Know when to quit.
Don’t get it confused. I don’t mean ‘know when to give up’. Not in the least.
I actually mean know when to stop working.
I don’t know how this works for anyone else, but I know I have about five – seven hours of straight working before my brain starts to feel like a snail trapped in sludge. In other words, my working peak period is four hours; give or take.
When the words start looking like a strip of black; when I start putting letters where they aren’t necessary; I know it’s time to go. I need to take a break.
‘Break’; then comes in various forms. I could be in the mood for a walk. I could decide to watch Daredevil Season I again. I could decide to drive. Ice Cream. A Massage. A movie.
Whatever. Just something to break the monotony of sitting behind a screen and punching words that appear on paper…like magic.
Truth is, I can sit behind the screen and punch words – work – for ten hours straight. It’s what I did when I worked in advertising full time. But even then, I could always tell when the strain and stress was getting to me. My motor functions slow down; I can’t think just as clearly as I could a few hours prior. I get irritated, I want to punch someone –
No matter how deadly the deadline is; I have to go. I have to step away from that whatever-it-is; take a breather and just…go away. Else, I’ll start writing/doing/vibrating nonsense; and I wouldn’t even know it.
Sometimes; this applies to life as a whole self. Sometimes, you just need to step back from that situation, that problem, that person; and just take a breather. Sometimes, a new perspective is not what is required. Sometimes, all you need is to take a deep breath, eat some ice cream…
Ecclesiastes 3 starts thus:
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…”
After spending the past _______ years of your life imagining, fantasizing, building castles in this particular air, don’t you think it’s about time you came down? Don’t you think it’s way past time you started to face the reality staring you in the face – which is;
‘Until you work, nothing works’…?
Don’t you think it’s time you told yourself the truth; that if you don’t do it, the chances that someone else will gets slimmer by the day? The truth that you really have no reason for not pursuing that passion that keeps you awake for days, weeks, months – the passion that has everyone wondering what exactly it is you’re waiting for?
Don’t you think it’s time you put your money where your mouth is? Don’t you feel like it’s time to
I think so too.
I realized something in the first few hours of the New Year; I’d rather be drained; exhausted than be angry or depressed.
I know; not what you were expecting, abi? You probably thought I was going to drop a bomb like ‘I’m pregnant’ on you or something close. Well.
Sorry to disappoint.
Anyway, as I sat before my computer screen in the wee hours of that day, I thought about that little secret that popped in my head unannounced. And I realized; again how much power we have as human beings, and how little we understand the power we have.
Have you ever been irritated?
I mean, those moods you get in when it feels as though the clothes on your back are annoying, the sound of the air conditioner is annoying and if you could, you would smash the neighbor’s children’s heads one after the other for making that much noise during the day –
I sometimes set out to cook, and when I’m done I empty the entire thing into the bin without as much as a taste of it. The closest I get to the meal I took hours to cook when I get that way, is the aroma of it.
The kind of energy that gets you standing one moment, sitting the next, scratching your head and wondering if you could pull your hair out by the roots, the kind that makes you feel like stripping off all your clothes in the middle of the International Airport –
I’m sure we’ve all been there.
There are times I don’t want to be alone – but I know some of those times are the times I need to be alone the most. For example, I’m feeling sorry for myself, having a pity-party and hating the world and everybody in it. At times like that, I know enough to know I’m nothing more than a ball of negative energy; and I’m probably going to infect whoever comes around me with that negativity. So, I turn off the lights, switch off my phone and retreat into a dark corner with nothing but my thoughts for company.
You know; those moments in which you start to feel as though God made you a custodian for His children, so you start to see why nobody except you deserves happiness. Those times you think about one particular ex and how they are happy without you, and that makes you furious, because you think they’re responsible for your happiness and/or lack of it. Those times it seems as though you inhale fire and exhale brimstone, inhale ether and exhale poison.
Those are the times I mean.
I’m afraid of my thoughts in times like those; it’s bad enough I want to hurt myself – but to think of hurting someone else just to make me feel better? No Way Jose!
Therapy is good; if for no other reason than to help get out all those thoughts that really do not belong in anyone’s head or heart. It helps articulate thought process; and puts one in charge of their feelings and emotions – and therefore, in charge of their lives. Just like everyone else, I deserve happiness and the choice is mine and mine alone.
