On April 7, 2011, exactly a week today, I lost a dear friend of mine.
After years of packing up my biggest addiction of all time – writing, he had been one of the few that had strongly encouraged me to continue with it. We had been classmates from Secondary school and had reconnected some years later as adults. He was in his mid-thirties and had just recently bagged his Ph.D. Apart from him being a good man, he was a father to a cute two year old …and a husband to a precious woman. What made his death painful was that his demise had come suddenly, and as it is with unexpected fatalities where you don’t get to say goodbye, it was extremely tragic, not only to his family but also to all friends who knew him while he was alive.
His passing away made me do something that I hadn’t done in a long time. A few days after his death, I took a good look at the mirror, and stared hard, pausing to reflect on the brevity of life. As I stood there questioning God, mad and frustrated about the unfairness of my friend’s passing, it came to me that none of us are meant, nor built to live in this world forever. Tomorrow is not promised to anyone. What we have is this moment, and it is so important to make use of every opportunity given to us simply because we are not sure that there will ever be another one like it. In the words of that ancient sage who once said, “Vanity is vanity, all is vanity,” I comprehended right then that there was nothing corny about the wisdom of living life in such a way that we pursued our dreams and our hopes…not just so that people will say “Oh, look at how successful that person is,”. Rather, in such a way that we can call ourselves Happy…happy in whatever we do. Don’t waste time hurting yourself, or whining about things that aren’t going well in your life. If possible, avoid fights and quarrels. Especially Quarrels. If you have an issue with anyone, tell the person frankly and move on. Do not harbor malice in your heart. Your body is not built for storing anger’s venom and Life is just too short to apply yourself to bitterness. You have heard the words, “Make Love, not war”. Can I please tell you that the statement is not a cliché, but a sane advice to living this one life we have? Don’t’ cheat yourself with self-doubts and feelings of inadequacies and emotional insecurities. So you’ve been abused, hurt and completely battered. Deal with it, thrash it somewhere and move on. Do not let the past continue haunting your today. You’ve been cheated, and you just want to get back at whoever hurt you. Snap out of it. You are alive, man! And you are young. Feel the wind tousle your hair. And if you are balding or bald, feel it on your scalp! Feel the sun warm up your blood and the coolness of the evening on your skin. Enjoy the sounds of the cooing birds flapping their wings in spring, and take time to smell the flowers. And if you don’t have flowers, smell the realness of the earth. Pleasure yourself with having a good conversation with family, friends and even strangers, just so that you can make more friends and bring a smile to your face and theirs too. Why? Because you are not really assured of a Tomorrow but a Today. So make the best of what you’ve got and be grateful for it.
For my dear Dr. Tosin Ogunkunle, who lived a good life while on earth, pursuing his dreams with the astuteness of a man who understood that all he had was now, I bid you goodnight. Sleep well in God’s love. Until we meet again…Adieu!