Be Grateful

The view, they sometimes say, is better from the top. Sometimes, there is just more to a view than the height of the aerial shot or view. It could be the message the view as been able to impact or even how much we can connect to it. However way it makes us feel, it is sure not always about the height.

A couple of years back, I took on the habit of always trying to reproduce my favourite views in my sketchbook, wonderful habit I must say; it helped me develop my drawing skills. Though, it did not stand the test of time, the impact had a ripple effect. Two especially meant more than just a sketch to me; one of an old railway track I had known since my early days at school and the other was of my grandma’s flooded street. The former reminded me a lot of how far I had come and the latter was more about the realities of life people had to face daily. Both seem to evoke a sense of gratitude, whenever I flip through my sketchbook.

As we approached this small settlement that laid parallel with the shores, everyone in it seemed engrossed in whatever it was they were doing, we were left to enjoy this short film that was about to unfold unto us. The opening scene was that of a man squatting on one end of a canoe, enjoying the endless pleasures of the sea breeze that rubbed across the face of his butt, as he passed out several mounds of excrete into the river, the sequence continued with a group of young men enjoying the therapy of water as they floated in the river. Next, was this somewhat awkward view, at least, awkward enough for me not to want to discuss the nudity of a fellow man that stood right at the shore not bothered by the passers-by. I assumed he was preparing to take a dive. This was subsequently followed by a bunch of kids who seemed to be having the time of their lives, as they ran around in no particular pattern, one trying to catch the other. And as we were about ending the slide show, there was a committee of older men, enjoying the bitterness of a locally conjured alcohol. They all seemed happy; at least, from how much i just saw.

As we concluded what seemed like a short film directed by life herself, I and most people around me was taken aback by the scene of what seem to embody true happiness, maybe a few sanitarians could still not comprehend the thought of swimming in the same water that served as someone else’s restroom. That obviously didn’t matter to these people, who were not going to let their environment stop them from being happy. This to me was true happiness.

Just over the weekend, I wouldn’t stop scathing myself because a shirt in the washing machine had just bleached on about 3 of my shirts and chinos. I kept on complaining when I still had enough to go at least a week or two. These people I’m sure would jump at those bleached on shirt with all gratitude and I was there making a fool of myself, what an ingrate I was.

A lot of us do more than this every day, we worry and complain to God about things that we don’t need, instead of being grateful that we have something someone somewhere can’t afford.

I’d be really annoyed if I was God, at the way most of us complain and keep asking, when we haven’t even thanked him for the gift of life we have, amongst many other things we enjoy each day. We have it all, from the smartphones we barely optimize, to those clothes we haven’t worn in weeks, some in months but instead we prefer to complain about the shoes that someone stepped on, like it can’t be dusted.

Why don’t we start something new from today on; say ‘thank you’ before complaining, ask less and be more grateful.

Be Grateful!


In recent times, if one made a list of the most thought about issues in my mind, matters concerning my future would probably sweep it all, food and a longing for shorter working hours would most likely creep in on some days. One which would be most frequent on the list would have to be, “when is it right to switch from being an employee to being an employer?”

. . .

I left the house this morning, feeling so good, San Antonio spurs had just been crowned the champions of the 2013/2014 NBA season (San Antonio spurs by the way is my favourite NBA team). As I sat in the ferry, enjoying the glitters the sea made of the rising sun, no thoughts of the future plaguing my mind. Seated right next to me was this man who usually was the reserved type; he would usually greet whoever he encountered on the ferry with a shy smile whenever he could. Today, he was a total opposite of what I knew him to be, he had been on a phone call since he boarded the ferry. He obviously was really pissed at whoever was on the other end and couldn’t help with the scowl. Twenty minutes into the ride, he was done with the call, he turned to me and said “My brother, can’t you see man is greedy?”, still confused and totally clueless,” yes, we could be at times”, I replied.

At this point, my curiosity level went from none-of-my-business to very concerned. With the newly found curiosity level, I asked if all was well, that question seemed to be the straw needed to break the Carmel’s back. He turned and answered “is it not all this silly workers on my site, do whatever they like, well I don’t blame them, if only I was less greedy and provided myself the time required to be present on site to supervise all activities”. He obviously was still so pissed, I just wasn’t sure if it was still at the site workers or himself at this point but I most definitely just gave him the opportunity to vent. “My average earning from personal projects per annum is twice whatever I earn at work, I thought staying in employment would give me security and an increase annual earnings but the reverse seems to happen most of the time. Imagine, I just lost about N300,000 over the weekend due to errors made on site, this as accrued my total loss to about a quarter of what was supposed to be my total profit.

“Don’t you now think that man is greedy?”

Ignoring the obvious question and trying to dish him a little of his thoughts, I asked why he was still in employment if this wasn’t the first time it was happening, “every time I contemplated the thought of leaving, either a promotion that came with a salary raise or a new car was always thrown my way like my thoughts were been read like a book at every instance.

At this point, regret was starting to echo in his words. He wasn’t going to cry, not at all but he was going to grow up enough to make me learn from his mistakes through his closing statements. “You see, I have made my mistakes and there is nothing I can do about it now because I must say it’s too late but you have to be better than I imagined even for myself, take that decision to pull out as early as possible because you would need time to make you a name people can trust if you are ever going to compete and achieve your dreams. Never fear to go into the unknown, that’s where the pot of gold seats”. Truer words were never spoken!

My respect for him suddenly grew beyond limits; he had just helped me through one of the most taunting times of my life. Suddenly, I felt relieved, inner peace  gradually occupied every space within my soul but still I could not help the slight feeling of pity somewhere deep within. I had just learnt a life long lesson from a man living with lost dreams, never to be achieved anymore; at least he was strong enough to accept it was over. At this point, that shy smile gradually formed around his lips as he was getting ready to come off the ferry and he said “do have you a great day my friend and thanks for listening too”. I could tell he also felt that same inner peace when that shy smile finally formed as I watched him make his way out.


MEMOIRS OF A LIVING MAN is a storytelling record of experiences encountered, sharing different perspectives towards life and lessons learnt from all of them. Every story is inspired by real life incidences that have been clothed with fictional plots, while still maintaining the idea and circumstances behind them. Personalities and privacies are respected, so none is maimed in any way. I also hope not to bore you guys as I have been warned not to *smiles*

Thanks a lot for making out time