I do not know the origin of the trending #10YearsChallenge on social media and have not bothered to check, even though I have given thoughts to doing so.
What I do know is that it has been so widespread on social media; engaging virtually everyone even the least expected persons like myself who seldom get on a bandwagon.
I kept looking at the throwback photos of my friends and other persons I follow on social media, and the various captions they employed until I was forced to search for my own old photos.
Like some persons may have done at some point of rebranding their online pages, I had deleted most of my old – what I considered my too-embarrassing-to-be-online – photos.
Almost a year earlier, a friend had shared an old photo, alongside some other more embarrassing ones of me from my earlier days at the university via a private message on WhatsApp.
The one I ended up using in the collage and sharing on social media around that time was the one I considered most share-worthy.
A week ago, another friend sent me a photo of my page on her secondary school slam book and the photo I gave her to attach beside.
It was my coolest photo then; one that was taken in mufti and in the front lawn of our dormitory. I wore mostly borrowed clothes in it as muftis are banned in boarding schools but somehow some people manage to smuggle them in.
We had a photographer come in to take our photos – both individual and clique photos. Writing about it now brings back fond memories from secondary school.
I laughed at some of the things I wrote in her slam book and shuddered at some others that are so accurate now.
Three things it reinforced:
1. God is a good God.
My dad says that he who thinks thanks. Sometimes all you need to be grateful is to look at your life, where you’ve been, where you are and where you’re headed to be grateful. I know for a few persons, it may appear like your present is a shadow of your former self or not as successful as you would have wished, but I believe, if you look keenly, there will be something to be thankful for.
ICYMI: Twenty Four and Thankful
2. Write the vision and make it plain.
Twice in her slam book I wrote ‘fulfilled doctor,’ ‘successful doctor’ – not solely ‘doctor.’ I used adjectives that will later point me in my desired direction and help me appreciate my current state each step of the way.
Could I have written that with all the precision there is and still be in someplace different today? Possibly.
A lot of factors come into play in determining the outcome of our lives, some of which are without our sphere of influence, but with forecasting, determination and divine assistance, our dreams and visions will become our reality.
3. Embarrassment holds potential for growth.
Chances are that some of the things you consider embarrassing now, you once thought them to be cool. Chances also are that the things you deem hype now, you may view as embarrassing ten years from now.
For me, that is the prayer – constant growth.
The same way embarrassment is a pointer to the past is the same way it can be a projection of the future. I hope that the things that currently cause you some element of embarrassment, serve as your motivation to design the life of your dreams ten years from now.
On a lighter note and because it has been a while since I wrote a light-hearted blog post, I will be sharing with you the questions my friend asked on her slam book, my responses then and comments now, ten years later.
I will represent the question with the letter Q, the answer with A and my comment where there is with C.
A: Ejiofor Chioma Anita
Q: Phone number
C: I lost this phone number in my first year at the university when my phone got stolen. Rather than restoring the number, I opted for a new one. My dad was unhappy with my decision and said that only people running from others change their phone number. Since then, I have maintained the same phone number.
Q: Best scent
A: Sweet-smelling flowers and perfumes.
C: I didn’t know I was a flower girl. Haha. You know, lately, one of the compliments people give me is: ‘I love your fragrance. What are you wearing?‘ I haven’t given much thought to it or attached sentimental value to smelling great, but I would admit that I have a high tendency to embrace you longer if you are wearing a sweet-swelling cologne and maintain a respectable distance when you give off a nose-scrunching odour.
Q: Future career
A: Medical doctor.
C: The future is here, isn’t it? I am thankful.
Q: Where do you hope to be seven years from now?
A: In a hospital as a fulfilled doctor.
C: Hahaha. How many years did I think medical school would last? How come nobody told me? Well, an additional three years later, I can say I am working in a hospital as a fulfilled doctor. Thanks be to God.
Q: Describe yourself.
A: A beautiful girl with bulging and also nice eyes, not so social with all, love meeting people and making friends.
Q: What do you do with your leisure?
A: Worshipping, gisting and watching movies.
C: The ten-year-older version of me would say what a waste of spare time – besides worshipping. Gisting is a usual pastime in secondary school dormitories. The watching movies part, how am I not a TV person ten years later?
ICYMI: TMI tag
Q: How do you see God?
A: As a big, big God. So caring and makes me feel loved. He is my provider and strength.
C: You go, girl!
Q: Most dreaded
A: The feeling of not being loved.
C: Are you serious? What happened to rats and flying cockroaches?
Q: What would you do if you were faced with the above?
A: Stay on my own, watch others, sigh and go back to my ever loving father who cares like no other.
C: I must say I had a strong sense of God’s love. Isn’t it beautiful that ten years later, I would still do this?
Q: Turn on
A: Explicitness and Simplicity
Q: Turn off
A: Unfaithfulness, pretense, and lies.
Q: Best Pals
A: Those that make me feel loved.
C: Was I trying to play safe here? Smart (and timid?) Anita. Haha.
Q: Best food(s)
Q: Dream position
A: The wife of a loving and fulfilled husband. A successful doctor.
C: Hahaha. Angry Twitter Feminists will tell me to dream larger. Bruhahaha. Thank God I added the latter part. More laughter. It is good to know I have been pretty consistent with the kind of man I would love to get married to. And, there seems to be so much reference to loving and being loved, was I in any way love-deprived then? I am wondering.
ICYMI: The Wedding Band
Q: Dream country
C: I wonder why I said the U.S.A.
Q: What do you like about me?
A: You’ve got the power of expression, girl.
C: Oh, my friend could make beautiful illustrations and express herself admirably in writing, too. I know she has a doctorate in English Language and teaches English in the US now. I do not know if she still makes illustrations.
Q: Fave hangout
A: Friends and family.
Q: Most treasured possession
A: Myself and my one and only sister.
C: My sister will get emotional reading this. If you asked me now, I will probably say my brain and replace my one and only sister with every member of my family.
Q: What do you think you are known for?
A: Singing and Dancing
Q: Fave clothes
A: Simple but exquisite dresses.
And that’s the end. Each of us had our own slam book. Asked our own unique questions. And we – or at least I – used to be excited when our crushes wrote in them. We/I could not wait to see what they had to say about us/me. Good old days.
Sad I lost mine a long time ago, but I still remember some of the things my secondary school crush wrote in them.
Did you participate in the #tenyearchallenge or keep a slam book in secondary school? What did you take out of these all? Pray tell and let’s have some fun in the comments.