Singles Awareness Day

Red hearts everywhere. Red clothing in all shades and styles everywhere you turn. Blink and you just wont miss that fire engine red lipstick. Nothing brings home the truth about being alone more than Valentine’s Day.

Other days seem to be geared towards culture, tradition and family, but Valentine’s Day? I beg to differ. The celebrations have been narrowed down from showing all types of love, to just the one between a couple, as if that’s all Saint Valentine had in mind. For someone who has enjoyed being one half of a couple for a while, the loneliness hurts, so I would rather call it “Singles Awareness Day” than “Valentine’s Day”.

I’m learning to be alone, but sometimes the loneliness hits me like a ten-tonne truck. This particular year, I got to notice the adverts all over the place, because I am trying to use this same season to promote more giving and charity in my sphere of influence.

Sisu Prime Aromatherapy sells 100% natural, phthalate-free, paraben-free, cruelty-free, body and hair care products, that boost your emotional, mental and physical well-being. Our Loodus line is our first set of natural perfumes, and we are donating a part of the proceeds towards the lunch program of Street2School Initiative, a local NGO helping to keep children off the streets in Lagos, Nigeria.

sisu-advert
Sisu Prime is @sisuprime on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook

I had to actually tune into all the messages and ads around, so that I could also come up with something nice enough to increase sales and ultimately make a sizable donation to the Initiative. It seems every company and entrepreneur has one form of sales or the other for this period. I am encouraged by the high number of sales tied to charity, motherless home donations and scholarships. Boosts my heart.

If you are like me, without a significant other today, I encourage you to do what I have planned: Touch someone else’s life today – be it a random stranger, or a friend that you have not reached out to check on, for a long while. Depression is eating away at everyone in our society today, and all the hype about love will only make it worse. Let us add to the other side of the equation: show love to someone that cannot expect or even afford it, today.

Above all, celebrate your achievements. Love yourself today. Give yourself a big treat – do you know how many babies were born on your birthday that did not make it to their fifth? Do you know how many others did not get to be a teenager? So many people went through just one-tenth of what you have been through to get here, yet they are gone. Count your blessings one by one.

Be grateful. I know I am.

Good Deed: A father indeed

I recently reached out to one of my fathers.

I know that sounds confusing, but in the African tribal system, having multiple “fathers” and “mothers” really means that more than one adult took responsibility for you while growing up, and not just your immediate parents. We have a proverb that says “It takes a village”, which means that the whole society raises each child.

One of the fathers that stood in for me while my biological dad was not available just retired, and his birthday was a few days ago. Let’s call him Daddy A. Back then, Daddy A would drop by unexpectedly, and give us gifts. He would call from time to time, to check on us, and sometimes would insist we kids come over to spend Christmas with his family. When I need a job for my second industrial training program in the university, he came through for me, in the blink of an eye. He would listen to my brother rant, or me lamenting about the issues I had at school, and quietly give advice. I can remember him being there at the precious moments in my life, as a teenager and a young adult.

So, we sang for him on his birthday, and promised to send a virtual cake. When he asked for the real thing, I promised to send it.

He was so surprised I actually did. I wish I could do more. His thoughtfulness over the years helped fill the void I needed a father to fill as I grew into a young woman.

Moral of the story: try to the all the good you can, when you can, while you still can. Every act of kindness leaves unforgettable impressions out there, especially if the recipients are children.

Blue Zone for Nigeria

I recently lost a dear friend, to kidney failure and blood transfusion complications. It was heart-wrenching. This guy was a quiet, gentle and focused giant, with a ready smile for every occasion. He was cut short in his prime, and left behind no wife or child – another pain-point for me. This brought on a lot of memories, of reaching out to old friends and trying to evaluate if I am actually living my purpose.

Some days ago, I stumbled on the word “Ikigai”. Wikipedia told me that

Ikigai (生き甲斐,) is a Japanese term for “a reason for being.” The word ‘Ikigai’ is usually refers to the source of value in one’s life or the things that make one’s life worthwhile.[1] The word roughly translates to the “thing that you live for”[2] but it also has the nuance of “the reason for which you wake up in the morning” similar to a daily purpose.[3] Each individual’s ikigai is personal to them and specific to their lives, values and beliefs. It reflects the inner self of an individual and expresses that faithfully, while simultaneously creating a mental state in which the individual feels at ease. Activities that allow one to feel ikigai are never forced on an individual; they are often spontaneous, and always undertaken willingly, giving the individual satisfaction and a sense of meaning to life.[1]

Then I found Thomas Oppong’s Medium article on the subject and understood a lot more. Thomas mentions Dan Buettner (who deserves another article on his own, about how he has made his passion his work), who studied hotspots of places where people lived the longest, and published books on this, with titles that included the phrase “Blue Zone”.

