Hospital visits are very unnerving for me; I remember my experience as a 9year old girl in the hands of a chatty nurse who lost concentration while chatting with her colleague as she was about to give me a shot, somehow the tray got mixed up which led to my receiving the wrong injection that had me bleed out in seconds and almost losing the use of my right leg.
As I sat through the formalities of registering my dad at the optical section of the military hospital in the heart of Lagos, the thoughts in my head kept going wow, this many people have optical issues? How can this be? But this was a reality I was soon to understand, as many people often neglect their optical well-being until things start to go horribly wrong, at least this was the case with my dad. 30mins into our wait, this elegantly dressed 79-year-old walked in, well how did I know her age, never mind, I have my ways. Something about her screamed of class and sophistication, it seemed a ‘humble peacock’ walked into the room, she had done nothing to attract attention, well besides being dressed in the full Yoruba regalia with beads, her headgear on point as young people would call it. She was beautiful, oh such beauty and for her age too. She quickly found a spot to sit down, but the old gal cliques were already whispering and she kind of knew they were talking, she adjusted while she starred at her well-manicured nails. Oh My! She seemed to be everything I need to be at 79, well I need to start eating healthy, oh who am I kidding? I still love my pastries and nothing about that would change in a hurry.
After watching her every move for almost an hour, I realized this was a woman who knew she was the belle of the ball and was unapologetic about it. She knew the cliques of old gals were already raising their noses with silent whispers and that was absolutely okay, everyone needs critics from time to time and it doesn’t even matter whether they know you or not, let them talk. She was addressed exceptionally well by the doctors as a direct response to her demeanor, as she went from one consulting room to the other, she always took the time to adjust her Ipele (shoulder piece) like a crown as she carried on elegantly, if you have to be the belle of the ball, you might as well enjoy every minute of it and this was a woman who knew too well the biblical saying “cast not your pearls before swines”.
This was a woman who knew the life ahead gets shorter by the day and hell no was she going to not live her best. I understood her grace went beyond her physical appearance, it was about living, living and not just existing, a lesson many learn too late. Living a life of worry only steals today’s joy which ends up making you frustrated tomorrow and looking back at yesterday with regrets. As we left the hospital that day, thoughts of that brief encounter filled my mind, I couldn’t stop thinking about this 79-year-old lady and the brief encounter that changed how I now see things.
We are almost one month into 2017, it’s not too late to hit reset with all the things that worried you sick in 2016, it’s not too late to start to live unapologetically, it’s not too late to choose how you value yourself especially in a world that constantly undervalues us and aims to ensure that we sink in the ocean of faceless opinions and anonymity especially with the new age of social media.