Monday, March 17, 2008


And I almost had you
But I guess that doesn't cut it
Almost loved you
I almost wished u would've loved me too

And I almost had you
But I guess that doesn't cut it
Almost had you
And I didn't even know it

These days, I sit in a lot of churches for weddings of my high-school mates, university mates and other colleagues. As the priest delivers his homily, I look at the couple in front of him and think of what could have been. In some cases, I’m filled with a tinge of regret as I look at the young lady getting married. At other times, I thank the Good Lord who chose not to make that “my portion”. The fact that “I almost wore that black suit” pervades my mind
The lyrics written above are that of the chorus of a song which has been enjoying a fair amount of airplay on Lagos FM radio stations. The song was done by a musical group called Simple Plan. The song comes in the country/rock style of singing of fantasies and dreams that never came to reality.
As seen in the lyrics of the song, the operative word is “almost”. “Almost” signifies what could have been that never was. The word embodies a sense of unfulfilled potential. It gives an idea of tasks that could have been accomplished. ‘Almost’ does not only refer to things which we could have done. It speaks about things, which could have been done to us, or situations in which we could have found ourselves.
The key to understanding the “Almost” situation is that it relies on the power of retrospective thinking. i.e We can never know what we could almost do before the action. It is only when an action has taken place that we start considering the possibilities that could have come into play.
I have a couple of stories to support my line of thought.

There was a guy who was sent by his father to study in the United Kingdom. During the course of his stay in the UK, he developed an interest in music and formed a musical group with his friends. His father who was a prominent traditional ruler in Nigeria heard that his son was getting into music in the UK. His father felt he was going to disgrace the family name by becoming a musician. His father ordered him back home. He came back to Nigeria a week before the release of the group’s first single in 1979. So far, the musical group has sold over 55 million records worldwide. The young Nigerian had “almost “ become a part of history. The name of that musical group is UB 40. I read this story a couple of years ago and I wondered how I would have lived with the thought that I "almost " made history. How could such a young man forgive his father for preventing him from achieving fame and fortune?
The man was asked if he had any regrets and he said he didn’t. I see that as a man who chose to accept whatever cards life had dealt him. He rose to become a General Manager at the Muson Centre in Lagos.

The second story that comes to mind is that of a girl who grew up in a family in which all the kids that preceded her were American citizens. For some inexplicable reason, her parents decided to give to move to Nigeria a few weeks before she was due. She never forgave them for that decision. She saw herself as someone that “almost” became an American Citizen. She believed that she was different from her peers. On completion of her University Education, she started making plans to relocate. She did all in her power to move to the US , wasting precious time on embassy visits and visa interviews. The status, which she “almost” attained, became a snare to her progress in life.

Life is not a bed of roses. It unveils itself to us in phases. The idea is to make the most of the phase of life in which we currently live. Pondering over what could have been without applying any lessons learnt to future engagements would only lead to frustration. Infact, we are not supposed to learn from every single experience. Some experiences are best seen as stand-alone experiences. They just happen and you move on.

Life is full of choices. Most of the time, we are bogged down by the fact that we don’t want to make the wrong choice. This is because we know that choices have consequences. They’re like a pack of dominoes neatly arranged on a table. One piece falls, and the others go down with it.We can’t keep kicking ourselves because of situations that ‘almost’ happened. We need to make the most of the present as we prepare for the future