hand to mouth” team.

Some cars cough 100 times and then sweat before they decide to pick up. Some even want their egos massaged so they refuse to move until a couple of people team up to “move the car forward” by pushing it. Maybe these aren’t the best of cars and all you really want right now is a car that would obey you and do as you wish. But that car that has a cough, has it served a tiny winy purpose at all?

That ex which you keep insulting is someone you dated, invested resources in- time, money, etc, and probably loved (or maybe liked). Ok. Maybe you didn’t love or like this person but you certainly dated the person for a reason (might be a reasonable reason or not).

That car, that job, that phone, that “small money”, that relationship, – they met certain needs at different points in time.

You know, when I was much younger, my dad said something to me which really stuck. He said “everything you ever look for and want desperately, someone somewhere in this world has been there, has got it, and has surpassed it”. And that’s so true! At the very point we’ve needed certain things, it was more of, “my life wouldn’t and can’t be better if I don’t get this thing”, then we get it, and soon enough, we take it up a notch; and we begin to look for something else… something “bigger and better”. Then we get “bigger and better” and we begin to wonder where our brains were when we wished for (and even had) anything lower.

So now, can we please agree to agree to be thankful and appreciative of what we’ve had? Can we not think of those things as “embarrassing and demeaning” anymore because, really, they were answers to our own sincere desperate prayers back then. Can we reflect on the fact that these are things other people wish they had access to right now?  Can we grow up and realise that these people and things once brought love and happiness to our lives and made us happy at certain points, and were probably ALL WE EVER WANTED AND NEEDED?

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Mimagephotography

Onyinye is a media junkie, beauty enthusiast, realist and aspiring team fitfam champion who glides through life believing that every experience is a learning curve. When she's not working, reading or sleeping, she's constantly typing away on her computer. Get interactive with her. Email: [email protected] Twitter : @theonyinye. Instagram: @beautifulonyinye_.

32 Comments

  1. Unique

    October 9, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    Not in frame of mind to comment, i pass this one. I dnt have experiences in relationships( dating and love mata).

    I shall cross my legs and read the comments, i might learn one or two things

    • Lolz

      October 9, 2015 at 4:35 pm

      Did you read the article? It is not just about “relationship and love mata”

  2. Ephi

    October 9, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    Hmmm, very wise words. I consciously always take time to reflect on where I have been compared to where I am now. There is a lot to be grateful for if one really chooses to be appreciative. It is a choice.

  3. Adeola

    October 9, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    Well written..

  4. whocares

    October 9, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    …until we stopped wanting and needing them/ it.. Are we supposed to remain in a state of static wants/needs and not evolve?. I chose to see it as growth and not lack of appreciation. The same way you do not fit into clothes you wore as a teenagers is the same way you cannot carry everything with you. Yes, I will refer to that ex as bend down select if he was a terrible person and he misrepresented himself to me as a human being and I fell for him. People do that.. I am allowed to refer to him as such if that is who he was. There is a fine line between appreciation, honesty. growth and being an ode. We want promotion because your life keeps growing, you keep moving forward. I am not the same person I was last year. I love my job and the people however when I think I have learnt everything that I can there, I will carry my bag and leave. I am always thirsty for knowledge. Who wants to remain in the same position forever? Who wants to love the same person forever who does not grow with you, or holds back your growth? I cannot love you at 35 if you are still stuck in 20 year old you with all the bad habits. I do not think people are interchangeable like cloth, but sentiments aside. That is not a feasible love. If I strive for growth and self development Mr, do the same or swerve! Leaving my job for example does not diminish the gratitude I owe my employer, but it is merely time to leave. In an attempt to be grateful etc lets not forget that some things simply stop serving their purpose at a certain time, some people refuse to grow along with you so you cut them off. Let bygones be bygones yes, but not to the extent of stupidity surely. (maybe stupidity is too harsh here) there is no point in conveniently forgetting that your ex was an asshole. You can remember when you see him “that man did me strong thing” and then keep going your own way. It reminds you to be careful when he crosses your path again. wo this is not even for me. let me waka go as I simply have nothing nice to say after this.

