This week I am thankful for my own health. It’s one of those things I take for granted until I’m at the doctor’s office, ill from a mild illness or having an annual checkup. I am thankful that I continue to be in good health despite some unhealthy choices I make, and I have committed to a healthier lifestyle. Not having a car and having to walk to some places I’d normally drive to helps, and so does cutting down on the ijekuje (hi aloted!).
I’m also thankful for my parents and their great example when it comes to money. I don’t like talking about money but I want to point out YNC’s week-long series on money: investing it, saving for the future, stuff like that. Even though some may know a lot of what she’s sharing already, it’s a good review. I posted a long comment on her first entry about how my father
begged encouraged me to invest money when I was around 18 years of age. Even before that, when I was 11 years old, my mother took my sister and I to the bank and we opened bank accounts, even though we were not really earning money at that time. The idea of how interest works and how important it is to save for future big purchases such as a camera or a portable cassette player (this was the early 90s sha) was explained to us.
With the investing, I started small on a monthly basis, and the original plan was that I would increase the amount within a year’s time, once I started working more hours at my part time jobs or once I started making more money. I reached these milestones but I didn’t increase the amount I invested for seven or eight years because I liked having more money to spend (and I enjoyed spending it). When I increased it, I didn’t even increase it by a lot because I wasn’t sure I could get used to not having that extra money. More years passed then I started thinking of buying a house so I had to increase my investments again to be able to put down a good downpayment on a house. If it wasn’t for my dad’s early suggestion that I start investing, and the example my parents gave with the way they handle their own finances, there is no way that I would have been able to have the discipline to save, to be frugal and cut down on the junk I was purchasing without thinking. Now I have reaped the rewards of this discipline.
As I get older, I find I worry more. It’s partly because as the eldest child, I feel more responsible for my entire family as I get older, but also, as I get older, I just feel less in control and believe less that everything will just work out. Maybe it’s cynicism, maybe it’s the examples I’ve seen in my life that show that things don’t always happen the way you hope, wish or pray they will happen. I worry about my parents, in particular their health, I worry about my siblings and their futures (school, career, spouse) and I worry about how everything can change in a flash: you can wake up and think it’s going to be a regular Thursday and one phone call can change it all. It’s scary! We have no control over what each day holds, only God does. I can’t add a second to my life by worrying as the bible says, in fact worrying so much over a long time period will surely shorten my life due to stress. So I’m trying to do something useful instead of worrying: if I’m worried about a family member, I’ll call them or send them a text message to see how they are doing, or just say a quick prayer for them. I am learning to turn to prayer when I am confronted with something I can’t handle. I can only do something about the factors that are in my control; the rest I must leave in God’s hands.
I used to think that if I could just know, life would be easier: if I could know that my parents will live long, healthy lives; if I could know that I will meet my good (Naija?) guy before the end of my life; if I knew that my siblings and I will live long, happy and contented lives, I would be able to live life to fullest. However, that’s not the way life goes. Instead we have to live life to the fullest anyway, by faith, not knowing what the next minute will bring. We have to live hour by hour, day by day, and give thanks and recognize that we are privileged to wake up again, ready to face a new minute, hour, day.