When You’ve Had Enough

sick and tired

I am sick and tired of my life as it is. I don’t like the state of my relationship. I hate my job. I abhor where I live. I detest the grades I get at school. I detest my business. I loathe the country I live in. I don’t like this. I don’t like that…

I know a number of people who have said times without number that they have had enough of where they are; they are unhappy with where they are; they want to be somewhere better, someone better, something better, somehow better…only better.

Let me quickly share a story. Several years ago, when I was younger, a memorable incident occurred that I have not forgotten since then. On a particular day, after some heavy rains, a young man went about his daily business hawking fried buns. Then something happened… just as he was passing by a puddle of water, a beautiful jeep raced by, heeding neither puddle nor passers-by. The immediate result was that this young man took his bath a second time that day. After the jeep was long gone with angry abuses and bitter curses pursuing hotly on its tail, the young man with the fried buns stood stock still. Silent. Staring. It was another young man that had driven that splendid jeep that baptized him some moments ago.

After what seemed like eternity, the young man slowly dropped the box of fried buns on to the floor as if in a trance. Eyes still locked on the distance into which the jeep had disappeared, he took off his condemned flip flops, dusted them, put them under his armpit and walked away. He never looked back.

I have never seen that young man since then. Indeed, I may have, but I can not even recognize him if I saw him again. I do not know what became of him. He may have gone on to commit suicide. He may have gone on to become stupendously rich. He may have taken the next bus back to his village. He may have switched businesses. He could have done any of the above but one thing I am pretty sure of was that that young man’s life, in all probability, never remained the same again. He had had enough.

I have often said some things about choice. We always make choices in life, whether consciously or not. Even in those times when we took decisions that we didn’t think out, we would be surprised that it was still a choice. When we don’t consciously make a choice, our values do it for us. In adopting values, we inevitably have adopted a choice-by-defaultmachine. What am I saying? The probability is quite high that you are where you are because you CHOOSE to be there.

Look at my choice of words again. I didn’t say you CHOSE (past tense) to be there. I saidyou CHOOSE (present tense) to be there. What’s the difference? How you GOT to be in that unpleasant place might not have been of your own doing. However, the fact that youREMAIN in that place is your very own doing.

If you’re tired of a situation- if you are really tired, you can always leave. No one is tying you there. So if you’re still there, there must be a part of you that wants to be there, a part of you that is comfortable with being there, a part of you that prefers the present to the alternative. If years ago you complained about what you’re still complaining about now, the problem might not be the actual problem, the problem might just be you.

You’ve given your heart to someone who’s doing the Zulu dance on it, trampling all over it like it has no value. You moaned that you don’t want any part of it anymore. That was ten years ago. Ten years later and you’re still in that same relationship. You’re not tired. When you’re sick and tired, you’ll take it back!

Your grades were crawling wretchedly. You looked around and saw people passing with flying colours; you were failing with drowning colours. Why was yours so different, you lamented. That was three years ago. Three years later your grades have sunk lower than the Titanic. You’re not tired. When you’re sick and tired, there are A’s waiting for you.

You’re working a job you detest with a passion. You’re driven like a slave and with horrible remuneration. No holidays, no benefits, no bonuses, no satisfaction. You planned on getting another job. That was seven years ago. Seven years later, as you sign in on another Monday morning, exhausted even before the start of the day’s job, you’re still thinking of getting another job. You’re not tired. When you’re sick and tired, there’s a better job waiting for you.

I have said the same thing about the myriad of problems in Nigeria. One senator aspirant I was privileged to speak with last year before the elections told me that Nigerians had had enough and that they would rise up in 2011 to demand for better. I begged to differ. I told him that we had not had nearly enough- the Critical Mass necessary for any meaningful and successful intellectual or physical revolution had not had enough. If we really had had enough, the change would begin. We would quit waiting on ‘the government’. Within our spheres of influence, we would do what we can while pressuring the government to do what they were placed there to do.

The person who is sick and tired of a situation has had enough of their present, borne the worst they can bear and is not afraid to push for better- because, believe it or not, there is always better.

When you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, you’ll do something to change position, location and situation.

I had a meeting with a young man who bared his heart to me on some things that were troubling him in his private life and how he had always wanted to change them. One of the things I asked him was the alternative he desired to trade his present for. He told me. I then asked him a very important question. Was he committed to making that transition or did he just like entertaining the idea of the existence of a better place? (Read my note: IN LOVE WITH THE IDEA)

You see, I’ve come to understand that some humans prefer HOPE to DISAPPOINTMENT.They prefer to hold in their minds the imagination that there is a “better place” they could go to if they wanted than to hold in their hands the substantiation of that “better place”. They are afraid of venturing out to find that “better place” for fear of being disappointed it isn’t there.

But positive, long-lasting change is only achieved by those who have decided that thepossibility of achievement is worth the probability of disappointment.

There are only a few situations in which people find themselves and may not be directly able to do something definite about it but even I doubt that. I hold that if you’re in a place you detest and have been detesting for a long time there must be a part of you that wants to remain there, a part of you that has adopted the sick philosophy of “the devil you know is better than the angel you do not know”, a part of you that is contented with the comfort of the familiar rather than the uncertainty of the uncharted- even though that future has a likelihood of possessing something better.

I also hold that when you are really sick and tired of that situation, you wouldn’t complain about it. When you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, you would get up and do something about it. When you’re sick and tired of that bird in hand, you wouldn’t wait to be told before you let it go and then go and look for two in the bush. When you’re sick and tired of the devil you know, you will rise and search desperately for the angel you do not know… for there’s a reserve strength in every one of us that will not give out until we reach our desires.

When the prodigal son was sick and tired of his conditions, one of the first things he said was, “I will arise…”When you’re tired… it is then you’ll find the strength to truly rise.

In that place of men who risk disappointment for achievement… I hope to see you.

AKPOVETA Valentine, ‘t

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