Auto Pilot: how to crash a life.

I once saw a funny picture captioned- ‘dear lord, can you please borrow me 5 million Naira from my wealth in the future ‘cos i kinda have some things to sort out right now’. If i didn’t know better, that would have been my kinda prayer today.

Have you ever wished just like me that you have a remote control in your hands that could just fast forward your life 5 years into the future, into that time when you have that beautiful wife, and drive that expensive car, and live in that elegant mansion, and into when you are signatory to that robust bank account and have that good life of your dreams. Sometimes i wish i could just cut through the bullshit of the present time and live the reality of my dreams and i bet we all do.

A thought line of this nature i believe led to the production of the 2006 hit movie ‘click’. The producers of the movie clearly played out the fantasy of a lot of us and like they showed in the movie, this kind of idea is quite lofty as it is also costly.click-50eae812b84e8

Here is what i mean.

In the movie, Michael Newman played by Adam Sandler was fortunate to meet an eccentric inventor who gave him a universal remote that allows him to control time. With that remote, Michael could pause, Play in slow motion or fast forward time. It looked like the perfect solution to his life problems as he could easily skip the boring moments of his existence and move into the exciting periods of his future.

There was one problem as he soon found. Skipping time meant he had to operate on auto pilot and that was costly. Let me tell you a bit about auto pilot and airplanes.  I might have not flown in a plane before, but I know quite a few things about airplanes. One of such is auto-piloting. I can credit this knowledge to movies like snake on a plane, passenger 57, soul plane, Airforce one, etc.

The Auto-pilot is a device for controlling an aircraft or other vehicle without constant human intervention. From what I’ve noticed in movies, it is basically used most often to relieve the pilot during routine cruising. It  maintains an aircraft in straight and level flight.  Since we are not engineers or aspiring pilots, we basically don’t need to know more than that. So how does this apply to life and Michael’s story?

Airplane-1300x724Lets take our lives to be airplanes that we are pilots of. Auto-piloting refers to when you are in a hands-off mode with regards the direction of your life. You are just auto-cruising and taking life as it comes. You are not putting much thought or efforts to the way you do things or respond to situations. You are not being innovative about your challenges and aspirations and you are just relying on your reserve abilities and tendencies to get through life. You are not proactive about the happenings in your life, you have become a master of the sentence ‘any how God wills it’. You are not creating the future you desire and could have but rather you are settling for a future that would be if all things remain equal. Sadly, all things are never equal. Your response to everything that happens in your life is “God wanted it that way”. When you are retired to fate in this manner, then you are on autopilot!

Auto pilot is quite fun and easy. No efforts required. Just a button and then you can go to sleep. With it you get to enjoy the luxury of selective participation.

But it is hella dangerous.

No good pilot dares switch to autopilot in the face of a storm. That’s a guaranteed suicide mission. You need all hands on deck when the slightest of storms show face. And here is the thing, life’s cruise is never without storms and challenges.

Everyday has its own challenge, every success its own joy, and every failure and pain with its lesson and wisdom. And to get the best of every passing moment of your life, you have to live through them. There is just no room for autopiloting in real life unless you want to crash.

You have to be observant, learning everything you can from every challenge faced whether you succeeded at it or failed. You have to be proactive to decide what course your life flies towards. There would be avoidable storms but only when you are on manual pilot can you avoid them or maneuver your way out of them.

The truth is that if there really is a remote that could fast forward time and you use it; you wont find yourself where you’d love to be. The future you’d find yourself wont be the one you dreamed of before using that remote. I have found that the best way to live your dreams is to create it and that can only be done through active participation in the process of you life.

I once told my younger brother something wise and i believe is quite applicable here…that the only change that occurs with time is decay. For growth and beauty, right effort must be combined with time.

In conclusion, be proactive about your life. Put thought and effort into your decisions and actions, understand the usefulness of every moment of your life and of every circumstance you find yourself in and with courage and determination, stride your way out of every storm life throws at you and come out on top like an eagle that you are.

Amour,

Afolabi Soaga

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The Uncle stereotypes.

Hey! Did I share the good news that my only sister (elder) just gave birth to a bouncing baby boy recently. If I didn’t do that before, I am doing it now. So writing this piece today is a proud uncle of a wonderful child of promise.

The first visit I made to my sister at the hospital after she put the bed was quite an epic one. It was my first hospital visit in a long while. I hate hospitals despite the fact that I kinda work in one. They do a good job though, but the smell of it irritates me. And to think that as a fresh secondary school grad I had intentions of studying medicine. Thaaar! Anyway, this isn’t about me and my hate of hospitals so let’s move on to other things.

