Friday, December 15, 2006

Make the most of your 20s

I know, I know. It's been a long time since I blogged, but hey, what can I say. With the holidays and last minute to-dos at work, it's been almost impossible for me to find the time to sit and collect my thoughts. So here's my latest posting, quickly assembled to satiate your thirts.

So, I'm going to be turning 26 next year. I can't help but wonder how productive my 20s have been so far. Up until now, I had been given a guide of how to live life. Go to school and excel, and it'd all fall in line. Having done that, what next? Where's the guide for life after college? How do I make the most of my 20s. Here are some things I think are important to keep in mind as we navigate through our 20s.

1. Take Risks
This is the best time of your life to take risks. We're no longer under the control of our parents, and not yet tied down with responsibilities. The bigger the risks you take, the greater the potential rewards. Invest in startup businesses, follow your dreams, switch jobs a couple of times, ask your good looking co-worker out.

2. Get to know influential people
I wrote about the importance of knowing people earlier, and you can reference that to learn more. However, it's important to know people, particularly inflential people. It just makes life easier. How do you do this...get up off that couch and get out.

3. Travel
Traveling just opens up you mind and allows it to breathe. You're able to see the World on a grander scheme, and it helps you realize just how small you and your problems are. It also exposes you to all sorts of people, which helps your creative side.

4. Have fun
You're only young once. Having fun keeps you feel young

5. Setup a plan for your 30's
"Success always comes when preparation meets opportunity". Your 20s should be spent getting ready for your 30s. When you get to your 30s, you should be settled, and trying to master some of what you've learned in your 20s.

Make the most of this time you have.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

To the Bride and Groom

I've been going to a lot of bridal/wedding showers lately and my absolutely favorite part of the shower is the advice part. This is the part where the guests get to advice the bride and/or the groom about their impending journey into the holy matrimony and how to survive it. When it gets to my turn, I usually just want to purge my mind and tell them the truth that I wasn't told (perhaps bcos I haven't formally walked down the aisle yet), but like the rest of the guests, the urge to be brutally honest usually gives way to my need to be concise and typical. So, since I don't ever do it at the given platform for fears of not wanting the other guests to look at me with questionable looks as to the type of relationship I'm in, I'll do it here. So my 10 key points are going to be different from the usual "keep God first", or "Have fun with each other" or "Never go to sleep angry with each other". I mean really..."Never go to sleep angry?" How realistic is that? As I write this, I am extremely angry with Lovey for just how inconsiderate and selfish he is at times, and I'm sure I'm going to be going to sleep even angrier. But hey, that's life, so don't cry for me Argentina.

This is for those who are getting married in the next couple of months, especially for those going back home to Nigeria to tie the knot. Here's my unedited advice to you.

1. It's okay to long as it's not physical
My love and I spent valentines day with another couple friends of ours a couple of years ago. Sometime during the night, we played a game where we started talking about the last fight we got into as a couple, and what we did to make up. To my surprise, the response of our couple friends was that they had never been into any arguments in the 10 years or so that they had been together. WHAT!!!! How is that possible? I couldn't even imagine a couple of days going by without my love and I going at it, and I'm not ashamed to admit that. Because with our fights and all, we still have the best relationship out there from what I can see. Why...because we fight. You are two different people, with different backgrounds and different things are going to annoy you about each other. Fighting is one of the fastest ways for you to get to know each other better. You'll find out what irks you about your partner and vice versa. I personally think it's unhealthy to be in a relationship where the goal is to never fight. After making up from a fight, you usually learn more about your spouse. You know what your mate likes and dislikes, and hopefully you get to grow as a couple. Don't go looking to get into fights, but know it's perfectly normal and healthy if it happens.

2. Give each other some space when needed
I've never understood that advice "Never go to sleep angry with each other". Absolutely go to sleep angry when the alternative is getting stuck in a circular argument where no solution is being given. Sometimes when you get into disagreements with each other, the best thing to do is to get away. I've packed up a week's worth of stuff before and left the house to go to a hotel for a couple of days. Why? Because I couldn't stand to be in the presence of dude any second longer, for I would physically explode with anger. I leave to go think things over, and give him time as well. After a day or so, when things have settled, you have better chances of settling the matter. Most likely by this time, you've missed each other so much, that you're more than willing to work out whatever issues you had. And most to the time, you realize that it was all a matter of miscommunication or misunderstanding.

3. Don't compare your relationship to other people's relationships
No relationship is perfect...except mind, but we're the exception. You don't know what's going on behind close doors. Other couples may look happy and while you and your mate have been getting into it, but that doesn't mean your relationship needs a visit to couples therapy. You define your relationship, and how good it is. Get out of that pitfall of thinking "well this is what you would do if you love me", or this is how a husband is supposed to act. Know what you want, and make sure your relationships fits that. When your feelings are genuine, your partner is more likely to recognize where you're coming from, and you'll be happier.

