2.a.m, August 24 2017. I thought the end had come. that I was going to die for sure.
Sitting on the floor in my apartment, head bowed, blood dripping from a head wound to the tiles as the armed robbers, who had busted through one of the windows in the apartment and had inflicted the wound and several other beatings, cuts, and bruises on me, turned the apartment upside down in search of any valuables they thought I had. I numbly wondered if it would not simply occur to one of them to finish me off. Even in the hours after they had vanished like ciphers into the night where they had appeared from. Stripped of all my valuables. For the first time in my life I felt what it was like to be dead inside. And my morbidly PTSD struck imagination(which tends to wander towards the morbid even at the best of times) could not help but wonder when it was that my body would follow my mind into the welcome release that death (I think) brings.
But I did not die, instead I began to live. Right there in the room where I lived in growing up, I began to live. With little to do other than lie in bed under the watch of my fussy mother, as my body worked hard to heal the head wound and the other injuries, my body also exploded with possibilities. As it turned out, the brush with death was what my mind needed to be able to focus. With increasing clarity, I wrote down ideas, and all of a sudden I had a purpose to live again. Thoughtivity(dot)com was already in existence as a bunch of ideas, but with that brush with death it became solid concept with an action plan and a projection for the future. With some willpower and some help from friends and family. The project was solidified. few months after I thought it was the end, suddenly it was a beginning again. I had been given two choices starting from the day after my birthday last year, and I decided to choose life.
Therefore as I add another year to my life again today, I am grateful to still be here, to still be alive to still be able pursue the plans that I have made. That is why I have choose to live. The last year has been eventful and full of activity. I have had moments to remember and I have moments to forget, I have had wins and I have had losses. I have had moments of crowing in victory and I have had moments of slinking off, tail between my legs in ignominious defeat. This last year, more than any other year of my life, I have had to question my attitudes abilities and values. It has been a year of squaring up against demons, it has been a year of trying to apply lessons that I thought I had learnt and failing woefully. It has been a year of feeling like I am swimming upstairs-with one had tied to my back. A year of wondering if I am not going to fail at life so much that the people who believe that I was meant to be star would feel let down and give up in frustration. A year of wondering if I am even worth the physical and investment that family and friends are putting on me.
Through it all I have survived, through that subconscious decision that week in August to choose life. I have found that choosing to live means that you choose to fight the storms when they come, rather than curl in a fetal ball and die inside. I have learnt that through the maelstrom of tripping over your feet and falling flat on your face, you have to stand up and continue running. That when life deals you a vicious uppercut and you are flat on the canvas and you are staring through your swollen eye and bruised jaw at your loved ones who are disappointed at the huge L that you just took. You have to stand and continue to fight. Because when you choose life that is what you do, you fight.
And by choosing life, you discover that even when everybody else is either laughing at you or pretending not to see you struggling, there will always be the fans in your corner, encouraging you, bringing ice packs for your swollen eye, giving you useful tips that you thought you didn’t need on how to win at life. By choosing to live, I have come to realize that even with the losses I am sustaining, there are people who need what I can offer and whom I cannot be useful to if I choose to not live. I have come to realize that there are people who value me not because of the material things I have to offer them, but simply because I exist. That is why I choose life, so that I can show those fans that I am worth the investment and the trust.
In the piece I wrote for my birthday last year, I talked about a young man who is not interested in changing the world because he no longer has the energy to can, and for bullshit. After the brush with death this time last year. I have come to realize that I need to live life more and be involved in changing the world more. If I survived that brush with death last year, that means I must have some incredible asses to kick, and I can’t kick any ass if I am curled in a fetal ball, unable to can.
As I celebrate the final year of my second decade on earth and the big 3.0 that I have dreaded since I was twenty is now a year away, I know that I might still fall on my face a few times, I will run from life tail between my legs a few times, I will still take one or two Ls, but who cares? I survived threats from armed men, beatings and a head wound, so how can it be any worse?
And so today as I add another year, I declare that I Adebayo Ayodeji Adegbite, Writer, Editor, Creative Lead at Thoughtivity(dot)com, choose life.