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John Ogba-Ifeakanwa: Figuring Life Out As a Young Nigerian Man

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Tonight is one of those nights; the ones when I can’t sleep. It’s almost 2am and I’m wondering what I’ve done with my life for the past 28 years. This is one of those introspective essays where I spill all my fears just so you know you’re not alone. You’ve never been the only one.

I turned 28 in September and, as usual, I made a toast to better days ahead. 2 months in and I’m wondering what better days I toasted to. I’m one of those young men who could care less about the pressures of social media; I mean, what concerns me with a 25 year old who just acquired his second house? Or some girl on Twitter who thinks men who aren’t ready to settle down at 25 are past their prime?

But most nights, when the quiet surrounds me, I face the pressure of my own thoughts. I mean, I’m still at my old job; the one that pays peanuts. My yearly plans have yet to be accomplished and it’s almost the end of the year. Sapa has harassed me more times than I can count but everyday, I wake up and I get going. Not because I want to, but because every new day is another reason to try again.

This year, I’ve watched a couple of my friends either get married or get engaged. And yes, I’ve had the same smile on my face while watching it happen. A genuine smile. I’ve also said “congrats” to them and meant it. I don’t think it’ll be my turn anytime soon, but that isn’t a problem. No, it’s not the end of the world. As they say, “e go reach all of us”. Then, I’d know what it feels like to have everyone else fuss over my happiness and wish me the best with the love of my life at my side. Someday, when I’ve got a better job, and a savings that doesn’t seem to dry out when I’m not looking.

This year, I’ve had a few wins. I made more profitable moves, and I broadened my circle. I gained better skills doing what I do, and I sent money home to my mother to make her smile. Little wins. Please do not ask how much; money is money. What matters is that I did the things I’m proud of. Things that mother is proud of too. I’ve learnt that counting your tiny blessings with a grateful heart opens doors to much bigger ones. One, two, three, four, I can’t even count them all. Truly, I’ve had a million little miracles, ones I’m very grateful for.

This Christmas, I’ve made plans to travel home. I’ll leave all the stress of Lagos behind and live like I just won the lottery. Next year, we move. I’ll wave at the uncles who might ask when I’m bringing a woman home and pretend I’m in a hurry. I haven’t thought about what to do to keep the nosy aunties at bay. I’ll certainly figure it out. My sanity depends on it. I may be above 25 in Nigeria, but I’m proudly figuring my life out. The last time I checked, it wasn’t a crime. It still isn’t.

John Ogba Ifeakanwa is so honest he will bare his life to inspire you. He is music savvy, and wishes to change the world with words (written & sung). Connect with him on social media for more unfiltered inspiration 😁.

3 Comments

  1. Tedi

    November 29, 2021 at 6:39 pm

    The sincerity is quite admirable, I can truly relate with your story on a personal level and must say the little things really do matter. Thanks for sharing and keep sharing those stories, you could possibly be healing someone’s world.

    1
  2. Solanke Oluwatimilehin

    November 30, 2021 at 3:14 pm

    This is something I needed to see. The little things do matter and your mental health matters too so take your time off away from Lagos. Thank you for sharing brother

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  3. TessO

    December 1, 2021 at 9:31 pm

    Well done John, this is such a beautifully honest and well written article! Your mother must be proud of you on all fronts, not only are you sending her money from the little you have, you have a beautiful soul too. May God bless your heart’s desires and cause your dreams to come true.

    Indeed John I understand how frustrating it can be when our dreams are taking longer to appear than we hoped for. I should know, I turned 40 this year and I am having to re-train rather than be high up in my career like I dreamed. But like you said, it is important that we celebrate little wins, like being alive, good health (physical, emotional and mental), family and friends, etc. It provided positive energy to go higher and allows God to bless us
    Thank you John Ogba and Margaret Aligbe for reminding me of this lesson today, I guess I needed this. Much love to all of you.xx

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