'While You Were Getting Ready'

The wedding ceremony was for 10am at the courthouse downtown. She was finally getting married. It was like a dream. She smiles at the picture of the perfect wedding in her head. "Oh! It's going to be the talk of the town for a century to come", she was sure of it. Quickly she discards the thought, "there is so much to do, you don't have a wedding of the century by day dreaming" she chides herself. She jumps into action opening the wardrobe to expose the wedding dress, second only to that of a fairy land princess. She checks her shoes, "Where are the pantyhose?" She has no time for hide and seek with parts of her wedding dress.
After an eternity she finds it hidden in a far corner. She is sure its Ruddolf her German shepherd, God bless his playful soul. By now the beauty and makeup artists are banging on the door, "Is this their house for heaven’s sake, some respect please!" she emerges with a frown that quickly disappears when she remembers it’s all for her big day, nothing can make her sad. As the beautician works on her, she follows her every move with hawk-like intensity. Her facial must be perfect. She makes her redo every crooked line, recoat every lacking shade; everything must be perfect for her today.

Her mum and her in-laws are beginning to fuss, so she orders they be put outside the gate or go and wait at the venue. It's her special day, she will have the best. She exhumes her princess fairytale dress from the wardrobe to realize the creases are not symmetrical. She must iron it to point, she cannot allow any mediocrity. "This is really happening" she muses as she strokes away on the ironing board. She finally gets it straight, "that's more like ..." She freezes as she catches her face in the mirror, she has been sweating profusely while ironing, now her face is streaked like the map of Africa."Devil is a liar" she huffs “today will be perfect". She calls back the makeup artist for damage control, after a few touches here and there, the beautician says "We can manage it like this". What? Did she hear right, did this nitwit just say manage on her wedding day? She explodes into a torrent of abuse, "today has to be perfect" she screams, "How many times do I have to say it". The perplexed beautician says in a tiny voice "ma the time is..." "Did I ask your opinion?" The now irate bride mutters, " do it all over, it has to be perfect".

Now the phone is ringing non-stop. She ignores it, she could imagine her parents red faced by now and her fiancĂ©, if not for the vows, would not talk to her. After another decade, she finally accepts that it has attained perfect status, now she is ready! Now she can step out and wow the expectant world. She gathers her flowing gown behind her, opens her door and smiles as wide as her baked face will allow. The sight waiting for her was not exactly as she had planned. Instead of a throng, she was met with an empty hall. What is happening? She rushes to a stranger cleaning up and shakes him so hard his eyes would have popped out of the socket. "Where is the wedding, where is everyone?” The frightened janitor frees himself and behind the security of a stack of chairs answers her “the wedding is over ma, everyone is gone". As if to buttress his point, the old church bell gives out a distinct three clangs, she looks up at the clock, its 3'o'clock. She has missed her wedding, preparing for it, what an irony!

Before you laugh at the bride's stupidity or ask the dumb writer (being me), who in the world would miss her own wedding, let me assure you that she actually represents a lot of us! We are not busy preparing for a wedding, we are preparing for life. We are so busy preparing for life that we don't realize life is passing. We keep trying to cross all our T's and dot all our I's before we make our move. They say success is when preparation meets opportunity, so we strive to be prepared. We put off opening the business because we are not yet financially stable. We put off going to the gym because we don't have time or the extra college degree because we still have time. We stay with the oppressive job because we are afraid of what will happen if we walk away. We hold back on writing the book, submitting the proposal, asking for her hand in marriage, because we ask ourselves "what if it does not work?", we must be well fortified. We hold off on taking a well deserved vacation, watching a good movie, taking time to play with our kids or friends, learning how to play basketball, because there will always be time for that. We wait to try out Thai food, roller skates and frog brain in a Chinese restaurant, because we have not earned enough.

