When somebody famous dies, Twitter and Facebook go crazy with philosophy.
“What a life.”
“Life is short.”
“You never know what tomorrow will bring.”
“Live every day like it’s your last.”
There’s the problem. Just yesterday, these same people said, “Save for the rainy day.”
“Don’t pack all your eggs into one basket.”
“Don’t eat your future.”
“Delayed gratification is the first sign of greatness.”
Now, because Chadwick Boseman passed today, they declare that we must become hedonists and nihilists.
The feeling of helplessness that comes from seeing “the good die young” is tremendously understandable. But perhaps we could distil the feeling into more appropriate phrasing.
Yes, absolutely live for today. But what if you don’t die today? Or tomorrow. Or the day after that. Then what?
There is some confusion between “Live every day as if it were your last” and “Live life on your own terms.”
It is untenable, the notion that one could live like there’s no tomorrow because when tomorrow comes, because it always does, it will greet you with a slap on the face. A shocking slap that screams: “You idiot!”
Instead of going: live every day as if it were your last, it is more sensible to try to live life on your terms.
In a way, many young people are already thinking like this. Studies show that millennials and GenZ are more inspired by meaningful work. They want to be employed by organisations with a purpose — with a mission that’s bigger than the business.
Partly we can credit the internet for this outlook on life.
It was the internet that opened us all to startup culture and entrepreneurs who want to be insanely great at making a dent on the universe.
And while Nigeria may have a lot of unemployed and poverty-hamstrung youth who might appear desperate to accept any job just to get by, a large number of them do not want to drone on at some beige cubicle for the rest of their lives, the way their parents did.
They want to do work that makes them happy. They want to travel the world. They want to be independent. They’d like to have some change in the bank too.
Thanks to the same internet, this kind of life is possible. For the young graduate who wants to rove around Nigeria and start a local tourism business from it, the software engineer who’d like to programme an engine that aggregates payment platforms and their rates, and that one who’s built an online food bank, there is more meaning behind the money. The cool thing is that they can still be digital nomads while at it.
Living on your own terms. “It means refusing to compromise the things that matter most, and investing in building what is important to you. It means that no one is making your decisions for you, you’re making them for yourself, On Your Terms.” This is according to onyourownterms.com.
It makes sense, doesn’t it?
But, usually, the argument against this is: Is it that simple?
I believe it is if the question is asked early and repeatedly. Before you let others determine for you what your life should be.
REST IN PEACE HOWIE T and CHADWICK BOSEMAN.