LIVING FOR OTHERS

LIVING FOR OTHERS

If you are Nigerian, then you know that there are certain steps that you are expected to take, in order for your parents, their friends and peers to consider you accomplished:

  1. All As in secondary school
  2. Completed first degree, preferably with a 1st class
  3. Masters
  4. Marriage
  5. Kids

Bear in mind that these steps must be taken in this exact order. Don’t tempt fate by having the kids before the marriage, for example. But because of the narrow path we set for ourselves and each other, you find that many people compromise themselves in order to achieve.

Because in this day and age of Instagram and Facebook, it is not enough to simply achieve, we must tell the world about these achievements. We judge each other’s pictures and posts knowing that we are also being judged.

People take so many pictures whilst on holiday, that one has to wonder if they are actually holidaying at all. Are they experiencing what it is like to swim with dolphins or merely plotting how they will manage an underwater picture? Are they savoring the taste of food they have never tasted before, or working out the lighting so they can take the perfect food pic?

Instead of merely celebrating our achievements by documenting them, these days it appears that the celebrations are organized in order to document. Proposals are conducted with camera men on hand, and several witnesses, so that the intimate affair of old, has become a ‘who did it best’ event. There are pre-wedding pictures, wedding pictures, and post wedding pictures; and sometimes the wedding shoes alone require a post.

‘Everyone is living for everyone else now. They’re doing stuff so they can tell other people about it…’

Karl Pilkington

In this vein, it turns out that declaring one’s love for one’s boo over and over on social media is thought to be tacky and annoying by most. Even those who do it themselves. Most people don’t believe a relationship is as strong as it appears on social media. So putting up picture after picture of your better half, will not necessarily convince the world at large that everything is coming up roses.

However, this article is not written to prove that taking pictures is a waste of time. By all means, take your pictures, build a photo album, print them and frame them and place them on your wall (your actual physical wall in your house). But before you decide to share them with the world, with friends and strangers alike; ask yourself, why.

Why do you have this urge to Snapchat or Instagram every moment of your life? Should some things perhaps be private?

As we continue in the new year, worry less about taking the perfect picture and relish the moments that you have with your friends and family. Moments that, though they may not be captured on camera, will be posted in the memory and hearts of those who were there.

 

Image: http://www.blackradionetwork.com


Oyinkan Braithwaite is a graduate of Creative Writing and Law from Kingston University. Following her degree, she worked as an assistant editor at Kachifo and has been freelancing as a writer and editor since. She has had short stories published in anthologies and has also self published work. In 2014, she was shortlisted as a top ten spoken word artist in the Eko Poetry Slam.

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