Buettner has been able to prove that applying his Blue Zone Principles to cities can improve the overall health and lifespan of its inhabitants. The key to success involved focusing on the ecology of health – creating a healthy environment rather than relying on individual behaviors. His first try in 2008, in Albert Lea, Minnesota was successful. Other cities and communities have applied the principles successfully too.

I know these applications happened in cities in a developed country (USA), but it got me thinking: what if we could work towards creating that healthy environment in Nigeria? What if we could study the principles, and herald it to our leaders for them to use as blueprints for the next four years?

They say that our country is so unique, no theory works out of the box in it, and I agree. What if we could derive a Nigerian version, that will also allow a family on any income level to embrace the tenets that would guarantee better health, and longer, more fulfilling lives?

The Blue Zone Principles promise results in such a short time, I wonder why we have not given it a try before now. If only our leaders were readers more often than spenders. I guess we can decide the next set, come 2019 – if our votes truly count.

As for me, I am going to spend a bit of time each day, trying to figure out a way to bring this about in my environment. Do you know anyone who can help kickstart a movement?

Daydah, September 23, Writer

My birthday is in a few days, and while I am nursing a bad cold, and trying to get work done, I am actually not looking forward to it this year.

I will tell you why.

For as long as I can remember, I have always tried to make my birthday, a day of joy for others. I plan matchmaking parties (got many friends hitched this way), or outings, or even lunches, where I go the extra mile to cook up a three course meal.

But this year, I just want to run away. I want to sit and reminisce on all the years of my life. I want to contemplate on where I am now, and how I have miraculously survived on my own, as a single mother for the past two years. I want to sing to myself, laugh at my memories, cry to a stupor and smile as I remember my son’s antics.

I would prefer a spot where I can be part of nature for a while, just listening to the birds chirping, the wind rustling the leaves, or the sea lapping at the shore.

Just for 48 hours.

But I can’t.

I have to be there, for others once again.

This time, I know most of the people that will reach out on Sunday will be those who care about me; those who are still not used to the idea that I might have died in 2017 and there was nothing they could have done to save me; those who remember the old jovial happy me of about a decade ago, and long to see her once again, shining with warmth, hugging everyone within reach.

I long for her too.

Ever since I got back, I catch a glimpse of her sometimes, hear her boisterous laughter once in a while. I know it will take time to heal, so I am patient with her. I know all the broken pieces of her shattered heart can only be put together in time, but I wonder.

Can the broken edges can be sealed up once again? Can she ever love again? Can she ever remember the pain and not hurt inside?

I got a mail from NaNoWriMo today. Someone there remembered my birthday. The letter encouraged me to prioritize my creativity. While it may be just another promotional newsletter to the writer, it touched me because a part of me that I wish I could revive, is my creativity.

I wish I could make one-of-a-kind stone bead jewelry again. I wish I could write again, with gusto, and actually finish a piece. In time, again, I guess.

One of the things mentioned in the mail that I did immediately, was to check for famous writers and authors born in September too.

I did not find any one for September 23. I could not believe it! I checked IMDb, and Famous people, but could not find any author, only songwriters, and lots of actors. Then I checked On This Day, and saw some, but none of them was born in my generation!

The most recent writer (not songwriter), is Peter Allen David, an American writer born in 1956. He’s still alive, known as PAD, and writer of comic books like Incredible Hulk, Aquaman, Super girl and more (maybe I should consider writing comic books eh?). He also wrote Ben 10: Alien force. I like him already 🙂

So for this generation, I submit to you,

Adedayo “Daydah” Makinde, Nigerian writer born in 1984.

Watch out for that name 🙂

Cool Lady: Titilade Adeniran

I just read a feature at SMEPeaks and I have to say I am impressed. Titilade Adeniran is popularly known as Titilade Railings, and is the first female Nigerian to own and lead a firm in the decorated railings industry.

Here’s the interview for your consumption: https://smepeaks.com/2018/08/06/titilade-railings-nigerias-female-engr/

 

Cool Find: Mystery Shopper

Back in 2006, I was a student, looking for several ways to earn money. I have always been fascinated with working online, and working remotely, so when I found Bare International, despite the misgivings of the people around me, I plunged in and tried it.

Bare International provides businesses with the opportunity to get information about their businesses that they could not otherwise attain directly. They help get answers to questions like:

How much are customer service issues costing my business? Am I missing opportunities to engage my customers? Why are my sales down? I have data about my business but how do I interpret it? How do I identify the real problem points in my business?

Bare International operates in more than 100 countries and has completed over 50,000 evaluations all over the world. No region is too tough for them to penetrate.

Enough praise – the real deal about BAI is that ordinary people like you and me get to make some money doing things we would ordinarily do like shopping at a grocery, taking an exam, buying make up or receiving money via Western Union. Sure, there are instructions on how to act, but you have to keep your eyes and ears open to gather all the information requested.

I enjoyed doing it because I got to be someone else for a few minutes. I remember one occasion that I had to act being an ignorant belligerent Western Union recipient at a bank. Even I laughed at my performance when I left the place. The poor attendant was so harried, I almost stopped and told her its only an act. Almost.

