Birthday Blues: If I Could Turn Back The Clock


By Charles O. Anyiam-Osigwe

Are you thankful for each year that rolls by or are you full of regret?

Are you excited to reach a new stage in life or do you lament over unrealized dreams and unattained goals?

There’s an Igbos proverb that says, “Madness is best in youth.” And for many of us, this is the time to drink life to the tees. But as we grow older, we often find ourselves wishing we knew better when we were young.

Well, I can assure you, time spent lamenting and moaning over unaccomplished goals changes nothing. What sets in is the desire to wallow in self-pity. Don’t do it, snap out of it!

Now you’re older and hopefully a little wiser too, there are some tips you might find useful for the rest of your life:

  1. Youth is a crazy period in one’s life and we are prone to crazy acts. It’s a part of life.

  2. Even though we think we know it all when we’re young, we don’t. Time is a great teacher and will show us this if we outlive the craziness of youth.

  3. You may not believe it when in your teens and early 20s, but time really does fly! At 25 you may be thinking you’re still young – like when you turned 18 – but believe me, you are just 15 years away from age 40 and you will get to be 40 faster than you spell it. Trust me on this.

  4. Look before you leap. Think before you act. When in doubt consult with those you trust to know better. Not every situation requires immediate action. Do not exhaust yourself trying to change something that is destined to ride itself out.

  5. Get to know your God and put your trust in him. Evaluate which predicaments you can control and which you just need to give over to God. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. ‘ – Proverbs 3:6

  6. There’s a difference between responding and reacting. Pull your thoughts together before you start firing off the first thing that comes into your mind. It’s easier to pause and count to 10 than to undo the harm from your scattershot mouth. Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.

Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you.” Proverbs 4:23 – 24

  1. Take time to count your blessings and savor them. Small milestones are just as worth cheering about as big achievements. Acknowledging them gives you a chance to see and really appreciate the steps in life’s journey. Each one of them has a purpose and rushing to get to the big finale cheats you out of witnessing your own growth. Believe me, the journey is what it’s about, the destination is an anticlimax.

  2. Develop a taste for exercise and fitness early in life. The older and busier you get and the more cantankerous your schedule becomes, the less interested you are likely to be about fitting anything – even remotely strenuous – into your routine. 

  3. Let common sense be your guide in all things in life. For example, if a man is not nice to his mother, his sisters or female colleagues, run far far away.

  4. Just because someone says they love you does not mean they are capable of giving you the kind of love and loving that you need. Their love might not even meet your love halfway. Do not feign affection and avoid anyone that does so. Remember – Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.1 Corinthians 13:4–8a (NIV)

  5. Acquire as much technical knowledge as you can about everyday things. They will stand you in good stead. For example, learn as much as you can about cars and the mechanics will fleece you less.

  6. Frequently do something kind for someone who has less than you do. You have everything you need to have right now. The real test is what you are doing with it.

  7. Learn the value of money early in life. Get into the habit of saving. It is be one of the smartest things you’ll ever do. It will give you a better chance to harness opportunities as they arise.

  8. Set your own goals and chart your own course. Don’t let others set the agenda for your life.

  9. If you are a woman, be mindful of your biological clock while climbing the career ladder. The “freeze your eggs” fad is everywhere but remember, nothing is guaranteed but the passage of time. Don’t wait till it’s too late!

16. Strive to learn and understand early on the things that matter in life and believe me all that matters is to love yourself and love your neighbor like yourself.




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