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Note #64: Following paths, chasing destinations
Police, people, profit, pepper
Nigeria’s independence was yesterday, y’all. (Speaking of y’all, it’s one of the banes of English that it has the same word for second person singular and plural—unlike, say, French, or my native Yoruba and many other languages. Y’all—or youse, like they say in Scotland—deserves to be formalised.)
Anyway, it was maybe the drabbest Independence Day we’ve had—and even for us, that’s saying something. It’s worse because just a year ago, on October 10, we saw one of the worst moments of this century, when the government opened fire on young Nigerians who were protesting police brutality. Then we had a Twitter ban, a crashing currency and increasing signals of government insensitivity. And things were already bad before all that. And yet we continue to hope, against every real reason to.
This is why I often say Nigeria doesn’t deserve Nigerians.
Meanwhile, in more police brutality, a Met police officer got life (which is rare in the UK) for killing a woman and it’s come out that before then been known for behaviours questionable enough to have merited at least an investigation. And of course it’s hard to shake the feeling that if the woman hadn’t been white, this case wouldn’t have got the kind of attention it has.
And yet, in times like this, when I’m tempted to feel like everything might be meaningless after all, I remember what I wrote about in my essay on the Significant 1%: it’s true there’s very little we’re in control of, but that little matters.
Today I hope you remember your significant 1%. It matters. You matter.
Are you destination-driven? (essay)
Or are you path-pursuing?
For this week’s prompt from the Write of Passage course I’m mentoring for, we were asked to coin a term and write an essay about that. This probably isn’t my best work, but I came up with two: destination drivers and path pursuers. (Sorry I never saw an alliteration I didn’t like!) It came out of reflecting on how I take decisions and the way I interact with people who come at them differently. You might find it interesting to think about which you are, yourself.
Some people are all about where they want to go, others are more into the way they’re taking.
I call the first kind of people destination drivers, and the second kind path pursuers. I got to thinking about this from looking at the shape of my life. People who I assume know me fairly well often think of me as this very focused person: they think I live with a clarity they wish they had. But I don’t. It just looks that way. The reality is every time I’ve had to make a big life decision I’ve struggled with being clear what I want to do or where I want to go.
And the way I’ve moved forward from my crossroads is by following the path that’s felt most compelling to me.
You can read the rest of the essay here: Destination drivers and path pursuers
Catastrophic profit (quote)
Speaking of people acting terribly in leadership, here’s a quote from Brandon Sanderson’s Words of Radiance that struck me when I read it:
Even in an apocalypse people will try to profit. When I first read that COVID hadn’t happened and it still felt a little far out.
Not anymore, tragically.
I close this note as I began, with an example of a significant 1%
Even a little pepper is too much for the eyes.
I realise today’s note is rather more solemn than usual, partly because that’s how I’m feeling. I considered trying to lighten it, but you know, it’s okay to be sombre sometimes. It’s part of what it means to be human, after all: we shouldn’t feel the need to be excited, or even happy, all the time. Our emotions ebb and flow and that’s okay.
Talk soon, and I hope you have a really good week,