The pay, at least, is small change, but it covers the cost of transportation to the location, and sometimes you get reimbursed e.g. when paying for an exam or buying a cocktail at a bar (yes, you could choose a job to evaluate a cocktail bar!).

You can also take on evaluations if you travel outside the country – just set it up in your profile. I can imagine travelling and doing mystery shops that will at least cover some of my return ticket costs. You can also earn money (up to $25) referring friends, family and enemies to the Evaluator program.

Awesome!

 

Cool Tool: Namechk.com

Ever wanted to know if someone else was using your chosen name or brand name elsewhere? Well, this cool tool actually checks all over the web for you, and within few seconds too!

I found it on Pinterest, while searching for essential oil blends (story for another day). I saw the pin in passing, and decided to give the tool a try. It’s really fast! And the results pane is so intuitive – within seconds, you get to assimilate a lot at once.

Apart from showing you where your search word is in use, it also shows you were its not yet in use. I’m definitely signing up to the available sites as soon as possible.

You should check it out too, if you are serious about online branding for yourself or your firm.

After my phone got stolen

So my phone got stolen some weeks ago. It was a rainy day and I had looked away for about 2 minutes, but I guess the thief was already monitoring because he was quick. So I was faced with the daunting task of securing my phone line to prevent fraud.

I cannot emphasize this enough – do regular backups to the cloud. It was when I lost my phone that I found out my last backup was months ago. So many pictures, documents and audio recordings were “gone with the wind”.

I had to try hard to remember the apps I had on the phone and block them accordingly. some of them include:

  1. Google Accounts – Change your password. Do security check up using this page. Also remove the device from your Google Play device list.
  2. Linkedin – I found a very useful article that enabled me to log out of other Sessions on this page.
  3. WhatsApp – Do you use the WhatsApp app a lot? I do, and especially for business. It was important that I deactivate my account immediately, to avoid impersonation. I found a WhatsApp article that instructed me to send an email immediately to them to deactivate my account.
  4. Facebook – On this Facebook page you get to see where you are logged in, and log out of the stolen device instantly.
  5. Authy – Do you use Authy for 2 Factor Verification? Then you need to request for a reset. This is tricky because it will send a message to the phone line that was used when registering the app. If this is the stolen line then you will have to find a work around. It will also send an email to your registered email, so its not too much of a bother.

After I got a new phone, I had to reinstall the apps and set them up again. I also activated the Google Find My Phone feature which allows me to do things like play sound, even if on silent, secure my device, or sign out of Google on the device.

The phone that was stolen from me was a Samsung Galaxy Prime Plus, and my real loss was my 10 year old reliable SD card in it – I was constantly complaining of the lack of space on the device, and I could not even install half of all the apps I was used to having on the former device.

The loss gave me an opportunity to explore another brand, but definitely not Techno. My terrible experience with Techno W3 is not something I want to remember or go through again.

All in all, I hope I can keep this new phone for longer, and also keep my data safe.

 

 

Cool Tool: Wattpad

Today makes it seven days I have been without my phone. It was stolen while I was attending a meeting, with Jaden in tow, but the story of July 21, 2018 will be written another day. Today its about Wattpad.

I used to write a lot of stories, and took to blogging like a fish takes to water, but along the way, life happened and I found myself writing less. I joined a group called IBcoco to ensure I wrote more often, about two years ago, but I find that story-telling, which was what drove me to writing in the first place, was missing in my posts.

So I took to writing a bit at a time, on my phone. I lost a half-finished story when my phone got stolen seven days ago. My heartache drove me back to Wattpad and I began writing afresh.

What is Wattpad?

Wattpad is the best place to read and share stories. It’s the place where stories are redefined.

Wattpad is a community for readers and writers to publish new user-generated stories in different genres, including classics, general fiction, historical fiction, non-fiction, poetry, spiritual, humor, and teen fiction.[5] It aims to create social communities around stories for both amateur and established writers.[6]

The platform claims to have an audience of more than 65 million users, who can directly interact with the writers and share their opinions with fellow readers.[7]Although available in over 50 languages, 77% of its content is written in English.[8] A number of Wattpad users are translating stories to continue to build the platform.[8]

I have been on Wattpad since 2009, but mainly for reading stories. Wattpad offered mobile reading solutions from then, and I loved the ability to read anywhere any time. You can also vote for your favorite stories and comment.

The site has evolved to more than just a reading service, and even offers awards called Watty Awards, to the best and highest voted writers on the platform.

If it were not for Wattpad, I would not have found PreOrdained, a wonderful Nigerian story of hardship, choices, and victory, by Ad_zy1. Nor would I have found the story of the year 2015, Storm and Silence by Robert Thier, a juicy read that also teaches you about the old English aristocracy and culture.

I hope to complete my stories soon, and this time, share them with the rest of the world.