Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Recession, Changing Plans and Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist

I come from a family of big dreamers and over-achievers. My father worked for years on Happy Land, Happy World, a Nigerian theme park that was supposed to be like The African Disney World. My mom left behind the stability of a really great job and moved to a third-world country to create a life for herself. I have one sister who’s in medical school and another one who’s a filmmaker. Reaching for the stars is in my blood people. So it’s no real surprise that the career path I chose to follow is a difficult one. We Ajayis don’t know how to do things the easy way.

When I first decided it was time to go back to Nigeria for a while, I was devastated. I love Nigeria and I can’t wait to spend time with my family and friends there but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel like a failure having to move home at the age of 25, a college graduate who just couldn’t find a job. It’s a hard pill to swallow and incredibly difficult not to feel like I failed to measure up. We all have plans for our lives; how does one come to terms with the fact that things aren’t going to unravel as planned?

Then I remember Santiago. In this dream-crushing recession, Santiago is like a beacon of light, a familiar friend constantly reminding me that a detour and the end of the road are two different things. I remember that he had a goal too and he left everything he knew behind in pursuit of that goal. He trusted God (fate/whatever), gave up his possessions and… was robbed for his trouble. It took a year before things picked up for him again.

So yeah, I thought I’d be a kick-ass editor by now (on my way to being a respected and successful writer) and my pride is bruised because instead, I’m unemployed and moving back in with my parents. But I have faith in God and the talent he gave me and I believe that this is just a detour.

Thanks Paulo Coelho : )

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