No one Grows Old by Surprise

It is quite common in this country for a husband to seek for financial assistance when his wife gives birth to a new baby.

That reminds me of what my mentor used to say whenever he received such a request from people. He would ask, “How come you didn’t plan well for this? Weren’t you given nine months’ notice?”

It’s true.

As a woman is expecting, so must her husband too be expecting.

He must be expecting to spend at the point of delivery. He has to plan for the childbirth.

Right here before me is the Punch Newspaper of Sunday, May 5, 2013. At the back page is Uncle Tunde Fagbenle’s usual – Saying it The Way It Is. He titles this edition, “The wisdom in kindness.”

This article is about Chief Segun Odegbami’s new book, “Me, Football, and More.” Uncle Tunde gives an account of Governor Fashola’s Foreward to the book in which he (the governor) tells readers about the kindness that Odegbami showed to him in 1976 when he (Fashola) was just a poor boy of 13!

Accompany me to page 76 of the newspaper. Here is an extensive interview with “Mathematical” Segun Odegbami himself. The interview covers the whole of pages 76 and 77 of the newspaper.

Odegbami is 60!

In this newspaper interview, he speaks about his life, his soccer days, and his new book.

Also on these two pages of the newspaper are his photographs. One is of his playing days (in jersey), another one is that of the Green Eagles line up in 1980, and the third one is that of the day of the interview.

It is quite easy to spot the differences in the pictures. And Odegbami actually confirms in the interview that “…I can’t kick the ball anymore.”

As I reflect over all this, I remember a quote I read somewhere last week. It says, “No one grows old by surprise.”

Like that of a pregnancy, old age actually gives notice.

You don’t just wake up one day to discover that you are 60, 70, or 80. It is a process.

Old age does not come by surprise. We develop into it.

When I read the stories of successful people like Odegbami, one question that always comes to my mind is: What would I want people to remember me for when I grow old, or when I leave the world?

This is an appropriate question that we should each ask ourselves every time.

Whether we accept it or not, life is pretty short.

Imagine! “Mathematical” Odegbami can’t kick the ball any longer.

He has paid his dues.

How about you?

And how about me?

Ten, 20, or 30 years down the line, what would we want people to remember us for?

That’s the essence of life.

Stephen Coveys advises us in The 7Habits of Highly Effective People that you and I should begin with the end in mind. We should think about what we will like people to say about us when we die. We should reflect on the kind of epitaph that should be written about us when we die, and then live our life exactly that way.

OK, you don’t feel comfortable about that.

You don’t want to talk about death, right?

How about living?

You won’t grow old by surprise.

Definitely!

What would you want to happen to you financially, emotionally, or physically by the time you’re 70 or 80?

Would you want to depend on people, or would you want people to depend on you for wisdom and other things?

Would you want to be seen as a man of honour that must be respected, or an old man that people rain curses on?

Your today, for sure, will determine what your old age will look like.

As they say, the way you lay your bed, so you shall lie on it.

No one grows old by surprise.

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