Writer: Empress_writes (Esther Ayoola)
I am not an indigene of Lagos. Frankly, I have not been to my home town in the last eight years. My stay at home in the southwestern part of the country was unstable for five years because of my studies. I only went home once a year, which was fine by me. It was right to say I knew next to nothing about most of the states in that part of the country.
A year ago, I had to return to Lagos, Nigeria. When I saw my posting letter, I was happy. Earlier, I had fantasized staying in Lagos, hence, I travelled down the next day. Of course, in the beginning, everything looked like it was in place, I felt my plans would come through and I might not have to go back to where I was coming from. It sounded like a simple plan until I was hit with the first problem, accommodation. Housing in Lagos unlike the north is very expensive, way more expensive than I could afford. I didn’t know what to do at a point and the situation looked hopeless. My newly found friends were not close either. Fortunately, I got a place I could manage after all my options had been exhausted.
At this point, I still believed nothing would interrupt my plans, I would have fun, learn, make friends, and visit new places. I was looking forward to it until I saw my job description 🤣 (I was shocked to the bone marrow). I had to ask the staff again if I heard right. It appeared I had to do ten times more than I used to. Did I mention it wasn’t my line of work? It wasn’t even in my career line. I couldn’t back out, I had to move on. Much later, I realized that I would have to put in more hours than I would have wanted, I had to push my life to the back because I must give my best, I couldn’t stay up late working because I had to wake up very early too. It dawned on me instantly that Lagos and the north are two very different territories.
My life was turned upside down and I struggled to catch up. Everything I used to do originally almost became useless and it seemed like I didn’t know anything at all. In a few months, all my plans had gone down the drain, and it took my strength with it. I just wanted to stay indoors and sleep the weekend away. Transportation did not help matters at all, it was stressful and expensive, nothing like I was used to, I couldn’t go visit friends because of traffic, my plans to visit new places could not hold either (A lot of people blamed me for this though.) In a nutshell, my plans had vanished and I just wanted to end my stay in Lagos.
A few months ago, I had a rethink. It wasn’t because of what I was passing through, it was because I recognized I had done little to nothing with my life. There was really no progress and it looked like I was stagnant. I had to do something but I could figure it out. During this period, three people came into my life. It was as though they were waiting for that moment to help me through the things I wished to do. I was able to get back on my feet and start actualizing the things I had scheduled.
I started learning, attended trainings, volunteered and started on the path of my purpose. My life transformed and I could feel the butterflies in my tummy once again. In spite of the fact that I was unable to work with my initial plans, I still felt fulfilled as I was able to achieve something. The job I was engaged in also taught me a number of things.
The past year has been full of ups and downs, I gave up on a lot of things, I lost my path and regained it, I cried and smiled. Although it looked like I would leave Lagos empty, I learned perseverance, patience and I have acquired cultural intelligence (learnt what I needed to do in situations and how to deal with kids). My one year journey didn’t go as envisioned, yet, I don’t regret it.
Sometimes situations won’t occur your way and sometimes, you’d feel you’ve failed. What’s best is to learn from these setbacks no matter how hard they may appear. It’s okay to step back and relax, it’s okay to fall but it’s not okay to stay down. I almost lost it and it would have cost me a lot of things. I scaled through! My one year journey ended with me being stronger, better and wiser.