4. Don't try to change each other
I hear people all the time that they wish their spouse were like other people. My feelings usually is then you wouldn't have fallen in love with your partner. You would have fallen for another random girl, who didn't have your spouse's personality. I am a product of ALL that is me, and if you change one thing, you get someone completely different. You fell in love with the complete package, so learn to accept the good with the bad, and spend your time celebrating the good, as opposed to changing the "bad".

5. It's true...Men are from Mars, women from Venus
It never ceases to surprise me just how something that makes complete sense to me as a woman, can sound utterly crazy to a man. There's been plenty of times when I would get into a disagreement with my Martian, I confide with my female friends to see if I'm the crazy one, and they would completely understand where I was coming from. However, when I turn around and tell the same story to a man, I get nothing but gasps and aawws saying "how could you do that?" I've tried to all ends, but it's impossible to figure out the mind of a man, and vice versa. We just have to understand that and respect it. Case in point, I had been taking on a lot of responsibility at one point, while lovey would just sit there and do whatever he felt like doing. So one day, I told him that really I felt that he should try to contribute just a little more around the house, and his response..."Well, I know just how doing these things mean to so much to you, so I didn't want to take that joy away from you by doing pitching in." He had actually convinced himself that I felt better taking on all the responsibilities by myself because it made me feel more like a woman. And when I discussed this with some of my female friends, surprise...surprise, their men had told them something similar to that effect before as well. MEN! On on the opposite side, men cannot figure out why it should take us 30 minutes to tell a 2 minute story, or calling them on the phone to say absolutely nothing. But these are things we do as men and women, and there's no point in the opposite sex trying to figure out why.

6. Communication, communication, communication
“Communication is to love as blood is to the body.” Take the blood out of the body and it dies. Take communication away and a relationship dies.The kind of communication I’m talking about isn’t just exchanging information - it’s sharing feelings, hurts, joys. That means getting below the surface and examining the hows and whys of daily life. Your wants and needs out of life. What makes you smile and what makes your cry. The more you communicate, the more there is to learn about each other to talk about. It is essential for the survival of your marriage, so take the time to do it.

7. Remember the commitment
Frankly speaking there are times when you're going to wonder if you made the best decision by marrying your spouse, what would your life be like if you were with someone else, why you're even in a relationship at all...but remember your commitment. Marriage is all or nothing. You can't put it on pause, while you go explore your whims for the night. When your emotions start to run wild, and you find yourself wondering what it's like to be single for the day, remember that your commitment is for a lifetime, and would you be willing to give up a lifetime of experiences with your spouse for however many hours, days, or even months of whatever the threat to your marriage could be for that moment. Many people make the mistake of relying on feelings rather than commitment. Romantic feelings come and go, and many spouses get nervous when the flame dies down. They begin to doubt their relationship and wonder if they married the wrong person. A lot us think a successful relationship must run on high-octane passion. Marriage is a series of highs and lows, so when the lows come, remember the commitment.

8. Patience
You may find yourself going over the same things over and over with your spouse which can be frustrating, but patience is a virtue. Pick and choose your battles. It may not be worth it to get into a fight about what he didn't get from the store eventhough you told him 5 times to remember to get it, and you even called him on the cell phone while he was at the store to get it. And then he has the nerves to come back and say he forgot. Hey, that's who he is, that's who you got, so learn to deal with it.

9. Get away from Nay Sayers
Don’t listen to the marriage cynics. As a matter of fact, don't even tell anybody about your marriage issues. There's no way anybody is going to be able to advice you on your relationship since they're not living it. Only you and your spouse know the nuances of your relationship, so keep it between yourselves. Misery loves company, and there are too many people in miserable relationships who want to bring you right down with them. When you tell them "A" about your spouse, they want to spin it into "B". Only a handful of people want to see that relationship survive, other people just want to know the story for the soap opera drama of it all and the gossip factor. Don't let them use your relationship as a punch line in their sick jokes.

10. Appreciate the journey
From hence forth, you'll be traveling through life with a partner. This is the person that's going to see you through your highest highs and your lowest lows. Get ready for the ride of your life, make sure you make the most of it, and by the end of it, be proud of where your end up.

