So I get this a lot, especially from my Instagram page, “Deinte, your Lagos is very different oh. You look like you’re having a blast!” And every time I hear this, I can’t help but laugh. It’s definitely the same Lagos oh, and yes!… I am having a great time.
I believe in order to enjoy life (wherever you are), it’s really about making a conscious choice to make the most of every situation you find yourself in.
And as I’m currently in Nigeria then by all means, I will find and keep finding ways to make sure I maintain a certain level of happiness.
Of course there are some moments I find myself quite perplexed, “Wait… Why did I move again?!” But then I go through one or ALL of my coping mechanisms (depending on the level of the predicament I’ve found myself in 😂).
... And Naij life becomes sweet again.
So first things first...
1. Focus on the things you can control.
There are so many things (and people) that can get you annoyed. Sooo many. BUT there are also so many wonderful things to see, so many people to love and so much more to experience. FOCUS on those. For example: Yes, some roads are terrible, but I mean, where else can you sit in your car and simultaneously shop for all your needs? – Plantain Chips, Gala, Fire extinguishers, New Literature... Even fried meat?! 😳
2. If you don’t have anything nice to say, try really really hard not to say anything.
This is toooo real. Once you start complaining, it triggers a domino effect that’s so hard to get out of.
That being said, I do think it’s okay (and maybe even necessary) to complain about everything… but ONLY once! So when something annoying happens the first time, complaiiiiiin (like I did here about a crazy customer service experience I had 😂). Complain and get it out of your system. But then after that, you’re done. Frustrating things happen, there’s no point getting worked up every time, unless it’s to figure out a solution.
3. Prepare in advance for things to take forever.
The idea of time is a very strange thing in Nigeria. It's almost as if time is irrelevant. So just prepare your mind that something that should take one hour will take three. This way when it takes two and a half you’ll actually be excited. You 'saved' 30 minutes! Whooop whoop!
4. Keep doing things you love.
If you’re interested in food, fashion, books, art, architecture, museums, fitness, fishing, polo, whatever – Make time to still do those things that have always been good for you.
5. Don’t let the traffic get you down.
Ok so there’s traffic. And then there’s Lagos traffic. The kind of traffic that has your car sitting in the same spot for 5 hours just because it rained for 10 minutes. Traffic can really be an enemy of progress, but there are ways to make it not so bad.
First option: If you can, simply avoid being on the road every day except Sunday… and early on Saturday before #WeddingSaturday begins. Lol If you must go to work or school during rush HOURS, just brace yourself, there are ways to get through it.
- Make sure you have a car charger. Nothing worse than having your phone die while stuck in traffic.
- Have your traffic playlist ready. The right song choices can keep your spirits up the entire ride. Plus, it drowns out the incessant honking that typically fills the air.
- Have an EPIC Prayer/Praise/Worship session.
- Use this time to return phone calls, texts, DMs, snaps, whatever else. If you focus your mind on other things, you’ll almost forget the mentos guy that just stared at you non-stop for 5 minutes. Almost.
Oh and look at the bright side - You’ll never get a speeding ticket in Nigeria! That’s a win.
6. Eat well.
One of the perks of being back in Nigeria is Nigerian food. No explanation really needed, just eat what you love to eat.
7. Ignore the haters.
Nigerians have the power to change your mood. THE power. I know people in general can, but trust me. Nigerians are typically very expressive people. When they’re happy, you’re very happy. And when they’re angry? It’s contagious. Protect yourself! Do a couple of woooosah’s, make a conscious effort to breathe and even meditate on the spot if you need to. Just do NOT get sucked into the trap. This is harder than you think, but I have faith you can do it.
8. Extend the “honeymoon phase.”
They say IJGB (I just got back) people are generally very excited and optimistic - They want to go everywhere and see everything. This is an attitude worth keeping for as loooong as possible. After a while it turns into habit. It might help to have a few IJGB friends - They'll keep you young. 😂
9. Give yourself a break.
Sometimes city life can just be overwhelming. Find a go-to place thats away from people. Lol My favorite option is to go to the beach. In Lagos there are so many different options of beaches to go to. Find a chill spot away from all the madness and reflect. Chances are you couldn’t just beach it like this in whatever city you used to live in.
And then when it’s “wintertime,” while all your friends abroad are digging their cars out of 5ft of snow, you’ll be at the beach - sipping from a fresh coconut... And you get to say, “Ha! Come join me!”
10. Stay optimistic.
We wouldn't be able to recognize good days if we never had bad days. So it's essential to embrace both, that's life. Always try to keep the focus on achieving your goals. Your attitude affects your reality so stay optimistic!
Ok that's all I have for now. What did you think of my list? What else do people do to enjoy living in Nigeria?