Life is a tricky business, it moves as if it’s taking a stroll with you, but never really tells you how long you have with it. It can end at a 100 years (won’t we all like that) or 25 (gone too soon) or at 65 (tried, but could have more)... The point is all you have is right now, till whenever, to make the best out of your life and life expects you to do everything you can within that period. Our today is overcrowded because of all the junk we brought in from yesterdays procrastination, and if you are as bad as I am, you'll be feeling a little overwhelmed by now. Everyday expects you to use up all the opportunity in it, whether to work or to play, either harvesting from yesterdays work or sowing into tomorrow. We over think, over-plan, over-prepare for life! I think we should do more with the one we have prepared already. There is something called 'on the job training' that is what we ought to be doing. Let's stop unconsciously putting our lives on hold because we want all variables to be perfect. All variables will never be perfect at the same time, hence the term 'variables' (how dumb can we be). Once the fixed is there and willing, the variables can keep changing. You my friend are the fixed and you are all that matters. Let us begin to take on our days in its totality, not in half measures and piece meals. Everything should be added to our lives now that we are living it, nothing should be left for when we retire at age 65, how much can we do or enjoy then by the way? (Definitely not driving my Ferrari at 350km/hr on a French highway). All the parts of our lives should receive equal attention daily; health, carrier and finance, academics and personal development, family and relationships, faith, social and recreation.... Every part should be added to daily.

I don't know who said this, but it’s the most profound life lesson I've heard, it says “Live everyday as if it’s your last, plan for everyday as if you have forever". We owe it to ourselves to do all we can do today, whether we feel completely prepared for it or not. We must take more chances, take more actions; Submit the proposal, let it be rejected, Say hello to the pretty young girl, let her walk out on you. Register for the course, and go to the gym. I saw the title of a book in the bookstore recently, it read, 'Ready, Fire, Aim!' at first I thought “how silly” but on meditation I realized, If we miss on the first fire, by the time we readjust it'll be a much better aim, because we can see how far or near we are from the mark!

What are all those dreams you have put on hold? All the plans you have set and reset? All the dates marked on your calendar and cancelled? Bring them out and start on them today. Call the school, call the firm, call the man. Anything at all, but just do something.


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Kanayo Aniegboka

Kani is a writer, entrepreneur, blogger, public speaker and an all-round knowledge junkie who likes to view life from different angles.

4 comments:

  1. Strong food for action not thought(deep sigh) we are all guilty

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  2. Thank you for this Kani. But it's not easy for me to concentrate on more than one aspect of my life. i work in an events-planning company and we work all round the week. we plan on weekdays, then organize/supervise on weekends. sometimes, i do not even have the time to pause and scratch my itchy nose. it can be that bad. Last weekend we had four weddings, one burial and two birthdays to organize. I couldn't even pick my personal calls, not with the i-will-kill-you-if-the-client-is-displeased look i kept getting from my boss and an i-want-this-freaking-perfect demand the clients were breathing down our throats. how do you think i can find the time to further my studies or go on vacation or even breathe? that's why i have pushed everything for later. right now my job is my life, i don't know how else to live life to the fullest without getting fired. i wish i had a way. all i can find the time to do aside work is 'read books' (which i do in the office anyway). i'm screwed right?

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  3. I feel you Funmi, but I had an epiphany one day, I realised everybody has an equal amount of time each day,including the president of America(who surprisingly finds time to gym).
    Irrespective of how much we've got to do, all we have in a day is 24 hours and everyone is meant to do their best with it. So even though you feel genuinely overwhelmed, you are expected to do as much as you can,(not everything, mind you, just as much as you can) with the day. The key is to prioritise so you can do as much of the most important things to you as you can do in a day.
    In retrospect, what fills your day tells you what is most important to you, so if you don't like it, you consciously begin to introduce the things you want. You can either choose to lead your day or allow your day lead you.
    Surprisingly, its never out of our hands, even when we think we can't do anything about it, the truth is we have decided not to, because we consider the pressure of less negative effect than the cost of turning away from it.

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  4. Dat is my dearest,loving and charming pastor.Wow wow wow!dis is very inspiring!I gats 2 buckle up o!

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