On making each day count

Good morning!

It has been quite a week with respect to celebrities passing away: Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson in the last few days. I pray for their families, to whom these stars were “just” Ed, Farrah, and Michael, to whom their passing isn’t noteworthy because they were a celebrity, but because they were a parent, a sibling, and a child. As much as we may miss Michael’s music, their loved ones will miss something we never knew: the presence and essence of the person.

When someone dies, the memories and tears usually come. We remember what they meant to us, what we did with them and other things. There’s a hole that only they can fill.

My father has dealt with loss in his life: his father, his two younger siblings and his nephew. We have never been in Nigeria when these deaths have happened, and mourning from a distance, not being able to be there physically for family members, is not easy. But one thing my dad always says is that you have to make your time with your loved ones count while they are alive because that is when it matters. My dad has lived this philosophy fully his entire life, giving everything he can to support his family financially and emotionally. He has suffered for his complete investment in the lives of his two families: I don’t think his family or my mother, siblings and I are ever away from his thoughts. Instead, he spends his life showing us all that we are important to him, his number one priority. If he sees a job opportunity he thinks I’d enjoy, he passes it to me, same with a book or anything he thinks will benefit my life. He is like this for everyone in his family. He’s the middle child but he often has to take on a leadership role in his family, and certainly that of the peacemaker (perhaps that is the role of the middle child).

Some people go into bankruptcy arranging huge celebrations of life and thanksgivings for their loved ones that have passed, yet while the person was alive they wouldn’t give them money to buy food, or share what they have. I’ve seen this more often with parents and grandparents: when they were alive it was a chore to visit them, help them with things they are no longer able to do, yet when they pass you suddenly feel the need to party, invite your friends, feed and ply them with drinks, all in the name of mourning and celebrating the life of a loved one. That, in my dad’s opinion is ridiculous and a reversal of how we should spend our money and time after a loved one dies.

But it’s not only death that inspires this. What about when your mom wants you to teach her how to send an email and you roll your eyes and get frustrated because you see it as one hour of your life that will be wasted repeating instructions over again? Or your sister calls to make small talk when you’re watching your favourite show and you rush her off the phone? Or the times you’ve almost bitten your father’s head off for asking you to pour him a glass of water, yet if he were to be rushed to the hospital, you’d suddenly become the concerned daughter or son, moving heaven and earth to make sure he’s comfortable and well cared for? It’s great that your true feelings are revealed in scary times, but what about on a regular day?

Let’s all commit to make every day count when it comes to showing our loved ones how special they are to us. Help your mother in the kitchen even if you’re exhausted yourself. Give your father a call at work just to say hello. Give your sibling who’s always broke $20 for no reason at all, or help your sister with one of her tasks without waiting to be asked.

Life is short, and we hope that God grants us a long life. Since we don’t know how much time we do have, let us focus on making the most of our every day.

I’m feeling pretty thankful for the lives of my family and friends today. There are just too many reminders of how lucky we are to wake up yet again. Please think of my friends, sister and I as we leave for a weekend of camping in a few hours. Yes: I am Nigerian and I enjoy camping. My friend’s boyfriend made me laugh: he apparently told her that if he wanted to camp he’d move back to Cameroon!

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15 thoughts on “On making each day count

  1. Such a thoughtful post and another reason why we should cherish those in our lives while they are alive. Time is fast fleeing and life is short. Hope you enjoy your weekend.

  2. Nice tribute. I am glad your dad took something out of is loss; I wish we all could cultivate that habit. How will the world be if we all took out time to appreciate our loved ones and showed them we did care. How many people will boldly say yes they know their parents, families, friends do care for them?

    Camping? Camping? ….I usually echo same words of your Camerounian friends….if i want to camp, I will go back to the village. sleeping outside under the moon is camping enough for me, no?

    A girlfriend of a friend of mine wanted them to walk in the park, but typical naija boy told the girl "walk in the park, like I did not trek enough in naija that I have to go on long walks in the park"

    Good luck with the camping

  3. I am sorry for all the losses. so many deaths, but like you said, we need to appreciate the things around us. I will be sure to go the extra mile today and look out for my loved ones.

  4. Wonderful! You’re an inspiration for all of the wondrous things that life is about!

  5. You are so right. Everyday counts and we are all guilty of it….I say we should extend this to everyone in our life. friends, co-worker … everyone, so we can be remembered fondly. Oh and I totally secong your friend's boyfriend.

    Have a great week goodnaijagirl

  6. Yeah. So many times we miss opportunities to make a real difference with the little things.
    We feel sometimes that we are being bothered by those who make our lives much more beautiful by their presence in it.

    Thank you for the reminder.

  7. pheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew! I feel you on this!

    You know, sometimes, it's just not just easy understanding the importance of the people that matter to us right there when we see them each day, each second. I have decided to work on this!

  8. Another very thoughtful post…with loads of lessons that I relate to, n certain things that I should definitely work/improve on…thanks for sharing this GNG…

  9. Making every day c0unt in 0ur lives and 0f 0thers is very imp0rtant. Tx 4 this reminder.

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    " Life is never easy for anyone, but your marriage should be that safe haven where all the worst trouble goes away. Your spouse should be the person you want to come to whenever you get too tired to keep up the facade for everyone else…" Adaeze

  10. Yeah, life is not to be taken for granted. We must live like it's our last. You had me laughing with the comment your friend's boyfriend made about camping. Hubby and I are blk american and have absolutely NO DESIRE to go camping. But I LOVE CRABBING, lol. Girl, do u! Enjoy your weekend!

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