I have challenged myself to blog regularly about things that I am thankful for. We all have something in our lives that we can be thankful for, it’s just a matter of thinking on it. Life can be hard and is very stressful, but as long as you’re on this side of the ground and not below it, I think life is good.
Fine, life is good but there are so many challenges, so many things that disappoint us or go wrong, lots of unanswered prayers that cause us to lose hope or overshadow our thankfulness. We all face them. When you see an entry here that is all about thankfulness, don’t think everything in my life is perfect and I’m completely satisfied (in some instances I should be, but I’m a typical flawed human). In many cases I have to think hard before I come up with more than one reason to be thankful. Don’t think I’m writing to brag about my life, or show off that my life is better than anybody else’s. I just know that by taking time each week to focus on the good, I feel better about all aspects of my life, including the things that aren’t going as expected.
Last year, I mentioned that as a result of interacting with more Nigerians, especially family that I had reconnected with on my last trip to Nigeria and also some friends that I have met through blogging, I’ve slightly modified how I speak with them when compared to my non-Nigerian friends. It wasn’t deliberate, but it’s happened nevertheless. I’ve added the following to my repertoire:
I use the word “again” to mean “anymore”
Example: “I went for dinner with that cute guy last Tuesday…or wait, was it the Tuesday before that? I don’t know again” (the old me would have said “anymore” or “I can’t remember” instead of ‘again’).
“Eh ya” and other expressions of emphathy
Honestly the English language is lacking in expressions of empathy. I think the best English expression for empathy would be “Awww”, but it can mean “how cute/sweet/romantic” as well as “oh, what a shame!” (I’m actually a big “aww”-er). I know we’ve all had a situation where a colleague tells you a story about how on their way to work they tripped and ripped their skirt and you say “sorry” and they (especially if they are not Nigerian) say “It’s not your fault!”. If I am telling a fellow Nigerian the same story, you can bet I’m going to pause and give them a chance to say “sorry”, “pele”, “ndo” or “eh ya”, and now if you tell me a tale that merits an “eh ya”, you’ll hear one come from my lips or fingertips. A little empathy goes a long way.
I can’t deny that I like these little changes to my communication, especially because it’s something that’s just happening; I’m not forcing it; I’m just absorbing it from the environment. Even so, I’m resisting adding the word am to my vocabulary, when it’s used in place of “I am” (for example, when I ask someone how they’re doing, and they respond with “Am fine”, or if they want you to know that they are tired, they say “am tired”. Am not ready to go down that road!