Most people would prefer that their lives are free from struggle and hardships. Yet, these two factors play a very important role in shaping individuals. Why is it so important that we pass through struggles?
Struggles make the most inspiring stories and creates the most beautiful individuals
I didn’t grow up in an environment where I had everything I asked for. Things I got were always more of what I needed versus what I wanted. Early in life, way before economics had the opportunity of teaching me the difference, I got the hang of it. I understood opportunity cost and scale of preference. Demand and supply came naturally as I had to bargain my way through life. Call me biased but today I wouldn’t have it any other way. Frankly, I’ll raise my kids to be comfortable but wise enough to know that what they have is a right and not a privilege.
The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of those depths.
Whenever I tell a story of my life, especially about the little things, people stare at me in awe. How are you such a chill person? I’ve had a few ‘that was child abuse’ comments thrown my way but I really don’t mind. I had to walk 10 minutes to stand in a queue to fetch water in a 20 litre bucket (5.28 gallons for you Americans), placed on my head and walk back home. This journey was to fill two drums with water, a combined capacity of at least 200 litres. On some days, it would rain and while I’d be glad that the drums would be full, I’d still make the journey for drinking water.
Don’t get me wrong, I went to school. A good private school for a middle class child. I was top of my class. That didn’t mean I didn’t do the dishes when I got home at 5pm each day or that I didn’t stay up till at least 12 am each day because I was the first-born of four kids. I took care of my siblings and never knew what a party looked like. Truthfully, the few times I did go, I was bored to death. I always took a book with me or cracked someone up with my weird jokes that always came up on the spot.
All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today.
Pope Paul VI
As I grew up, I worked even more. My parents would have wanted me to work less but given the size of my household, the option was not available. I bought my own data for internet surfing and had to stay up to date with trends out of my own pocket. To put this in perspective, I finished high school in 2010 so I’m not some 80’s kid. The scholarship I acquired that eventually got me out of my country, I searched for it on my own. I applied and then asked for transportation fare from my parents when the time for the interview came. Today, I have a blog that I hope they don’t find out about till another 2 years.
This is just the nicest and easiest part of my story. I say it with joy because the woman I am today is because of everything I’ve been through. I know that the average struggling African child would switch lives with me in a heartbeat because they see worse. At least I was never raped, molested or forced into child marriage.
Why were my struggles so important? They were because today when I see someone struggling with anything, I can feel their pain to an extent. With the little I have, I’ve learnt to work hard to get more, and not expect anything to be given to me. I had my first ‘camera’ phone in 2013. It was a Nokia C3. The camera wasn’t even working I got it from a friend when my torchlight phone crashed. Google Nokia 1661. I use a Samsung S5 and I see people dying over the latest Galaxy S8 and the new iPhone, it doesn’t bother me.
I’ve learnt to be:
- Easily adaptable
I still have my #firstworldproblems days but when I look back, I see how far I’ve come. I stop to appreciate the little things people take for granted. I remember the first time I had a bedroom and a bed. That was the 28th of January, 2015. I slept on a floor most part of my life till I got into college. I could ‘shower’ and I had constant electricity ( ask people in Nigeria what this mean). I do not believe you cannot possess any of these qualities without struggling for it, but with the experience, comes a greater sense of empathy.
The struggle is there so you can appreciate the plenty.
I’m writing this so that the next person out there who feels like they are going through the worst situation. As painful as it is, it’s a story to be told. It’s a lesson to be learned. You may not see it now, but eventually you will.
Your struggle is there so someone can be inspired.
My earnest prayer is that when I become successful, I never forget where I came from. I will remember all the people who helped write the story that is my life. It may be a little cliché, but it is definitely true.