    • Christian Sister

      October 9, 2015 at 5:27 pm

      You my dear clearly missed the point of this article. This is how you people fail exams.

    • Unique

      October 9, 2015 at 6:02 pm

      Lolz. I couldnt agree more

    • whocares

      October 9, 2015 at 6:10 pm

      never failed an exam in my life, not about to start. I get the underlying theme, however, I do not agree wholly with it. If I had an ex who was devil’s incarnate to me, I refuse to be grateful for having that man in my life especially if he entered said life under false pretext. Yes I wanted him blah blah blah but that cancels out in the event of his bad behaviour. If I look back, I will be grateful to God or whoever helped me past that phrase in my life, but I will never look at that man and conveniently forget the hell he put me through in the name of gratitude; that is my point. The bit in the article where she wrote ” can we grow up and realise these were people and things that once brought love…” I do not agree with that, and I am allowed to disagree.
      If you once brought love into my life, thank you. If you then take that love, and made it sour, I do not owe you a debt of gratitude, brain or memory space. It does not have to translate to being bitter, it is simply life. You move on and grow. I will not be sanctimonious or claim some higher morality by trying to be “grateful” to someone who was for all intents and purposes a monster to me (no, no one hurt whocares, it is merely an example. lol). I will not wish him ill either. Now to materials things, why should I not be embarrassed by the things i once had or did? I am allowed to be. Once more, if I look at some old pictures I am allowed to be embarrassed at how I was dressed, or my actions, or even the things I thought so important that I spent on. It does not impede the gratitude for where I am in my current life, or how much I was grateful to have had them then, It just signifies growth. I have grown enough to know that certain things does not suit me, did not suit me then and I am wise enough to realise that and laugh and be embarrassed..That is allowed, it is life! . if that stretches to the car you owned etc. So be it. This is not about being materialistic, not from my perspective, but it is merely being practical and real. You are doing yourself a disservice if you fail to acknowledge that certain things in your past are just that. Do not romanticise basic things.

    • PurpleiciousBabe

      October 11, 2015 at 6:00 pm

      But she didn’t miss the point..
      @whocares made sense to me,
      I couldn’t finish the article because I got irritated and I felt the whole examples were irrelevant.

      Bottom line, we should strive for the best of us. If that includes upgrading myself mentally, emotionally and financially. Then yes. x

    • Cynical

      October 9, 2015 at 5:30 pm

      See me standing up clapping for this your comment. To say it was a brilliant analysis……OMG,OMG

    • kanyin

      October 9, 2015 at 5:48 pm

      You have totally missed the point.
      Simply be grateful for what you have, where you are and where you have been.

    • tunmi

      October 9, 2015 at 10:22 pm

      I absolutely understand where you are coming from. Yes be grateful but be realistic. You disagreed and you disagreed so well.

    • Miss Magic

      October 11, 2015 at 2:28 pm

      Well spoken! Just love the way your argument was delivered. We really should hang out 🙂

    • nwanyi na aga aga

      October 12, 2015 at 11:08 am

      I understand the where “whocares” is coming from. I also loved the eloquent delivery of her disagreement straight to the point, devoid of insults. But I think the writer was trying to say where ever we are now, even if we are yearning for somewhere better, we should be grateful.. or that is what i understood.

  5. Mimi May

    October 9, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    That’s how they fail their exams. Always finding it hard to read lengthy article and assimilate it. Love your write up Onyinye. Though we should learn to appreciate and also be contended with what we have, my Economics made me to know that Human beings are insatiable.

  6. tee

    October 9, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    Thanks Onyinye for this. I thank God for my past jobs. I ve learnt and grown.