As I stared into his glittering eyes that faithful day, it dawned on me afresh what a baby represents which is Responsibility. Having a child is a great task and so is being an uncle (he’ll soon start asking for candies and biscuits you know). It is infact one of the greatest responsibilities that exist because you are responsible for a whole and complete new life apart from yours. That’s much! And to whom much is given, much more is expected (parable of the talents).

So all these got me thinking about all the various types of uncles that exist and the type I’d want to be to my brand new nephew. Some uncles are good for nothing, some good for somethings, and others are adorable and fabulously good for ‘everythings’.

Let’s look at them one after the other.

Stereotype1: The uncle that stays with us. This kinda describes me right now because I currently stay with my sister and her husband for reasons I won’t disclose. Not for long though, my escape plan is in order *winks*. This kind of uncle falls into the category of good for somethings. They’ll help with house chores, if smart help with school work, and sometimes pass their undersized shoes and clothes to you. They can also become your confidant, cover up, and first line defence against parental discipline and attacks. But I can’t be this uncle! They really don’t have a life of their own as they truly can’t stay on their own. Simply put- they are over aged dependants!!

Stereotype II: The uncle that lives away but is always coming back. This one is like a step ahead of stereotype I because he has an apartment of his own. But he is always coming back because he needs one favour or the other from your parents. The good thing is that he buys you biscuits whenever he visits. Apart from that, everything else is same as stereotype I.

Stereotype III: The uncle that still is still a bachelor at 40. This reminds you of that your player uncle right? LOL. These are the lover boy uncles. He is not married, neither is he single. He just doesn’t want to make commitments and as soon as his present girl starts pressurizing him to pop the question he runs! He is likely to have a nice apartment, good car, good job but still thinks he is a kid and lacks the idea that he is getting old and time is going. This kind wont give you cousins or at best he’ll make you a ‘uncle-cousin’ i.e. cousin to people you can father. By the way, he is a bad example for you despite the huge influence he is likely to have on you during your teenage years because of his flashy lifestyle. The countless tales and pictures of the uncountable beautiful women he has dated is no good for the mind of a growing boy.

Stereotype IV: The uncle who is a wife in his house. For some reason there is a husband in his home but its not him. This type doesn’t even encourage any family member to visit him except those that like house chores and doing laundry. They get to assist him with his house work. The real issue isn’t that he isn’t winning the bread for his family (some stay home dads do), but that he lacks a sense of purpose for his life. He is a bundle of wasted potentials.

Stereotype V: The uncle who is rich and famous, but who you have never met. I hate this type. They are only good for when you want to feel important amongst your friends and so you start bragging about how related you are to someone important. He is consumed by work and has forgotten that family comes first. He has no time for even his wife and kids so…hello, who are you? Nobody should have success that comes at the expense of the people you love because in the end you’d only find loneliness and dissatisfaction there. By the way, most of them end up being suicidal and unfulfilled.

Stereotype VI: The uncle your dad hates receiving calls from because he’s always asking favours. Oh, he is also like stereotype II but this one doesn’t really visit. He is probably in a distant city just like stereotype V but this one is poor and not famous. Worst thing is that he is proud and egocentric and also feels your family owes him the favours he is always asking for. He’ll also accuse you of being proud when you don’t call him or send those ‘happy-new-month’ texts his fellow strugglers send monthly. (that was a joke. lol)

Stereotype VII: The uncle who is a model of all round success. My last but in no way the least stereotype falls into the category of the good for everything. Good family life, thriving business and/or career, great personality, awesome spirituality. Infact, your parents would regularly recommend that you go spend time with him and his family of which you yourself wont try hesitating because you know it would be fun and worthwhile. You find it easy to call him Dad because he is in many ways like a father too. He is a type of uncle you can call when you need money, need advice, need a proper scolding or when you just need to feel important amongst your friends. Now that’s me briefly described 😀

This is the kind I’d love to be to my nephew. But I cant just wish it, I have to become it. All we potential uncles will fall into one of these categories. As much as we would prefer one to the other, it is our actions and decisions today that will eventually choose for us which category we fall under.

The best way to predict the future is to create it. My nephew represents to me responsibility. I owe it to him, to myself and the whole to be the best me possible. I need to take responsibility for that today if I will become it tomorrow. In the meantime, I’m presently stereotype VIII- the uncle that drives him around and takes his pictures. Ciao

Soaga AfolabiIMG_20150608_085136