Patience comes with practice right?
Patience is something that i was seeking so hard last year, how can i give myself the space to let everything just happen and fall into place? When will i get to this life of learning, freedom to travel and creativity that i am longing for? I was constantly challenging myself on how i could learn to be patient. Would sitting in a job that didn’t inspire me for the money and visa do it? Will enduring something i don’t really want make me patient? Is it waiting for a sign about the “right” decision to make on where to go next?
All good things come to those who wait, or get off their backside to go get them!
None of that was going to help me learn patience, it simply made me miserable! No amount of deliberating made it any easier, i decided to trust my instinct and do what feels right. I booked my flight to Nigeria, eventually made the laborious visa application, the extortionate fees were paid and i waited for my approval for the go ahead. There was no room for error, if there was a single mistake on my paperwork i wasn’t going any time soon as there weren’t enough working days before my flight for amends!
If it feels light and right then just do it!
The universe decided that i was supposed to go, my passport came back with precision timing. I headed off to a curious place with a terrible international reputation but some very smiley and welcoming faces in my team that was already here.
Lagos is a funny place, everyone is always rushing on the roads. Every toll and traffic light turns into a tussle for a spot as far up the queue that you can get to rush on quickly to wherever it is that the scratched up cars are heading. Paradoxically, nothing seems to happen with any pace! Appointments rarely run to time, there’s always an “i’ll just bath/eat/get dressed/wait for water/light/do something…” and then i’ll be with you. My favourite was “yes mah, it will be 20 minutes” an hour and a half later our roast chicken was ready!
I learnt on day one, always bring a Kindle with you when you are out and about in Lagos as there will always be room for reading on Naija time. Even on the busiest of days there will always be some down time waiting for someone or something. I like to make my time as productive as possible, so books, duolingo, brain training and audio books fill in the gaps. That and writing, Lagos has given me the space to start writing again.
I think i was afraid to write before, i was so stressed at the end of the year that i couldn’t write. I was worried about what i was leaving, what was going to come next and how that was going to lead me to where i ultimately want to be. I was trying to reach too much for the future and didn’t spend enough time in the present enjoying the day that i was in. Lagos forced me to stop, think and be grateful for where i am right now. Very happy and content, enjoying my work with good people where every day is different and making a contribution that has real benefit to other people’s lives.
Live in the present and patience will come
Then i realise that I’m here, i’ve been here for a while. This really is my life and i am really doing it, i’ve just been too focused on what comes next to really enjoy and appreciated it. I spent the last year in a place i really wanted to be, doing what i really wanted to do. Followed that with another stint somewhere that i really wanted to be, doing work i really care about with really fantastic people. Every day was different and challenging in wholly positive ways. I am learning and growing every day, I am already building that life, learning what i do and don’t like about places. Meeting heaps of new people, finding likeminded and not so likeminded souls. Nigeria led me to the gateway of patience. For that i will be eternally grateful.
I just had to be patient for the lesson to come, the irony is not lost on me.
Baci a tutti x