Do you own yourself?
I was once young. I know what it is like to love while young, I want to advise you. I am aware that, in the end, you will do what you want. My advice is that you wait. You can love without making love. It is a beautiful way of showing your feelings but it brings responsibility, great responsibility, and there is no rush. I will advise you to wait until you are at least in the university, wait until you own yourself a little more. Do you understand?
Reading Americanah was so refreshing because it helped bring clarity to some thoughts I had about myself but did not know how to articulate. In the extract above, Obinze’s mum is advising Ifemelu about the responsibility of love. (For those that have not read the book, Ifemelu and Obinze are young lovers). The part that stood out to me the most was, “wait until you own yourself a little more”. I am now 25 and I look back on the passion and impatience I had throughout my teens. I literally could not wait for anything. I would spend hours agonising over issues and things I could not change. I dreamt up every possible scenario that could happen between myself and anybody I was crushing on. I spent hours imagining the life I would lead if I was in my (then – not now) dreamland America; talked through my life as a celebrity singing to people all around the globe. In short, the things I wanted became an obsession. However, because I was so young and had so little experience, a relatively sheltered life and was incredibly naïve, I could not understand why the universe did not fall on its knees to meet my demands.
So what am I getting at? That trap of wanting to do everything and anything when you are in the mental state ‘lost’, is not a great way to tumble through life. Yes we do have to experiment and I believe in calculated risks but I have also experienced and seen what can happen when you force something you are not ready for. Society tells us now, that ‘now’ is the only time that matters. That is not true. To wait, to stand strong, to assess where you have been and where you are going are also very effective and very necessary seasons.
“My advice is that you wait”. Knowing when to stop and when to go is one of the most important lessons we will ever learn in life. In love, business, family, self – all must be lived in balace; a mixture of movement and rest; action and reflection. Do not be a person that does not understand and accept the responsibility that your life holds.
“Do you understand”.