  7. Nancy

    October 9, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    Mehn this couldn’t have come at a better time!
    This unappreciating thing is so real especially in relationships. I had this freind that used to nag a lot about how unperfect her boo was..he wasn’t not tall enough..he didn’t carry himself well enough..he wasn’t rich enough..infact the compalints were many! Simply put, she called him a ‘downgrade’. She didn’t want to leave him cause she didn’t want to be single as most of us her friends were either engaged, in serious relationships, or married. Instead, she said she was on the lookout for someone better, and when that finally happened, she dumped her boyfriend and dived into another relationship immediately.
    Her new bobo was moneyed, I mean seriously moneyed. Hei! He wasn’t as tall or handsome but you know money covereth all…my friend was so into him she didn’t see his obvious flaws at first..as the relationship grew, she started to take notice. Guy man was stingy as hell..he’d rather do for you than give you money to do for yourself..like even down to buying sanitary towel..smh..his sex game was zero..affection was more plastic than sincere..and to top it all he had a big ass ego..
    My babe started wishing her ‘downgrade’ ex back, and started throwing herself at him, but it was a bit too late..the downgrade had been chosen to head a branch of his company in Denmark and wasn’t interested in a relationship of any sort..
    Appreciate what you have while you can

    • www.betterhealth.com.ng

      October 9, 2015 at 5:52 pm

      Thanks for the brilliant addition Nancy

    • missappleberry

      October 9, 2015 at 9:24 pm

      OMG! I love your comment…eye opener for me…just gave me a deep thought. Thanks

  8. Christian Sister

    October 9, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    All I can say is that ex you keep calling a bend down is probably now someone’s Chanel, and you’re running your bitter mouth everywhere while they’ve moved on. You’re doing yourself.

    • Why so bitter

      October 9, 2015 at 7:20 pm

      As in I tire for the babe, see thesis, so obvious some guy dogged her bad. The bitterness is overflowing

    • Gabriel Shaze

      October 10, 2015 at 8:51 am

      Lool @ “somebody’s ex is another person’s Chanel” ?

      Generally, that’s how humans seem to be wired. We desire new things not because they are old or don’t serve their purpose anymore but because we want to experience the novelty of having something new.

      Who knows, maybe one of the reasons why some of us are reluctant to get into a new relationship is because somewhere within us, we fear that we might grow out of the love we initially had at the beginning so we just admire the person from afar & steal glances.

    • Blondie

      October 11, 2015 at 6:41 pm

      Even the person calling someone “downgrade” may also be a downgrade or “bend down select” to the person she’s calling Chanel..that’s life.

  9. Meg Michael

    October 9, 2015 at 5:42 pm

    Very educating,has really drawn my attention back on how quick one gets to forget things mostly desired at a point in time. Tx you

  10. Stanley

    October 9, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    Great read i must say! True that we don’t seem to appreciate what we have as soon as we have them; the grass is always greener else where.

    You just echoed what Joyce Meyer said that there is no happier person than a truly thankful, content person.

    Thanks Onyinye

  11. Daniel

    October 9, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    Nice article.
    this is the problems teenage are having nowadays.

  12. alwayshappy

    October 9, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    Amen and AMEN oh sister onyinye. Simply put an attitude of Gratitude never goes out of style even if your pant, your watch, your phone, your ex, your bata, your car, your salary goes out of style or is on “fleek” or “sufficient” for your insatiable nature

  13. Tosin

    October 9, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    i cherish my exes and love my present(s), or at least that’s what i try to do. they’re no worse than me, otherwise why am i choosing them? choose / chose them because i like them, right?

  14. Amaka

    October 9, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    Both the grace that we are alive and being granted what we yearned, wished for is enough to be thankful.
    Don’t know about you,it was ingrained in us to say thank you for what we received whether asked or not. Of course it might get old,ugly,not last …Point is it encourages the giver to give give give.

  15. Tobi

    October 10, 2015 at 6:55 am

    Thanks so much for this article…….it’s suprising when I see people with massive wealth of pedigree…and everything life has to over and yet they are not happy…

  16. Stanley chijioke

    October 10, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    This really hit me……. Made me to realize that everyone/thing we meet in live really have a purpose to fulfill in our lives and we really need to appreciate them in a good way no matter what….. Thanks for this piece

  17. relationship talk

    October 10, 2015 at 10:12 pm

    Thanks so much for this article

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