Guest blogger Ayodotun questions the stereotypical way of thinking in our society. In this thought-provoking piece, she nudges us to embrace a life independent of societal expectations and limitations. Enjoy the read!
Ayodotun Rotimi-Akinfenwa is a Brand Manager turned Music Business Manager, Writer, Blogger among other things. She describes herself as a conservative rebel. Her blog www.lifestylehues.com is a fun lifestyle and inspirational platform where she discusses today’s issues with a slightly eccentric perspective. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter at @ayodotun_emmdee.
As human existence evolved through the centuries, our thinking and lifestyle have followed suit. We have formed and reformed archetypes on how life should be lived and how things should work. These ideals established by the highly intellectual human species have been passed on from generation to generation. Many of them are the very fabric of the most respected cultures around the world. Deny them, and many will continue to imbibe them even for centuries to come. Now, there are as many cultural dispositions as there are skin pigmentations and an orientation for every hair texture.
Someone defined culture as a way of life of a group of people–the behaviours, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next.
The above is all rich and deep but…I’m a rebel, albeit a conservative and cautious one… And I feel it’s my place to challenge philosophies and values that are obsolete, sometimes forced on others, do not reflect the whole truth, have no universal relevance or even Godly merit.
Please note, at this point, that culture is not just geographically – based neither is it historic alone. There are considerable overlaps in Asian and African proclivities or even between North American and African ideals. So this is not just about African culture. My point is really about the many boxes into which we daily compartmentalize life; more of mentalities than the people or where they are from. Essentially, all of us, regardless of our lineage have lived by a set of rules and templates for life which were handed to us.
From the lost generation to the centennials, those ideals are tweaked intermittently and passed down.You’ll find most of my references in this articles are today’s realities.
These are just a few questions I have had over the years…
Who says everyone must attend a higher institution?
The richest people around the world did not graduate from college. Many have achieved this “feat” called graduation but have yet to accomplish anything significant since then. Indeed, many of the bonafide (and non-bonafide) graduates have proven that a college degree is no guarantee of a great career or life.
Who says you must get a job?
The most successful people are self employed, entrepreneurs – from Oprah to Dangote to Don Jazzy. Figure out where you fit best and get to work. It’s hardly realistic to expect to be wealthy working for other people. You should build your own dreams at some point.
Who says a married woman cannot be “hot?”
Hello, married ladies! Your husband needs to find you attractive, and not just in the bedroom. Men are visual creatures, and you can look great and still juggle your responsibilities as a wife and a mother, business woman etc.
I’m glad married women are “representing” these days. As a married woman, I think it’s a disservice to yourself and your husband if you just let yourself go after marriage. Need I say “Hot” doesn’t translate to trashy or irresponsible dressing. You can look amazing fully clothed, and you should.
Who says elderly couples do not have to work on their marriage?
Gosh, their lives are not over nah! I mean, do you ever see marriage support or counseling material directed at people who are 60 and above? They are human too and still deserve to work at and be happy in their marriages, especially because many at this age are dealing with the Empty Nest Syndrome.
Who says being poor proves your piety?
No one gets a medal for being poor and there’s no crime in being able to afford a comfortable life. Poverty is a destroyer. Do you know how many people believe they are doing God a favour by being broke? They sneer at lovely homes and cars, dismissing them as “things of the world.” Please, We were created to be prosperous and fruitful, and contrary to what you may believe, our lack does not glorify God in any way. Stop hiding your laziness and mediocrity behind that backward mindset and get busy.
Who says everyone must get married?
Many marriages have been destroyed mainly because of our obsession with it in these parts.
Marriage is a phenomenal, but sensitive institution. If contracted at the wrong time and with the wrong person, it swings the wrong way. More people need to take their time to approach the institution wisely, cautiously, with eyes wide open and certainly with no interference. This is likely to take time…kindly ignore the societal noise. On the other hand, marriage is not for everybody. The sooner we realise this, the better for some of us.
Who says a single woman cannot own a nice car or real estate because it will ruin her chances at love and marriage?
My take on this particular one is this. Doing well as a single woman makes the process even easier because it already eliminates the shallow, small minded men who wouldn’t come near. By the time she sieves the gold diggers, it leaves her to take her pick of the real men who are confident in their vision and are not afraid to let her shine.
Who says you can’t…?
What have they done with their own lives?
Now, I need to clarify some grey areas here. I’m not disclaiming the merits of culture. All I’m saying is this – Know exactly who you are, and the aspects of the culture around you that suit YOU. I’ll encourage you to embrace those practices that make you a kind, fair, generous and just person. The rest is unnecessary baggage. Let it go.
From time to time, you and I need to mindfully ask these questions (and more) of ourselves and of others, or we stand the risk of unwittingly falling prey to general habits that are mostly mediocre, baseless and eventually destructive.
We can create a whole new world for ourselves by boldly asking valid questions and seeking the right answers. “What will people say?” has never been a good reason to do anything. Do you, especially what is good, just, fair, kind, godly and just let everything else go.
You’ll be the better for it.