“Stay Safe”… that has become the common greeting these days, but permit me to add, do not just stay safe, Stay Sane!
The coronavirus seems to have overtaken all aspects of our lives. Singing, if even for a few seconds, gave me a small bit of control for the first time since the lockdown started. I was standing outside my apartments balcony ,screaming at the top of my voice ,Very confident that no one could hear me, there was heavy rain ,in fact it was pouring, still I was doing something, which felt good and even if it was also ridiculous, It sure beat the alternative of curling up in my bed. Plus, I was not obsessively refreshing sites looking for content on the job, I was not googling the latest gist about the pandemic , I was not mourning the loss of the future which recently, stories from the around the world suddenly made look gloomy .
Jolting me back to reality was the voice of my neighbor from the window in her living room…Hear her “Are you okay up there, na so e dey take start small,small o, (obviously she meant to ask if I was still sane singing out loud on my balcony in the rain ) I laughed like crazy, I did not think she or anyone could hear me through the pouring rain, I must have been really loud.
As it were, I’ve asked myself: What can I do with the extra time that isn’t seemingly insane or burning me out working countless hours? What can I do that will keep me away from all the disturbing news that is also good for me physically, emotionally and spiritually? What can I do that will prevent the soft decline into a sedentary life? Can I find something that meets all of that and will also keep me, and hopefully you, sane?
The answer I came up with is to train online and become a professional life coach!
For the sake of this series of diaries, I’m defining life coaching as any and everything that pertains to the issues and challenges of life. Believe me when I say it is safe to conclude that nothing in our lives so far had prepared you and I for the situation we are facing now and so many people are having are hard time dealing with it, a hard time keeping sane. I saw a video recently where a man was dancing to the sound of the engine of his motor bike while warming it
In the words of my neighbor .”Na so e dey take start o”. The average Nigerian may not be properly trained to handle situations such as these, maybe due to our orientation, we survive by making jokes out of serious situations, which in its self may be offensive to those who do not find the jokes funny, it trivializes their pain so many silly videos out there about the pandemic and I know it is not an intentional act of insensitivity, just a coping strategy of some sort. Keeping full grown adults at home is driving some insane, they cannot even reason that it is for their own good, for them it is punishment that another two weeks have been added
.My friends have convinced me that I am a great friend with a good listening ear who gives great advice in difficult situations, But this project scares me a little (by which I mean a lot). I strongly believe I can do this and I am very passionate about it too, however my passion won’t make me conquer the real challenges. The question is not whether I’ll become a great life coach or make a fool of myself, it’s to what extent will I create the much desired impact. Are we ready to change the way we perceive and handle people and events, to renew our minds. In a society where a healthy display of emotions in reaction to any kind of trauma is seen as a thing for lily liveried people. My first experience of post natal depression was nasty, a Nurse told me to stop being foolish, she said to me.. “Hey ,oyinbo please abeg make I hear word, if you know say you be “Aje butter” you for go born your pikin for there “…I rest my case.
Twice in the last week, friends told me they were “going crazy.” One of them It was his birthday so I called to wish him well. He told me he was so bored he was sitting in front of a mirror counting the white hairs on his beard when my call came through. I must have been so bored too for me to listen when he explained it to me, but it made me realize I was on to something good with my new idea
So what is the way out of “Insanity?”
Think of a great Idea to keep u challenged and engage you physically, spiritually, mentally ,emotionally like I did’ I don’t mean my quest is the most important. I mean the idea behind it—the challenge propels me to take steps I need to protect myself and others against succumbing to dread. What I hope to accomplish through this training Is what I care more about, which is equipping myself and eventually others with life skills focused on avoiding—anxiety, fear, depression, listless stupor—To create a world of intentional survivors . There will be no room for fear which in itself is sickness
My hope is to bring you along on this historical journey, to make you find your own way and also to encourage you, dare I say inspire you. I also hope you’ll come up with your own “Sanity project”. Maybe you’ll take piano lessons online and sing like me, or for the men, teach yourself to cook up a storm (I am trying hard not to laugh), or even learn a new language, try French or even Chinese
Whatever you do, I hope you’ll find it as a release for the tension of being cooped up, I hope you’ll find an antidote for anxiety, and I hope you’ll laugh at your own self and at your mistakes when nothing seems funny.
I also hope you’ll find a way to do it with somebody who can hold you accountable, walk (metaphorically) alongside you, someone who can challenge you.
Yes, we must keep physical distance from each other. But we must never allow that physical distance to force us into relational distance, else, we will be creating a virus that will live on long far after this pandemic
Now remember I shared my concerns earlier on about weather our society is ready for a reorientation. But who cares about that? I will try, and that’s the point.
Will you try too?