When you are young, especially when you begin to attain the age of responsibility, dreams, vision and aspiration, there is this urge to want to preserve your life. You become very concerned about staying young and living for so long.
You don’t want to die, you can’t think of death and that season when you’ll become old, weak, and weary. It’s not a thought you find appealing or pleasurable hence, you’d rather want to assume and act like you’ll remain young forever.
You’re fascinated by information and products that will make you appear younger or live longer. You spend so much time reading about healthy living; diet, exercise and other habits that will keep you young and agile and fit.
You can’t stand remarks from people that indicate you’re aging, the wrinkles, the greying hair and skin blemishes that remind you you’re aging; you do not appreciate. You just want to remain young forever, beautiful forever, athletic forever and agile forever. Dear friend, I have news for you, it’s impossible.
You can’t be young forever. No matter how much you spend on makeup and even surgeries to keep looking young, your organs, bones and blood will manifest your true age.
A mentality that wants to remain young forever is not helpful and instructing. Now, I’m not suggesting you look haggard and unattractive and unkempt because you’re aging, I’m saying in living your life, be realistic about the truth that you are aging daily and you won’t remain the same way forever.
Death is inevitable and will eventually come to every one of us. Being religious, spiritual and careful can’t make you miss that appointment with your passing on to glory when its time. Having this in mind, I suppose it will help us in prioritising what’s important and how we should dispense of our time and opportunities while were still alive and young.
Many of us today live for now, plan for now and make very ridiculous decisions based on how we feel today. We are seldom rational, we just want to follow our feelings, compete with others and prove a point without maturity and common sense.
We spend so much money on things that can’t and won’t endure; we labour hard to impress or oppress others, we spend to curry favours, enjoy acceptance and vain praise. We really don’t prioritise things of worth, we chase vain glory and empty praise of men.
We labour hard for money to paint the town red, buy things we want not what we really need, prove otherwise to those who think and say we can’t succeed in life and make the poor and needy serve us and look up to us.
This year I’ve interacted with some people much older than I, and every one of them held the same view about how much of our lives we waste chasing and pursuing things that don’t endure.
Three of them in their late sixties said the same thing about their very big houses they built when they made money as young people. Seven bedroom, five bedroom and a BQ, spiral stairs in the house, making their duplexes very beautiful and fanciful in structure.
When they were in their forties they built these houses thinking they would be forty forever. So they built it big and complex; each child having their own bedroom en-suite; wide spaces, two or three sitting rooms and a wide compound with lawns and gardens and huge power generating sets.
Less than ten years after building and showing off the big house to the world; less than ten years after enjoying the praise and admiration of men; less than 10 years after spending so much money on the building, reality began to dawn on them.
Their children began to leave home for the university and of course, their bedrooms became empty; occupied only for a few weeks when the children came on holidays. Eventually all the kids moved out after graduation for service year and subsequently to work in different cities and they rented their own apartments. Their big bedrooms became permanently vacant.
After retirement it became difficult to sustain the regular maintenance of the big house; diesel became too expensive and the power generators were shut down giving room to a smaller petrol generator. The gardener’s salary became unaffordable hence, he came in occasionally to take care of the lawn and gardens when it became bushy. The whole house had become empty; all the rooms vacant, except the masters bedroom. Dust covering every part of the house; all the air-conditioners permanently off; the bones can’t stand the cold anymore, fan now preferred. Frequent painting became difficult; the cost was one and the ‘wahala’ of painting and rearranging such a big house was another, who would move all the load in the house; the kids are all gone?
From the empty bedrooms and other unoccupied parts of the massive house; dust, spiders, cob webs, cockroaches and wall geckos filled everywhere producing a foul stench filling the whole house; smell of dirt and emptiness.
Doors begin to creek, plumbing and electrical fittings begin to malfunction due to abandonment.
The old couple can now afford just one or two house-helps. The whole house becomes quiet, empty and lonely. The old couple most times would move their bedroom downstairs and occupy the visitor’s bedroom because their knees are too weak to mount the stairs every time they need to go to the master’s bedroom upstairs.
Loneliness, emptiness, waste and…vanity. Many at that age begin to long for a comfortable two or three bedroom apartment; easier to manage and convenient to inhabit at age 60 and 70.
At that age they would have realised they wouldn’t remain 30 or forty forever. They should have built for the future and not waste so much money responding to the present. Wastage; they didn’t think the future.
Dear friends, denying the realities of the future does not rule out the future. Your future will come on you one day weather you like it or not, plan for it or not, prepare for it or not.
Planning for the future is not just about retirement funds; it’s about the reality of the physical weakness, loneliness and idleness that may come with it.
How smart are you about your future? You think it will never come? Or you think you’ll be forever young?
All the expensive cars you’re collecting to impress and oppress in a few years will become outdated, old and rickety. All your fashion collections gulping millions of your income today will fade and become worn in a few years. What exactly do you prioritise as a young person?
I’m not suggesting you become pessimistic and careless with your youthful days, no not at all. Please enjoy it to the fullest, but wisdom is profitable to direct. Stop living for now, create your future.
The greatest investment you can make against your tomorrow is in people and humanity. What global challenge are you passionate about? What cause would you want to commit to today such that by the time you’re much older, you will still be active; probably travelling all over the world as an advocate of this cause and message?
What personal mental and intellectual investment are you making to ensure your brain can still make you money when your physical energy becomes low and your body becomes too weak to make money for you? Do you read, do you study, are you well informed, knowledgeable, with useful, relevant message for the world, not just movies, celebrity gossip and sports updates?
Think well today and plan for your future. I know some Nigerians today in their seventies and even eighties still powerful, relevant and active; influencing and shaping our lives and I know many even younger already in the village, broke, sick and dying. Lack of purpose, activity and reason to stay alive could make one sickly, lonely and depressed most times.
Dear friend, do you really need the very big house, do you need all these cars, do you need all the clothes? Are you investing in your brain; in education, in knowledge, in humanity? What will you be known for after retirement? How will you be described? By what you were or what you will then be doing?
When all your children are grown and gone, parents, uncles and aunts all dead, some siblings; dead and some far away. Employment gone and probably your spouse gone to glory, what will you be doing? You can’t reject this one in Jesus name, it will happen if you desire to live long enough. It’s the reality of life. Don’t deny it, plan for it. This may sound very hard this morning but it’s the truth and I care enough to tell you so you can plan well and not waste your opportunities now that you still have the time and energy. Think about it, plan well for your future.
Thank you and please enjoy your day.
Written By: MuyiwaAfolabi