By Debbie Ogunjobi
THE major problem deciding where home is or should be is that most of us donâ€™t live in the present. We seem to sneer at what is choosing to believe the possibility of what is not. Itâ€™s suicidal to make a life changing decision that affects quite a number of people based on a romantic idea at best.
A couple of years ago one of my siblings decided to relocate to Nigeria after living abroad successfully for a number of years and I was less than supportive of the idea. Mine was the lone voice of dissent and I was accused of many things ranging from pettiness, not wanting to help and many others! I just could not understand why someone who against all odds had been embraced by the corporate world in a 1st world setting would choose to give that up to come and set up a business without experience, capital or wherewithal!!
It would have been like Joseph, resigning as a prime minister of Egypt to go back to Israel and settle down as a goat herder! It would have also been insanity for Esther to refuse the chance of becoming a queen just because she was saving herself for a nice Jewish boy if eventually the Jews regained their freedom from king Ahasuerus!!
She ended up saving the lives of her people because she embraced the place she found herself as home! I didnâ€™t relish being right as Lagos turned out to be anything but home but at least a valuable lesson was learnt and my sister is back in her own Canaan flourishing like anyone does when they are home! I did understand why Lagos seemed like home to my sister; after all as she chose to remember it, it was a place of fun. We all grew up in Lagos, lived in a large family and enjoyed the company of good friends.
Drudgery ofÂ life
The old life in Lagos must have looked like paradise compared to the drudgery of life in cold and sometimes miserable London where life could be black and white, without a drop of colour! Looking back at the past must have been poignant as she remembered the bubbling of Lagos, with friends, family always around and little or no responsibility! Yes, all that was true but that was the past and was not in any way reminiscent of the Lagos in the present.
Most of the family members and friends that played the lead roles were scattered all over the world and where they were still here had the same life she did in London, except of course they were not cold but they certainly had their own challenges. Some of us, myself included thought she had a better life than we did.
After one year of what must have been a baptism of fire, she headed home, not to Olukole Close in Surulere, where life would in her mind be forever idyll but to London, where she owned her home, had the legal right to live and work and where even her big sister had to go through secretaries to say hello to my baby sister!
A lot of people are making the decisions to return from Diaspora to settle back home and while some will indeed prosper and succeed beyond their wildest dreams a lot will be broken by the experience. I would advocate a sure conviction based on verifiable facts and present reality before such a move is made!
Would you consider that you just maybe a Joseph and that wherever you are flourishing is your Egypt? Home is not a fixed location, home changes, people change, feelings change!! Would you consider the reality that you are not the same person that left home over a decade ago? You most likely have come to accept some things as standard for daily living that are a luxury back home and how well would you adapt?
Have you considered that those you left behind are also not the same people they were in the good old days; especially where your success is dependent on their input and support?For the human experience to be truly satisfying it would be best if we all mimicked the tortoise and carry our homes with us wherever we go.
If home is a feeling, it is surely worth cultivating such that we love the place we are at and enjoy what is instead of keeping malice with reality. If home is a person, then itâ€™s high time we started loving ourselves more, that way we are always home, if is an atmosphere, lets generate it deliberately, like Ruth, let the people there be your people and thank God for where you are!!
A holiday is a different ballgame compared to reality of uprooting many years planted on a yielding soil that has grown deep roots. Find your home within you, embrace the reality of what really is and let go of all flights of fancy!!