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Chinenye Opeodu: Learn to Enjoy Every Day of Your Life

With every achievement and milestone I’ve hit, my celebrations have consistently been fleeting. I can sincerely say that my life, up until this point, had been spent anticipating the next big thing or in some cases, analysing the things that I could have done differently.

Chinenye Opeodu

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I went into my room the other day and met everything completely topsy-turvy. My jewelry was strewn all across the floor and, to my absolute horror, my make-up foundation bottle was broken. Argh! The pain still feels fresh, because I had hardly enjoyed this foundation I hacked out money agonizingly to purchase in the thick of the pandemic. The culprit, my beautiful 21-month-old daughter, sat right at the center of that tropical storm with her arms outstretched, grinning innocently. I quickly called my best friend to rant about how I could hardly wait for my daughter to clock age 5 so I could finally get a breather and start living my best life.

After the conversation, I felt really unsettled by the things I said. Various thoughts began to swim through my mind. I knew my response to the situation was normal, but the eagerness to catapult myself from that very moment to the next three years made me ask myself some important questions. What is this ‘best life’ I am looking forward to and who says I’m not already living that life? How will I enjoy that life when I finally attain it if I’m not really living through this life I have now?

These questions triggered memories of the innumerable times I had been in a scramble for the next phase of my life. I closed my eyes and went on a trip down memory lane, beginning from my teenage years. This was the period I became completely fixated with my older sister’s and cousin’s lives. To me, they were perfect examples of how I ought to have been – away from home and totally free from the parentals. I felt my life was such a drag doing monotonous secondary school things and couldn’t wait to get to the important stuff. I also looked at my mother and was bummed that she could choose to eat anything she wanted or go out when she needed, while mine had to be rationed to some degree. The thoughts that go through a child’s mind though. I concluded that being an adult was just more fun and couldn’t wait to grow up. As I grew up, I grumbled a great deal like teenagers typically do. My mantra at that time became “when I grow up, I will…”. Someone should have told me then that adulthood isn’t really worth the hype (can I get a witness?)

My journey down memory lane accelerated to my university and post-graduation days. With every achievement and milestone I’ve hit, my celebrations have consistently been fleeting. I can sincerely say that my life, up until this point, had been spent anticipating the next big thing or in some cases, analysing the things that I could have done differently. My present-day has never really been something I have given much thought to enjoying, particularly as regards to daily mundane tasks with my kids that always seemed to be in competition with tomorrow’s plans. The incident with my foundation was a good wake-up call because it made me mindful of how much I needed to improve, especially in my parenting journey.

This isn’t to say planning for the future is not great, but when it starts to overshadow the present, then you need to just pause and reevaluate. It’s odd to think that this very moment I have right now will, at some point, be referred to as ‘the good old days’. There will come a time when my kids will be all grown up and wouldn’t need me so much anymore, and it will feel like time flew past, as time always does. What are we going to remember of our time together?

My eyes are now wide open to see and find pleasures in the present. My new pledge is to simply enjoy every single moment of my kids barging into my room at odd hours, answering ten questions per minute from my inquisitive older son without getting exasperated, watching the same TV shows with them again and again because it makes them happy, playing hide-and-seek even when all I want to do is just lock myself up in the room, or to simply do what I can to keep them tickled whilst enjoying myself simultaneously.

At the end of the day, I want my kids to understand that mummy is present and available. I’m not going to sugarcoat it – it is a grueling task. As painful as it may be, I will replace my broken foundation bottle (sobs) and place it completely out of my daughter’s reach. Hopefully, she won’t find something else to spill. In the case that she does, I will take it in good stride, so help me God. This very moment we have right now has to count. It is all that is guaranteed, after all.

 

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Photo by Asa Dugger from Pexels

Chinenye Opeodu is an intentional parenting advocate and enjoys expounding on parents unlearning negative behaviors that can hamper a healthy childhood experience. She believes that if you want the world to be different, then raise your child to be different. You can contact her on [email protected] Please check out her Instagram page - @the.redefinedparent

7 Comments

  1. GWG

    August 31, 2020 at 9:26 am

    This is such a thought provoking post! We as humans are always in a rush for the next big thing in our journey, the next milestone! Thanks for reminding me to pause, smell the roses and enjoy the now I worked and prayed so hard for!!

    3
    • Tam

      August 31, 2020 at 10:33 pm

      I can totally relate to this! We all need to learn to enjoy today and stop being so focused on tomorrow! I really needed to hear this!

      1
  2. Ndidi

    August 31, 2020 at 10:16 am

    Thank you for this, this was a blessing and so well-written

    4
  3. Kemisola Opeodu

    August 31, 2020 at 10:25 am

    This is very deep and takes me back to memory lane. Even as a grandmother, I can relate to it. This indeed is an eye opener for young parents. Enjoy the time you have with your children because you can never get it back.

    3
  4. Feyi Os

    August 31, 2020 at 11:50 am

    This is such a brilliant post. It’s so true what you say about living in the present though it can be very hard. I find myself saying things like in 2021, I will do xyz, in 2025, abc, 2035, etc even 20 years from now. I feel like it’s part of wanting to feel in control of your life/destiny but a lot of the times it just distracts you from the here and now. It’s so important to stay in the present and part of it I find is just remembering to be grateful for the big and little things and try to find joy in moments. Dreams are good but the here and now is very important too.

    2
  5. Olamide

    August 31, 2020 at 1:13 pm

    Such an easy and relatable read. I know I’m totally guilty of not being present or available to my kids all the time. It’s even harder now during this pandemic because they are emotionally strained and extremely bored. It’s definitely a task to remember that they are fragile right now and that they need me in more ways than just making their meals or getting them dressed. They need me emotionally. After reading your article I’m definitely going to focus more on being present and also more patient. I’m going to put an in not just getting through the day, but experiencing the day and everything that comes with it. Thank you for this, it was so timely.

    3
  6. Chidinma Okoh

    September 1, 2020 at 3:42 pm

    Loved this reminder! We are exactly where we are meant to be! You write so beautifully! Thank you for sharing.

    2

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