A few years back, I was sitting with my fellow young people in Church as a youth leader and I said to them
“Don’t get scared of people leaving you, this is life. Don’t be afraid of change, it is bound to happen. People will come, people will go. One day, all of us may leave this very location, some of us will lose contact, our levels will change and our dreams and aspirations may drive us far from each other. When these changes start coming, don’t think rejection, just see it that life happened. I wish we would be together forever, I wish we can be here forever but this isn’t always the case.”
A few years later, we’ve all gone our separate ways, chasing our diverse dreams in diverse places. Some of us have left Nigeria, some even removed us from their Facebook friends list so that they can add people who are more relevant to them. We never knew the changes would happen so soon but it happened anyway.
This is how life is, it’s a cycle and sometimes we wake up to see that everything has changed, our choices are changed and how we think and act are changed. Have you tried taking a walk down memory lane?
I remember my childhood when we run through the streets with our hands widespread imagining we are either birds or aeroplane. Then, I always feel very light and would hardly walk home. Running was usually my walking.
On Sundays, as we run back home from Church we would start perceiving the aroma of Mum’s Ofe-Akwu (Palm S right from the staircase, we would hear our neighbours pounding something, perhaps crayfish and pepper. Everywhere is busy, songs playing from one angle, the sound of Nollywood movie coming from another angle and the voice of children playing downstairs and filling the airspace.
I remember how the reality of maturity started hitting us. Some of us left the community and entered boarding school. It meant a new life altogether and sometimes a new way of thinking. We would come back home and not communicate with others the way we used to.
I remember how most of us graduated from secondary school, some left for the University, those who couldn’t afford it started working in the factories around. There was no longer time to fetch water together and engage in arguments, we no longer walk to the borehole as a team, everyone started minding his or her business.
In fact, our little siblings had taken over some of the errands we were usually known for. Early in the morning, we are off to work and in the evening we are back to rest. For some of us, our ideologies kept us further apart and then we outgrew the community and left for a greener pasture to fight our fight like people who are now responsible for their own well being.
Now, there is no Ofe-Akwu to run to every Sunday, if you want it, you cook it but if you can’t afford it you drink water and sit back to remember all the games you played as a kid, the imaginary limousine who drove with a carton, the little aeroplane you flew in the sitting room, the ‘game-start’, the pun and lots of them.
Today’s children don’t remind you of your childhood, they only tell you how the world has changed. The childhood of today isn’t just an upgrade of what childhood used to be, it’s entirely a new type of childhood on its own! Things changed so fast and they keep changing. Today’s children don’t mostly know our kinds of games and our kinds of toys. For those of us whose parents couldn’t but toys, we had a way around it. Our glasses, watch, caps, guns, television, car and so on were all built from trashed cartons and used papers.
The consciousness of child abuse is becoming a vital part of the society and people are restraining their kids from being communal… Sometimes I wish our childhood was recorded. While my parents didn’t allow us to have much interactions with others, we always had a way around it. We would watch other kids play from the veranda and we import what we learnt from them.
These realities keep hitting us every day and one of the things it keeps reminding us is that no condition, success or failure is permanent. Change is constant. Then, it gets scarier knowing that a time will come when you won’t see the faces you cherished, the persons you loved, the models and celebrities you adore. Another time will come and you won’t be seen.
Do you remember Merit? Ahana? Onome? Papa Ajasco? Aki & PawPaw? Osuofia? and lots of others? What they are today wasn’t what they were in our childhood, the laughter they gave us then isn’t the same with what they give us now. Change is inevitable and we should always stay ready for it.
Experience has taught us that beauty doesn’t last. Old age has caught up with some of our celebrity crushes. Success must be renewed and the future must be prepared for. We have also learnt that growth is a continuous process and sometimes we grow and grow out of this world.
Walking down memory lane, some childhood friends are dead and the only thing left of them is the fainting memories of the moments we shared together. For others, we’ve part ways in pursuit of destiny. There are few who have remained and we would sit out together to discuss and laugh over these memories.
If you can pay a visit to that place you spent your childhood, you’d be amazed how things have changed. While some of us had both the good and the bad experiences of childhood, it’s always worth the memory.
Everyone is entitled to this journey, some stopped so early and some made it to the end. You are once a child, then an adult, then parent, then grand parent and then… Memory.
Whatever you want to be remembered for is entirely up to you.