There will be good times and bad times. Hopefully you have more good than bad. Congratulations on your new journey. It's worth it...but then how would I know, I'm not married.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Back in full force...I think

I haven’t blogged in a while, and it’s not out of not wanting to. I just don’t got the time!!! I’m starting to suspect the It Factor for others is the superhuman ability accomplish ten million tasks in a 24 hour period. I’ve been trying to do it all, but I’m starting to come to the realization that it’s impossible to be great at it all. We wear so many hats as employees, parents, mates, sisters/brothers, friends, etc, that it’s impossible for us to do it all and still have time for ourselves and our passions. When I start to focus on my responsibilities at work, I find that my personal life starts to slip. When I make a switch to developing myself and focusing on how to get myself to the next level, I find that my work starts to slip. I can't win. Let’s not even talk about making time for my friends. It’s not possible. I am absolutely driving myself crazy with playing all these roles, and trying to be great at them all. I’m at the point where I have to accept defeat and just focus on a couple of the roles, and leave the rest for when I can tackle them. The question is how do I decide on what to focus on without feeling guilty. I know work is important since it's the only way I have now to pay my bills, being a great mother is super important for the development of my kids, of course being a great companion is also there. But what about my friends, my family, etc. And what about me??? Aarghhhhh!!!

Anyways, I have so much to get off my mind, since I haven’t written in forever.

Mo money, mo problems?

I’m sure most of us know this already, but Bono of the group U2 and Michael Shriver of the Kennedy Clan have an initiative called the RED project. The idea behind it is to try to eradicate AIDs and other diseases in Africa in our lifetime by donating a portion of the proceeds of certain RED products to a Global Fund. The fund was set up in 2002 and has received close to $9 billion in overall financing commitments through 2008. It's also approved the spending of $5.2 billion on disease-fighting projects in more than 130 countries, but the organization claims it's still short of its goals. Doesn't this beg the question "If 9 billion dollars is not enough to solve Africa’s problems, then what is?" What's interesting is the whole world has been throwing money at Africa for the past 30 years now, and our problems continue to get bigger and bigger. And with all the charities and organizations in Africa, here are the disturbing facts on AIDS in Africa:
  • 70% of all adult living with HIV are in Africa
  • 0.1% of the 28.5 million people living with HIV/AIDs in Africa have access to HIV/AIDS drugs
  • Out of the 28 most infected countries, only 2 countries are not African

Pardon my French, how in the hell is that possible? A couple of years ago, I would have drifted off on a tangent about how these figures are CLEARLY inflated, and perhaps even challenge the existence of AIDs, but maybe some other time, since that's not the intention of this post. The intention is to discuss the fact that the more money Africa gets thrown at it, the more problems we have. When is someone going to stop thinking the problem is money and realize that we as Africans have to start to explore some other solutions. Let's start with the government. How do we avoid corruption? Nigeria is one of the wealthiest countries on the African continent in terms of its natural resources, yet the average nigerian does not have 2 pennies to rub together. I don’t think Africa’s problem is money. I personally think it’s lack of responsibility in the hands of our leaders. Our leaders would rather line their pockets, and spend greedily, than to spend the time and brain power to address the problems of their citizens. I think it's noble what the RED project is doing, it's even great when Oprah goes and sets up schools in South Africa, and I guess it's nice when Madonna and Angelina adobt African children, but our problems aren't getting any smaller. I know it's got to be hard for the rest of the World to watch Africa's problems continue to pile up without doing nothing, but I say let Africans deal with their problems themselves. That's the only way we'll find lasting solutions.

Why can't Britney Party?

I’m not a fan of Britney Spears, but why can't Britney Spears party if she wants. I’m tired of my news consisting of what Paris and Britney did last weekend. My take is why can’t she have fun just because she has kids. It’s no wonder women find it hard to do anything or take time out for themselves once they have kids, because the world will forever pass judgments on them. They only have pictures of her going out at night, so I'm sure she's with them all day long. I don’t see anything wrong with her going out after putting the kids to bed. I’m sure she’s able to afford more than capable nannies to watch the kids while she's, so why not? She's probably trying to get it out of her system since she's been MIA the past 2 years while she was pregnant, so I say go for it.

Time flies by
Where did the time go? Can anyone believe it’s December already. I could have sworn it was only yesterday when I was at my cousin in laws house ringing in the year 2006. Making resolutions about how 2006 was going to be my year. Now here we are, December 7, 2006. What have I done to work towards my goal of finding my It factor and taking over the World….nothing! Nothing? Is that possible? Have I possibly wasted the year 2003, 2004, 2005, and now 2006 on hopes and dreams? Wow, I've got to get it together.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Analysis Paralysis

This post is going to be really short. I'll elaborate later if the spirit moves me, however, I just wanted to drop a little insight to some of us who get stuck in the merry go round of "Analysis Paralysis". Life is short. Make a good decision and stick to it. There are goods and bads to everything, however the only thing that's going to automatically count you out of the game is not making any moves. There are risks to everything in life. It's important for one to decide on something and stick to it. Otherwise you find that you've spent you whole life looking at the possible down sides of different ventures you're trying to get into, as opposed to the good sides. It's not the idea that counts, it's the sticktuitiveness of it.