People are often too quick, to say that ‘The grass is never or barely is greener on the other side. But like really, what if it is?
How would you know what shade the grass on the other side is, without checking it out to kill that curiousity especially if your grass isn’t green at all or refusing to improve its shade after investing all your effort on it?
I really do not know if people say this out of fear or to convince themselves they don’t deserve better.
For me, sometimes a different shade of green is exactly what we all need.
Yes, I am that woman. The one who spent her entire teen and early twenties, working round the clock to build a career with a very low social life.
The one who was daily occupying her youth with projects and various educational courses and trainings, and sacrificing for everyone else, thinking I alone, could save the world.
In hindsight, I did miss out on a whole lot of things; a real university experience like my mates and lots of activities that could help mould me to becoming a more extroverted strong woman with a decent social life as well. I never attended parties and neither was I ever given the freedom of making friends at will. Every bit of my life was controlled. My parents were very strict and ancient; but I love them still though. You can’t blame them either. That’s the way they had been groomed to pass on their family legacies. Considering too, that I was of a generation wilder than theirs. I guess it made them more protective, which to me was harsh. My mum was a teacher and I also was the daughter of an ex soldier boy. Yes, I was a brat!
So you see, I missed out on a lot. Just a very small circle of friends under strict supervision; even though we once in a while sneaked to do stuff we shouldn’t hide at all to do. That’s how I missed out on a whole lot. I wasn’t even permitted to join social clubs in school or attend club sessions after classes in other schools like the interact or drama clubs which I really loved. I was only accepted to join the press club after a whole lot of persuasion. I remember being locked out of the house once, for attending a press induction ceremony at one of the schools at Gborokiri, in Port Harcourt, Rivers state. By the time my mum had finished with me that day, I held a funeral session in honour of every single interest left in me to continue being a member of the press club too.
So basically, I lived my early life with more of work and less; very little play.
On top of all of that, I still had an intense desire to succeed and build the career of my dreams against especially my dad’s wish of me becoming a doctor.
I wanted to attend a university outside Port Harcourt because I had practically lived my whole life there and besides reading in books and journals and watching on TV, I had no glimpse of what Aba or Abuja or even Ibadan looked like. I got admitted first into the University of Maiduguri to study Mass Communication but my parents declined. They wouldn’t even agree to hear me speak of it, so I ended up at the University of Port Harcourt with me spending almost all my weekends at home till my later years. It’s not like I wanted or craved to live a wild life, but at least, like my other mates, I wanted to be given the freedom to make choices, lead a good social life with my friends, join my friends in exchanging holiday visits with their families or attend family functions of my friends’ families. All of these help in building a broader understanding of a child’s mind and helped them attain a better social status. I always felt left out whenever my friends returned from such trips and I had no contributions to make about places they’d had visited or had no knowledge of who their other siblings were. It gave their relationships a stronger bond and then I wouldn’t be able to ‘feel among’ like we used to say then. So, I became more introverted and lived all I ever wished for only in my head. I created a lot of stories in my head and I believe it was part of what led me to becoming a writer. So, in as much as I didn’t actually live a very colourful young life and was very stereotyped, in my head, I was Cinderella, Princess Diana and just anyone I fancied at that time.
That didn’t really do me much good still and it also didn’t make me a happy social child.
My real social life begun, after all of my vibrant youthful life had almost passed by. It started at work. Here I met people, lots of people from every class and background. My job demanded I travelled a lot and this was lots of fun. A new horizon had been opened up to me, but I couldn’t make use of it. I’d become so dependent on my parents. I was taught to work hard and make money, but wasn’t taught how to invest it. I met people, people were paying to meet with and I had no idea what I could benefit from keeping such contacts or building healthy relationships with them. I knew nothing about it. I didn’t grow up like that. I would always rather become protective and read meanings from every gesture. Nothing had changed actually, it was same old me.
Funny, my job worsened it all. I became more introverted. 24/7 round the clock I was working. No time for myself or to even build the numerous dreams I’d labored all of my early years for. No time to keep in touch and build up my little circle of friends. So, what was I going to do with all of the money, with no good time or friends to enjoy it with?
With time, after working with four first ladies and building a good career for myself, I began craving for more. To build my dreams; Yes, to everyone I am successful and have a dream job. And, yes; I worked very hard and sacrificed a lot to get here.
Even when on rare occasions, when at work we got to do fun things, I do not have a trained mind to stop and really saturate the moment. Almost always, I find myself mentally and physically enthralled with work, yet unfulfilled, because when you’re a woman of dreams like me, unless you feed your mind, what it desires, you remain unfulfilled.
Yes, the success and money were worth it. Yes, the experience too was great, and overtime, I had gained some confidence and a few connections too, which were actually worth it. On the other hand, it was not worth missing out on a lot of things I missed out on. Family events, friends’ invitations and lots of activities from loved ones. And all these are times I can never get back because I have always been one who craved or and loves a good strong united family filled with lots of love and happy moments and I also love to have sweet moments with friends.
So since I became tired of complaining and watching my life go by, I decided to do something about it and take that leap of faith I have always dreamed about. I decided I was going to make all of my dreams a reality. Yes, I had my fears and insecurities of how I was going to make it if I left my job or was thrown out of it for all of the moments I now stay away trying to build my dreams coupled with the state of the economy.
I began sowing seeds to build one of my dreams; a publishing house. So today, we have THE MANGROVE HOUSE PUBLISHERS, with two titles to our credit already. We’ll sure get to our peak in due time too. We also today have a fashion house; ZIPS AND BUTTONS COUTURE as a recently conquered dream with great heights to achieve.
I still have a budding writing career and other side attractions by the side.
And for one with a beautiful and very active daughter like mine, I need all the time in the world to be there for her anytime she needs me and now I’m glad she has it like she really never did earlier on.
So in this short time too of throwing my fears aside regardless of what may happen, and trying to confirm if the grass could actually be greener at the other side, a lot has happened. I believe comfort zones always make us believe the grass is never greener on the other side. You know, the better be safe than sorry kind of ideology.
I’m no longer following rules and I’m keeping away my fears too. Who set the rules? And who says I must follow your rules to fulfill my destiny anyways. These days I’ve become more sociable and open, I’m meeting people and seeing the world through my own eyes, not from the eyes of others or papers and TV.
Now, I don’t feel imprisoned in my job or life anymore. I’m beginning to live it, and it feels great. It’s liberating in fact, that I’m finally winning both ways; with family, friends and loved ones. So my advice to you, keep the fear aside and the thought that the grass is never greener on the other side, because you might truly regret it at last.
So is the grass greener on the other side you may ask? In my case, YES! Sure it is and I bet it will even get greener trust me. Too many birds already caught since I dropped the one in my hand. So yes also, a bird at hand for me isn’t much, but a stumbling block my way and really not worth all the lot I’m already getting from in the bush.

Timi Ovuru