A while ago, I travelled for a friend’s funeral. Sad as it was, I had a pleasant road trip. Her body was laid to rest amidst wailing and gratefulness that she lived a good life. Losing this friend was a big blow already because I had so much plans with her and now everything seemed lost. I left the place in one piece, or so I thought. I had gone more than half way out of her home-town when I realised my wallet was missing. My first thought – my bank cards! Then my driver’s license! My ID cards! My bank tokens! Emergency cash! And the other titbits. Then, I though, “hank God I did not leave myself behind, it could have been worse.” So I smiled and kept moving. Nothing was going to take away my happiness.
My return journey was to be by air. As soon as I reached the airport, it dawned on me that I had no form of ID. I kept walking to the airline desk where I presented the reference number of my ticket, but without an ID. I told the lady that I had just lost my wallet and all I could find was one ATM card stuck in my phone pouch. She asked me to step aside and find an ID. I remembered I had a copy of my ID in a notebook that I usually carry about. I opened my bag but notebook was nowhere to be found. All my ‘valuable’ information was gone too. I came back to her and she said, “If you can show me three ATM cards with your name, that would suffice”. I replied, “If I had as many as 3 bank cards out of my wallet, I will not be complaining about losing a wallet.” I remembered a lesson my friend shared last year – Be brave enough to always ask for what you want! I immediately asked to see the supervisor. After explaining myself, I showed the supervisor my confirmation email and SMS, as well as the bank card that had my name on it. The supervisor ordered her to issue me my boarding pass. Now my mind was raging through all the pages of the notebook. I remembered all my scribbling, the important numbers, essential daily info, supposed life hacks and I smiled. It had been five days since I last used it. Did I really need it?
Sometime later, I started preparing for another trip. I tried to send an edited document that I had saved to my phone, to a client – before getting on the plane. I would be incommunicado for another seven hours. What happened? My memory card crashed. Lots of things ran through my mind. Where do I begin from? Do I have enough time to work from my laptop before boarding? What do I tell this client? That my fairy godmother whisked away his document due in 1 hour? I had lost every other item – documents, music, pictures, everything. Would I cry over spilt milk? Of course it could feel refreshing to let the tears roll when you lose something. But like I always say, it could have been worse. It was really not my client’s business what happened to me and my storage medium. So, I knew I had to get the work done; I quickly found the original document and began the work afresh.
That was not all. After the first leg of my journey, I tried to switch on my phone. But it would not come on. I had plugged it for two hours and it still did not blink. I pulled out my spare phone and in what seemed like the twinkle of an eye, the battery drained. That was it. Phones had packed up too. I was going on a journey and had no phone on me, in 2016. Should I not bother getting on the next plane? Should I change my ticket and go back home? Should I buy a new phone at the airport? Was that (new phone) part of my immediate travel budget?
All these bring me to values. How much value do you place on physical things? On family? On friends? On colleagues?
We tend to value things so much that we let our lives and happiness revolve around them. So much so, that when those things are taken away from us, we feel a mixture of emptiness, anger, worry and even a sense of disappointment with ourselves. We feel like the world is crashing before our eyes. We feel like the centre can no longer hold. Like the very essence of our lives has been destroyed.
Sometimes we just have to pause and think. What was the real value of this thing or person? If we had an alternative, what would it be? If we were asked to swap this thing or person for another, would we be willing to do so? Some of the things we lose, we never really used. Some of the people we lose, we never did appreciate. Some others never appreciated us, though. The saying “You don’t know what you have until you lose it” applies more often than we would like to admit. Therefore, we should learn to appreciate what we have, whether they’re physical things or friendships or family.
We have to learn to open our minds to endless possibilities and create variable options that will help us in our daily life. This does not in any way mean being pessimistic. It is simply, being prepared for living.
I took out one ATM card from my wallet because I knew there was the possibility of losing a wallet someday.
I placed a copy of my ID in my notebook because I knew I could lose my wallet, someday.
I also always travel with a spare phone because I know mine may give up on me along the way.
I back up my data to the cloud, because every device could malfunction.
Did I place a premium on my friend’s life? I love her with every vein in me and showed her how much I cared before she passed on.
We have to always remember that not everything we lose can be found and when you lose something and can not find it, simply take life light, there is a whole lot of life ahead of you. Some things, you can replace. Some things are lost and not found!
Have you ever lost something or someone so cherished and did not know what your next steps would be? Feel free to share below.
Precious Nwagboso is an entrepreneur, with a degree in Computer Engineering and a passion for writing, travelling, exploring new cultures and discovering new ventures. She can be contacted via Lifebleach.