Last week I met with a very close friend from school days. It was like a great reunion for we last saw each other in 2009 at the NYSC post office in the University. Although we had kept in touch since 2009 through phone calls and messages, we never had the opportunity to meet physically. All through the years, we were always in different states so visiting was impossible.
During one of our phone conversations, my friend announced that she would be attending a 3-day conference in Lagos. This was an opportunity to finally see ourselves again after a long time. My friend and I were overjoyed at the thought of seeing each other . Immediately we began making plans for a meetup.
Finally the day we had been planning for arrived. We were to meet at a restaurant in Lekki. When I saw my friend, I could barely recognize her. Now you would say of course she must have grown bigger, more beautiful, and doing well for herself. Yes, I expected to see all that; I had expected to see my friend looking very beautiful with all the accessories that come with it. That was not the case though; I saw the complete opposite of my expectations.
After we had hugged and exchanged pleasantries, we sat down at a table and ordered drinks for starters. There came a few minutes of silence and at that moment, I wanted to ask her if all was well with her. Knowing my friend’s character, I had to be careful with my words; my friend gets upset so easily. Hence the last thing I wanted was to ruin our reunion. I began to think of the right words to use to express my concerns.
I was still struggling with choosing my words when my friend broke the silence. “Wow, you seem to be doing well, looks like everything is going well for you”, she said. I could sense some sarcasm in her words and I am not sure why so I asked her to express her true intentions behind those supposed compliments. “Although we were course-mates during our university days and graduated together, it seems as if you are many steps ahead of me. I feel intimidated right now. I realize that I have to struggle so hard to make something good out of my life. Things are not working out for me the way they are working out for you”.
Her responses shocked me so I had to do something about it. It was obvious that she had false impressions about me. I explained that I also had my personal challenges but I always try to manage them. I have some unfulfilled desires but I recognize that I do have some fulfilled desires too. And I am thankful for them.
I realized that my friend had not been paying attention to the good things happening in her life. Instead she focused on the not-so-good things and used them as yardsticks to compare with other individuals. As a friend, I told her it was wrong for her to compare her life with someone else. We all are running different races therefore, we all are expected to have different levels and degrees of life’s experiences.
As individuals, we hope to possess the good things of life – live in a good apartment located in one of the best cities, have a good job, own a good car, have a significant amount of money in a bank savings accounts and so on. Life, however, determines our experiences and the degree to which it is achieved.
It is the reason why we say “All fingers are not equal”.
I think that to succeed in life in spite of all the harsh experiences and challenges that come with them, I have to be an optimist; I should rather identify the good things in my life. When I face a challenge, I could rather identify and hold on to the “good” in the challenging circumstances.
There is a popular saying about the glass cup with liquid at mid level. The man who see the glass cup as half full is an optimist; he views things positively, notices the good parts and expects the best to happen. The man who sees the glass cup as half empty is a pessimist; he views things negatively, notices the bad parts and expects the worst to happen.
I am on the side of the man who sees the glass cup as half full. Whose side are you on?
Do you see your glass cup as half full or half empty?