I learnt the truth about the road less travelled
Honoured to kick off the ‘A post a day’ series on my sister Chioma Chuka’s blog – where one writer a day will share what 2013 has taught them. Mine, shared yesterday – with minor edits
My name is Chude Jideonwo, I am Nigerian, and I run an innovative media company that seeks to empower an evolving generation – of Africans. Which is pretty frightening sometimes, because I always knew I would be a journalist, but I never thought I would be flying without wings – as an entrepreneur.
In that breath, 2013 has been a remarkable year – remarkable because it threw up the kinds of battles I had read or been told about but never quite understood.
Last year, a dear friend of mine had said to me ‘You haven’t even started. No one has really stolen your money and run away, betrayed you so deeply, you can’t imagine it. When that has happened, come back to me, I will know your journey has started.”
I said ‘God forbid’, as I am wont to, but she had insisted – God won’t forbid this, it is the way He has made the world.
I haven’t quite had an experience to the scale that she speaks, and even now my request to God that stands as my response to the thought, but I have come to a depth of understanding of what she was talking about.
This is the year in which I have fought battles I never thought I would, faced moral, financial, personal conundrums I didn’t know I had the capacity to, opposition I don’t think one man should face, human conduct that tested my ideas of all that is good, and many times when even I questioned my motives in the face of the odds.
I have learnt long ago to sit still and keep calm when all I want to do is scream; to stay still when the stakes are high; not ever to be moved by the emotions of the moment when my sight is cast longer. But year, the limits of that lesson were tested. Sorely,they were tested.
I learnt early that the road I have chosen will be rough, that the desire to do new things, to break a few of the rules, to change the course of things as we have met them or as we know them, to conquer my inner introvert, and my natural comfort with the status quo, andmove beyond that with which I am comfortable will stretch me hard. But no one prepares you for the twists and turns of that road. And, I found out, even you cannot prepare yourself enough. Not even if you can see into the future.
In an interview with the Financial Times a few weeks ago, Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote spoke of the fear that gripped his heart as he began a new venture. How so frightened he was that he had made a mistake - that he could not eat, could not sleep, could hardly move.
I dare not compare myself with such a man, but on my level I have believe, this year, I have experienced just that kind of fear, of despair, of gut-wrenching second-guessing, of a desire to turn back and run to that which is normal, and usual, and comforting.
But then I know only the road less travelled will give me joy. And, with a mix of excitement and trepidation, I realize that, because of this; because of the life I have chosen to live, this roller coaster will not end; it cannot stop.
I see men who have already done it all; who have lived a million lives but yet face obstacles so steep you wonder why they still do this.
And it helps me realise, again, each time, that there are more trials, more temptations ahead – more excruciating decisions to make, more disappointment and pain I must build the capacity to absorb, more difficult actions to be taken, nights and days spent alone in contemplation.
But I will have it no other way, and I would do none of it differently. Because to arrive at great summits, to savour great joys, one must endure great journeys – with great girth.
My journey, in fact, has just barely begun. And I am excited at the prospects!