Because of some mild OCD, I have a high-functioning mind. I can obsess over the smallest detail; the most insignificant part of something. I go over things over and over and over again, wondering what I could or should have done differently.
Who ‘e epp tho?
So, after therapy I have learnt to control these thoughts. Once I find myself thinking stuff I shouldn’t be thinking, I pull out my jump rope and start skipping, or play some music really loud, or start doing press ups. The purpose is simply to distract myself from whatever the cause of the situation is until I can get my thoughts under control – or till I’m too exhausted for rational thought. Whatever I have to do to get by.
Whatever I need to do to keep going.
Life is short; too short to be angry at things we have no control over. I want to spend time controlling the things I can, so to better recognize the things I can’t and how to deal with them. A good way to start the year, no?
Thank you for stopping by.
For the first three of my four years in the university, I lived directly in front of one of the busiest spots in Ado-Ekiti. At that time, there were only two fast-food cafes in town. Danke’s; further down Adebayo, the street I lived on, and Friendly’s; the one I lived directly opposite. In the evenings after school my guys and I would sit on my house’s low fence and observe people – mostly students – coming and going. Because Friendly’s also doubled as a cybercafé – at a time in which cafes were still somewhat of a rarity – and hotel, the traffic was quite heavy. As a result we knew who was with who, who was cheating on who with who, who the new girls in town were – forget it. Whether it was worth knowing or not, we knew. We minded our business, but we knew.
You can imagine.
Early evening Valentine’s Day 2004, I was in the cybercafé making the regular jokes about the date and about how I consider(ed) it evidence of the successful commercialization of romance, just like Christmas is the successful commercialization of you-know-who/what.
But I digress.
Anyway, there I was standing beside this couple I had seen come in earlier – or rather, go into the fast-food earlier and were now in the café. The girl was checking her mails, the guy was checking the girl and I was just…watching.
After a while, the girl finished – or maybe they ran out of browsing time. Whatever happened, they rose and the girl straightened her dress while the guy fidgeted and contemplated his hands. And then, when he saw the girl was done, he asked;
“So – em, what now? Where to from here?”
This was around seven or so in the evening. It was afternoon when they came in.
The girl looked at him and smiled; a smile that managed to combine sensuality and pity. And then, she answered;
“Your house now.”
You know how an entire neighborhood goes from a mass of darkness to distinct houses when NEPA restores power at night? That’s the only way I can describe the transformation the guy’s face went through. He looked like you and I would look if we checked our account balance and instead of the one thousand naira we left there last night, the ATM display is showing a solitary one standing ahead of six zeros.
He couldn’t hide his surprise. “Ehen?” was the only thing he could say.
I couldn’t help myself either. I burst into laughter.
For a moment he looked like he couldn’t decide whether to ignore me or not, but before he made a fool of himself any further, the girl took his hand. “Let’s go,” she said.
Meekly, he followed her.
I wonder what brings that memory to mind now. Maybe I’m thinking about how priorities change over the course of one’s life. Or maybe I’m thinking about a time I looked at romance and could only reconcile it with stupidity. Or maybe I’m just wistfully thinking about how the most meaningful things are sometimes the simplest things – and how that makes them easier to forget.
Or maybe I’m thinking all three. Good morning. Make good memories.
Nothing lasts forever
We just come together
For a while,
And then – go away
Is life a game;
We have no choice but play?
Why can’t words communicate,
Things important to say?
A flawed – no; a failed experiment;
Seeking perfection in others
Getting girls delivered like mail orders
No truth here, madam. Look further
Maybe happiness is a dream, a mirage, an illusion;
Maybe it’s meant for those with clear vision,
Or maybe that makes no sense. Maybe it’s just a joining of words;
You don’t understand?
I’m romance’s Ozil; everyone else is Ronaldo or Messi,
The king of assists; the best of wingmen,
But when it’s my turn to score, things become messy!
Perhaps I’m meant to sit on the wings, man
So I accept. I’ll play Watcher,
Fold my hands, observe, watch her,
No happiness for me in love; no way,
I’ve accepted my fate; I am the doorway