Nigerians have a large collection of phrases such as “Na wa o;” “Na so?” “You mean me?” “Wetin be that?” “You mean am?” “No wahala,” “Okay ooo” etc. These words come out of us quite naturally to express different feelings.
Of all our phrases, however, “This life sef!” is distinct. It is not an expression that just comes out anyhow. It is loaded with meanings, and one utters it for special reasons. When a man has gone on a mind’s journey and finally comes back to the present state; he takes a deep breath, sighs and says, “Hmm, This life sef!” When you hear him say that, it means he has thought so much about an issue and finds it hard to understand why certain things are happening.
It is also possible for him to just be thinking about the happenings around him, and after so much musing, palm in chin, face frowned; he stands up slowly, dusts off particles from his buttock and concludes, “This life sef.”
We all think from time to time. We think as we eat. We think as we talk. And we think as we sing. But we hardly conclude such thoughts with “This life sef!” That phrase usually comes after a deep, deliberate and meaningful cogitation over an important issue.
Contrary to what some meditation experts teach, it would seem that thinking also takes place when our minds wander about. One moment you are in London; another second you are in your village; the next moment you are back where you are seated! What does one call that? “Mind wandering,” or “thinking” about London?
Anyway, I have just found myself saying “This life sef!” You may say that my mind has been wandering about; it doesn’t matter. After all, there is a management concept that teaches “management by wandering around;” so “management by thinking about” shouldn’t be a great offence.
But on a serious note, thinking about this life – our world – has just made me say, “This life sef!” It is a life of mystery.
Yesterday, a man was so poor that he could hardly feed himself. Suddenly, fortune smiles on him and he immediately forgets all his sufferings and toiling of yesterday. He becomes a tin god that everyone must begin to worship. He forgets where he’s coming from, and he treats fellow human beings like animals. Ha, this life sef!
Someone needs your help today. He keeps calling you every now and then – in the morning, afternoon, and night. He gives you no peace. Finally, you help him out. He goes his way, you go yours. Tomorrow, you need his assistance for something but he pretends not to know you. You have suddenly faded away with his past. You then wonder; this life sef!
Another jobless man approached you last year. He wanted to become a politician. He wanted your help. He needed your vote. You rallied round him, and he finally won. Today, he is a multimillionaire. He doesn’t know you again. His level has changed. He has suddenly forgotten all his election promises. He does nothing for your community; but his family is brimming. This life sef!
A lady was so desperate for a husband. She had searched and searched for Mr. Right without success. After so much waiting, she finally got hooked to someone. A few months after her wedding, she starts complaining about her husband. She begins to compare and contrast. She suddenly forgets those lonely nights of yore when she had no man in her life. She forgets all those raining nights that she had to soak her pillows with tears. Now she’s married, everything has changed. She can now complain. Hmm, this life sef!
A man graduated some ten years ago without a job. Finally, his time arrived and he secured a job of his choice. He became happy and was so hard working for the first few months. But after a while, he begins to complain. Today, he would complain about his small salary. Tomorrow, he would complain about the working condition. He suddenly forgets his ten years sojourn in the wilderness of unemployment. This life sef.
A lady was so skinny that everyone gave her a nickname. They called her “aayan (cockroach).” But she didn’t like that; so she looked for every drug or food that could make her “become a little tubby.” As hard as she tried, nature refused to agree with her. A few years after her marriage, with two kids in her bosom, she suddenly becomes big. People change her nickname to “fatty bom bom.” Again, she becomes upset. She doesn’t like that alias. She must slim down immediately. She wants to look younger. Dieticians become her advisers. She begins to cut down on this and that; using one drug after the other in an attempt to cut her weight. Eh, this life sef!
A couple prayed to God day and night for the fruit of the womb. They consulted doctors after doctors, prophets after prophets, and Imams after Imams. Finally, God answered their prayers. Instead of one baby boy, God blessed them with two girls and two boys – all at the same time! A few years after, they begin to complain about school fees. They start to frown about their children’s rowdiness in the house. Hmm, this life sef!
Mother is thinking, daughter is cooking; that’s the mystery of life.
A man once complained about having too much money that he didn’t know how to spend it; yet millions wake up daily thinking about where their breakfast would come from. Don’t ask me who that “over rich” man is; I know you know him. That is life.
A rich man is sad; a poor man is happy. The rich man can’t sleep at night; the poor man keeps snoring every night. The rich man is always broke; but the poor man is never broke. This life sef!
Every rich man’s son wants to marry the rich man’s daughter. Yet, the rich man’s daughter says “No!” She prefers a poor man’s son from the slum. This life sef!
A man prayed to God to bless him with a car. At last, his prayers were answered; he bought a car. He then begins to complain that there is no money to fuel the car. This life sef!
Some pray for rain; some ask the rain to stop. Some complain of too much sun; some go in search of heat. Some are very tall; others are ashamed of being too short. Some have no money to buy shoes; others have no feet on which to wear their shoes.
A white woman admires a black woman; yet, a black woman wants to bleach to become white.
This life sef!