As human existence has evolved through the centuries, our thinking and lifestyles 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...I mean, no one can deny them, 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 God-given hair texture.
Someone defined culture as
a way of life of a group of people--the behaviors, 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 may be obsolete,sometimes forced on others, do not reflect the whole truth, have no universal relevance or even Godly merit...you get the picture.
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,irrespective of our lineage, have lived by a set of rules,templates, for life which have been handed to us.
From the Lost Generation to the Centennials , those ideals are tweaked intermittently and passed down.You will find most of my references in this articles are situated in today's realities.
These are just a few questions I have over the years...
WHO SAYS WE MUST ALL ATTEND THE UNIVERSITY?
The richest people around the world did not graduate from college. Many have achieved this "feat" called graduation but have yet to achieve another since then.Indeed, many of the bonafide (and non-bonafide) graduates have proven that a college is no guarantee of a great career or a great life.
WHO SAYS YOU MUST GET A JOB?
The most successful people are self employed, entrepreneurs -from Jobs,Oprah to Dangote or Don Jazzy. Figure out where you fit best and get to work. It's really not realistic to expect that you would be wealthy working for other people - you should build your own dreams at some point.
WHO SAYS A MARRIED WOMAN CANNOT BE HOT?
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.
Believe it or not, you are " contending" with a lot... Do you know how many girls are out there with Peruvian weaves, custom made wigs and crochet braids? I'm glad married women are 'representing' these days.I think it's a disservice to yourself and your husband if you just let yourself go after marriage. Hot doesn't always mean trashy or irresponsible,you can look amazing fully clothed and you should!
Plus, I personally feel fashion and style, if done right,should make YOU feel smart, comfortable , confident and ready to take on any challenge. If It's not doing that, it's a waste of time, but I digress.
WHO SAYS I MUST HAVE A FAMILY THAT LOOKS LIKE YOURS?
I have a vision for my home and lifestyle. I have an understanding of the things I can and cannot live with,I should know what aligns with my life's purpose. Yes! Your family life must align with your vision. If this is the case, my family is not your family. I'll give instances, some couples just want the one child, some do not want any at all. Others on the other hand,want what we call a "football team" Different strokes. Please do not judge! If the woman is earning more for a season or for the long haul and they are content,it's their business.Leave them alone!
WHO SAYS ELDERLY PEOPLE DO NOT NEED TO WORK ON THEIR MARRIAGES?
Gosh, their lives are not over nah! I mean, do you ever see marriage support or counseling material directed at people in their 60s upwards? Hardly! Whyyyy? They are people too and they 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 the lovely homes, cars and so on chanting " the things of the world". Please, God designed for us to be rich and prosperous and fruitful, that is His master plan and our lack does not glorify Him in any way. Stop hiding your laziness and mediocrity behind that backward mindset and get busy.
WHO SAYS EVERYONE MUST MARRY AT A PARTICULAR SEASON?
Have you seen how marriage has destroyed many because they married at that 'Particular' time?
Marriage is a phenomenal but sensitive institution, if embraced at the wrong time and with the wrong person, it swings the wrong way. Please, take your time and approach wisely, cautiously, with eyes wide open and certainly with no interference. This is likely to take time...kindly ignore the societal noise.
People will tell you, a woman has a shelf life, this may be true. But do you realize how many women have gotten hitched at the "right" time but to the wrong person? Biko, leave me oh, my time is in God's hands who doesn't consult the MAN MADE calendar to work His wonders.
After you satisfy the society,YOU are going to live with your spouse,YOU will deal with emotional, spiritual,financial and other exertions that come with marriage,not them.Pls ensure YOU do this for YOU.
WHO SAYS A SINGLE WOMAN CANNOT OWN A NICE CAR OR REAL ESTATE BECAUSE IT WILL RUIN HER CHANCES AT LOVE AND MARRIAGE?
My reply to 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 sifts the gold diggers, it leaves her to take her pick of the real men who are confident in their visions and are not afraid to let her shine.
WHO SAYS YOU MUST SHOP FOR YOUR WHOLE VILAGE WHEN YOU TRAVEL?
My guess is, if you do, you will not even have enough left to invest in your travel experience...And travel is meant to enrich your life by expanding your experiences (it's not a mindless be-like-the-joneses venture).
Speaking of travel, we need to step away from the world we know and expand our minds. In 2016, some people still think Africa is a country. I once met a Bolivian lady in the States,she asked where I was from and when I told her Nigeria, she looked blank as if to say: "What's a Nigeria?" It dawned on me again! Nigeria is the end of the world for most but to some people, it doesn't even exist. My point? Get over yourself and the mindsets passed to you. Re- examine them, see the ones that are actually valid and the ones that are mere generalizations from a time when people didn't know better.
WHO SAYS YOU CAN’T?
What have they done with their own lives?
Now, I am a responsible writer and need to clarify some grey areas here.I am not disclaiming the merits of culture at all. All I'm saying is this.Know exactly who you are,and the aspects of the culture around you that suit YOU.I will encourage you to embrace those practices that make you a kind,fair,generous and just person. Otherwise,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 will unwittingly fall prey to some habitual practices 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!
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