This past March was the 2-year anniversary of my life in Lagos, Nigeria. It made me reflect on the past two years and how I feel about them. The ultimate question was, did I make the right decision?
Why I Moved
I guess I should explain why I moved in the first place. The short of it was that I was depressed in Canada. It was a mixture of seasonal depression and the constant feeling of hopelessness whenever I was there. Each time I would travel somewhere for some weeks, I would feel like myself again. But a month after returning, that feeling will come up again. There’s just something about the place that my spirit can’t vibe with. I really can’t explain it. At first, I wanted to move to Japan and start a new life there, but the more I thought about it, the less sense it made. If I had moved to Japan, I would have probably had to spend the first year or two teaching English before I had the freedom and language ability to get my life to where I wanted it to be. That’s 2 years of what I saw as bondage. Age isn’t exactly on my side so I had to be very critical on where and what I wanted to spend the next 2 years of my life. The second place that came to mind was home, Nigeria. I’ve known for a long time that I would love to live in Nigeria and have a full life year. I just wasn’t expecting to make that decision soon. One of the main factors that made me decide on moving was NYSC. I hadn’t done it yet and I didn’t want to wait till I had real commitments. The time was right for the move. During that NYSC year, with all the stress it brought, I noticed that I never felt that feeling of despair I felt before. I was stressed, but I was also free.
Is life in Lagos Worth It?
It depends. If you are someone that has spent all your life in Lagos or Nigeria in general, I think it’s always a good option to experience life somewhere else. That’ll allow you to have multiple perspectives on life. Now, as someone that has had the opportunity of being outside Nigeria for more than a decade, coming home was worth it. As chaotic as life here is, you get a new sense of gratitude for life every day. And the truth is that, everywhere in the world is chaotic, everywhere has its problems. Some more than others, but they are all there. It’s up to you to choose which problems you can leave with. Nigeria is one of those countries where there are no hidden secrets. What you see is how it is. There’s no oblivion about the state of things. We have corrupt officials, nothing works, tribalism is rampant, and people can be shitheads. Everyone knows that and we live our lives with the truth in plain sight. It actually takes a whole load off your shoulders when you know that your expectations will be met. Any sane Nigerian will have their expectations set to -10 on any given day. If something happens to positively offset that number, we can collectively come together to figure out what it might be. Is someone running for a government position? Does someone need something from the community? Someone is new in town? Nothing good happens here without a reason.
All this might sound frightening or even pessimistic to some, but it’s really not. You get to see human beings for who they really are. There is a great inner peace that comes from that realization. For one, you know you are not crazy when you feel like someone is out to get you because chances are that they are. Yet, in all, there is still this sense of hope that it is possible for things to get better. It would take a miracle, but the fact that there’s still a country called Nigeria is a miracle in itself. There is an abundance of miracles in this country. It’s honestly an astonishing thing to behold. I think witnessing the chaos and miracles together makes this a place worth living in.