Hellooooo! If you missed the first part of Life Is But A Journey, please catch up then join us here.
I had sent off my application during the Christmas holidays with the hopes that my passport would be returned to me just in time to start my International Foundation course in January of the next year. I was so confident I would get that visa. If I remember correctly, my dad had even sorted out my ticket by that time. I already had my hair did – waist-length box braids. Colours 30 and 33. Omo! I was ready! This was so that as soon as I had gotten the visa, I would be on my merry way without having to worry about hair or anything else.
We went to the village for Christmas, as per omo Igbo, and I was counting every second until I could pick up my passport. A week had passed, no word. Oh, I forgot to mention earlier that we were told to wait for a call or a text (I don’t remember) with instructions to come for collection. Second week had passed, still nothing. By this time we had left the village and gone back to ‘township’ and you know what? I had only about two or three days before my classes were to start. Ah…Oh boy. I started to hyperventilate. Not again, I thought. God, please not another rejection. Why are they wasting so much time? But I know it normally doesn’t take that long? Why is mine taking so long then? Is there an issue with my application?
Have you ever wanted something so much, so desperately, that you truly believe that if you don’t get it you’ll be shattered? You’ve built so much around that desire and you feel that not having it, especially after it’s so close you can taste it, will leave you an irreparable wreck? That was me at that moment. And so, I made a decision – God it’s me and you today…hence, my crying. Later that evening, an uncle who was staying with us saw me and said he wanted to talk to me.
‘I heard you were crying today,’ he said.
I replied in the affirmative. He asked me why and I vaguely told him the reason. The next thing he said to me changed my life and has become a principle that I live by till today.
Life is not a destination. Life is a journey.
He went on to further explain that after jumping over one hurdle in life, there will be another for you strive to jump over. For instance, you hope to start university and then you do, that’s one hurdle crossed. Then comes graduation, job search, possible promotion, and the list goes on…There is always something new to want. Set new goals but don’t get so obsessed with attaining them that you lose sight of everything else, forgetting that the goal isn’t the final destination. We can’t get to a certain phase of our lives, proclaim ‘Yes! I’ve arrived!’ and stop there. You got married to the person of your dreams. Congrats, but life doesn’t end there. You’ve finally become a SAN. Oshey baddest, but life still doesn’t end there. This was basically the gist of all my uncle said. I thanked him for his advice and then went to bed still expecting my biggest desire.
The size of my eyeballs the next morning ehn! That’s why I hate crying for too long. It’s not just because I’m a kajad babe. It’s mostly because I always end up looking like E.T’s offspring. At least the unflattering look came with a very valuable lesson which I’ve applied to every aspect of my life since then. Life doesn’t end after we reach a milestone. The problem with forgetting that life still continues after an achievement is that we are no longer open to learning and we consciously choose to stop growing. Complacency is ugly, guys. Really. We shouldn’t assume that we have become complete just because we finally have what we’ve always wanted. So, keep aiming. Continue to aspire and don’t get discouraged if you don’t get what you want or experience what seems like a dead end. The only thing that signifies that life is over is death.
Sooo I’m sure some of you are thinking ‘So after this babe went all Dr. Phil on us, she didn’t even tell somebody whether she got the visa or not!’ OK, OK. Let me tell you what happened after that night. Somebody say ‘The very next day!’ The very next day I got a call or a text (like I said, I don’t remember exactly) telling me to come to pick up my passport. Heyyyy, God! I tell you, it seemed atilogwu dancers were performing on the ground of my heart. It was beating so fast. From home till we got to the visa collection office, my heart was in my mouth. I got there and when it was my turn, I gave the man behind the desk my details. He checked for the envelope with my name, opened it, gave it a cursory glance, handed it to me with a smile and said ‘Congratulations.’ Huh? You say…?
‘Sir,’ I said incredulously. ‘How do you know? You didn’t even check my passport to see if I got the visa or not.’
‘Don’t worry,’ he insisted. ‘You got it. There’s no ‘love letter’ inside there.’
Love letter – a rejection letter. Immediately, I brought out my passport to check. I had to be sure. I had to see for myself. I didn’t want to hope again and then have my hopes crushed…again. I opened my passport and…there it was – my visa. In fact…in fact…in fact…I can’t even describe in words how I felt but in all of my celebration, in all the preparations for the new phase of my life, I always had it at the back of my mind – life is not a destination. Life is a journey.