Those who have followed this blog for a while would have noticed that I write New Year notes. And you guessed right, here is the one for this year. You may then ask – what sort of a New Year note gets published this late? As this won’t be my first time of being late posting my New Year note, my answer still is – whatever time a man wakes up, that is his morning. It is, always, better late than never. So, from me to you, on this blog, this is Happy New Year.
You would agree that a year without a game plan may end up wasted. Time flies, and it also waits for no one. Time has a way of casting deceptive spells on us, something that makes us feel we have some time on our hands before the future gets here. Wake up and smell the coffee! Today was yesterday’s tomorrow, and see how it hopped on us already. Today is the future we saw some twenty years ago. You could almost bet we skipped some years in between.
This is the reason why we can’t afford foot-dragging. We must be deliberate about what we do today, as our actions today are the seeds of what we will harvest when that future comes. Decisions birth actions, and sometimes one decision can alter a life journey all together. And talking about decisions, that leads me to something I want to share with you today.
I spent the last Christmas holiday with my parents. And one night during that holiday, I joined my dad at the balcony, taking in fresh air before the generator came up. I had been with him for some minutes and we had touched some short topics. And then after a brief silence he mentioned that his colleagues in the teaching service retired that year. True, he joined the teaching service of the then Ondo state government in 1981, and had he stayed, all things being equal, he would have retired last year, probably as the headmaster of a primary school in Ekiti state. But one decision changed that and altered the course of his life.
Growing up, I had heard the stories, I always knew he was a primary school teacher until 1984 when he decided to get a university education. I knew he was a bit comfortable as a teacher, then a bachelor and able to afford some of the things he always desired, one of them, a brand new Suzuki motorcycle. But I didn’t know what led him to leave. That night, I asked him why he left. He said he left because he was never satisfied with his Grade 2 teaching certificate, and he had to do something about it. Don’t get it wrong, my dad has nothing against teaching or teachers, he just wasn’t satisfied with his educational qualifications.
You know how many of us are not satisfied with where we are, and all we do is whine. Whining doesn’t do it. What we need to do is take a decision and follow it up with action. I know it is not a walk in the park. My dad’s story inspires me because I know that he, literally, took a leap in the dark. What he did may seem like an easy thing to do, but let me tell you why it wasn’t as easy as you might think. In 1984, Nigeria was in deep economic crisis, the figures weren’t encouraging and the rate of unemployment was rising. Nigeria in 1984 was in many ways similar to Nigeria in 2016, maybe that helps to drum the point home. It was not a good time for the son of poor farmers to decide to leave a job. It didn’t look like the best of decisions for a young man who was then self reliant and helping his mother with stipends to go back to school and require the financial assistance of that poor mother.
As he told me that night, many only saw his decision as the folly of young age. He said, one early morning, after he had informed his colleagues that he already got admission into the university and would be resigning his appointment, a more elderly friend of his came visiting. The man told him what he already knew – that it wasn’t a good time to resign. He couldn’t leave his job for school when the government just increased their pay, when the economy was bleeding and when university graduates were no longer sure of employment. It was an advice from a caring heart. But, is there anything like a perfect time? As the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 11:4a, farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant (NLT).
That singular decision altered the course of my dad’s life, and we are all the better for it. I have shared this story for just one reason – to encourage someone take that bold step. You are in a good place, but you know it is not your place. The reason why you are still there is because you feel safe there, some sort of a comfort zone. As they say, the comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing grows there. This year, make that decision that your generations will be proud you made. It could be hard, but you know your life depends on it. My dad was (and still is) full of gratitude to God for the decision he made that year. Make this year count for you. Once again, happy new year.
I am ‘Seun Alade