From the desk of ND Egwim: On a visit to some of my relatives home, I observed a funny scenario. My Aunt asked my little cousin, “Baby, check the wall clock and tell me what time it is”. The chubby little man replied instantly without bothering to check “Mum, it’s time for lunch!” We all burst into uncontrollable fits of laughter but it was clear the boy had made his point. He didn’t know if it was 12noon, 2pm, or 6am. All he knew was that lunch be served. Nothing else mattered.
This event reminded me of my early French lessons in secondary school. My Benin republic born French teacher would always ask us “QUELLE HEURE EST-IL?” (What time is it?). Just like my little cousin, my colleagues and I had different versions of answers. While some answers brought smiles to Mon Francais Professeur’s face, the other answers like “It’s time for break” only infuriated him. Today, I put this same question to you, but I urge you not to answer too quickly in the manner of my cute petite cousin. Wait till you finish reading this article before you give your answer. For we all are in varying times & seasons in our individual lives & experiences, so our answers may differ a bit.
THE TIMES OF LIFE:
In my secondary school days, though I majored in the sciences, I loved Literature-in-English and the subject loved me in return for I won consistent awards as the best English & literature student with A1s to boot in both subjects. It was at this stage of my life that I studied, LION & JEWEL, a masterpiece by Nigerian born Nobel Laureate Prof Wole Soyinka. I observed that though the story seemed to have lasted a lifetime, but by a dint of literary genius, the white haired wizard of words had divided the novel into 3 periods viz Morning, Noon and Night.
For the purposes of this article, I wish to divide a person’s life into those 3 stages:
EXTRA TIME: >75yrs.
MORNING: 1-25yrs: The Mornings are usually bright with few exceptions. The sun shines on our hopes and our aspirations glow. At this level we dream of a bright future and give no place to cynics and pessimistic entities who will otherwise rob us of our enthusiasm, fire and passion. The Mornings are also times of self-discovery, preparation, times of intense learning and equipping for the future. It’s during this period that we go to all sorts of schools, Universities, Institutions. Some also get to learn trades as apprentices. PAY the price in the morning so that you can PLAY later. It’s always better for a man to bear his burden in the days of his youth for fellows who play away their mornings suddenly find themselves racing against time laden with grief and regrets. This might be your case but don’t give up entirely. Keep Hope Alive!
AFTERNOON: 26-50yrs. The Afternoons are periods of work, work and more work. Anytime you come across a young person sleeping in the afternoon, the first thought that races across your mind is “Is that fellow alright?”
The Afternoon presents you opportunity to put your energy, skills and training gathered in the morning to work. The Sun may beat down hard on you and intense pressures of family, work and tight schedules may press you but hey! you are still young, full of life, zeal, zest, vibrant, enthusiastic and invincible.
However, a wise man in his afternoon will realize that it won’t always be that way. He will make plans & investments for the times of his life when he can no longer work as hard as he did in the afternoon. The Afternoon also is usually more financially rewarding than the mornings. Most of the income is active though, directly related to work but a wise man works to convert some of it to passive income via investments so that his resources can work for him, when he no longer has the energy to work.
The consequences of not working in the afternoon can be dire. Usually one that does little or no work may soon find himself laboring late into the evening/night when he ought to be resting.
One of the most uncomfortable sites I have seen is when elderly men do laborious work like truck pushing, Motor Park tout or even Security men & drivers for younger folks, as young as their grandchildren. It’s not usually a pretty sight as at that point they lack the energy & drive for that. Their zeal is gone & their zest exhausted.
I used to know an elderly night watchman who usually slept on duty only to wake in the mornings to rush to another work. Needless to say, he slept through most of the day time work too. It was quite saddening for me and even sadder when his restless life was ended by a careless accident. As Master Jesus said when He was on earth, “I must work while it’s day, for night cometh when no man can work”.
Having read the earlier portions of this article, you surely have an idea of what the evening looks like.
By evening, the sun is setting. The glow is rapidly dimming and the energy is really going down. It’s time to rest a bit. The Evening times are usually for times when you advise, counsel, mentor and younger folk consult with you as an elder. In such periods, you reap the fruits of your labor in your family, work, finances, society and otherwise. The Institutions and companies you have helped established speak for you.
The Evening times are hardly for intense work but many who wasted their mornings and afternoons have to consistently work hard in the evening to sustain themselves. The disadvantage in this is that they find it hard to remain competitive in a society filled with smarter, more innovative, more energetic young people. For instance, in today’s corporate world, the young are more technologically oriented. The new dotcom media and web 2.0 are exploited more by younger folks. Older typists and secretaries in offices are being replaced by younger computer-savvy ones as the rules of the game keeps changing to a more Information and technology oriented pace.
QUELLE HEURE EST-IL?
Once again, I ask my friend, what time is it? What time is it in your own life? Morning, Afternoon, Evening. Whichever stage you are, Keep Hope Alive! If you have wasted some portions of life, it’s not too late to make amends. If you are still in your Mornings, don’t loaf about. No slacking. Don’t be slothful. MAXIMIZE THE MOMENT and KEEP HOPE ALIVE!
Dr Egwim Ndubuisi is founder of Brand New Dimension Resources, a platform via which he inspires African youth.
A passionate believer in a greater future for Africa & the MDGs, he is a much sought after speaker in Youth conferences on Leadership & Entrepreneurship. To read more of his work, visit www.NewDimensionLife.com