Every time I am asked about my life choices and decisions, and why they don’t seem to align with what is seemingly wise or acceptable; I always lack the words to express my reasons and my vocabulary suddenly seems limited.
And so I had taken to blaming genetics and my nomadic ancestry by an extended way of explanation. Because I mean it has to take a specialized skill of insanity to get up with nothing but a keg of water, some bread and nuts to walk the earth, albeit with fore-knowledge of what you expect the land to provide for you; but I mean with no control or mastery over earth and sky, you are basically throwing yourself into a great unknown.
Therefore, I felt that must be explanation enough. But you see, when you belong to a family of uncles, aunties, brothers, sisters, cousins, and nephews who seem to have it together; the raised eyebrows translate to, “na only you get the genes?” Yeah… just to say my explanation only works in limited circles.
This explanation by the way is an improvement on my fall back phrase, “I am from Jos”, which I use to explain naivete and weirdness away. But you see, when you are now talking with a fellow Jos person, born and raised in the same sandbox… Let’s just say it does not fly.
Needless to say, I have been in search of a worldwide explanation because I know people generally don’t ask this question to shame you or be mean but to have an understanding or should I say a clarification of whether you are practising courage. I truly believe this because if there is any commonality among us human beings, it is our wish to have mastery over fear.
The good news, for me at least is that I have finally found someone who has the vocabulary and the articulation to express what I have been trying to explain all this while. And it is Trevoh Noah.
In his autobiographical book, Born A Crime, which I just finished reading and recommend to all of you; He writes this:
‘I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done in life, any choice that I’ve made.
But I’m consumed with regret for the things I didn’t do, the choices I didn’t make, the things I didn’t say.
We spend so much time being afraid of failure, afraid of rejection. But regret is the thing we should fear most.
Failure is an answer. Rejection is an answer. Regret is an eternal question you will never have the answer to.
“What if…” “If only….” “I wonder what would have…” You will never, never know, and it will haunt you for the rest of your days.’
Essentially for me it will be; Non, je ne regrette rien… or at least not so much.
You? Why do you do “stupid” things?