I was at dinner with a mentor the other day, and he asked me, “So are you still based outside Nigeria?”
Now, if you live in Nigeria, you know that being seen as ‘based abroad’ is a status enhancer. It indicates some level of options and affluence and opportunities that is a heritage from colonialism and widespread poverty.
I replied him with a smile: I don’t like answering that question.
Because it turns out I really, really like Nigeria, and I much prefer to live here now and in the immediate future, and I am back home fully and not wanting to go anywhere for a while.
But that means I lose the wonder I see in people’s eyes when they think I am based abroad or crisscrossing the world. It’s good for the brand. But to lie about my own reality, for whatever advantage, is to allow cobwebs in my emotional chamber. It might impress you at the moment, but then I have to go live with myself when you are gone, and I am alone looking at myself.
I will pay the price in integrity and authenticity, and from there it’s a slippery slope down to forgetting who I really am.
It sounds like a very small thing. But small things collect together, and they can ultimately block off the sunlight of joy.
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