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On Being Jaded

It hurts. (Image taken from


I remember thinking the conversation a bit dramatic.

We were in first year, Jide and I, and it was one of those idle days where all we had to do was gist, waiting for one lecturer or the other. We used to have deep conversations, we still do. In almost ten years of our friendship, I can’t remember having a frivolous discussion with Jide. (Yes, we’re boring like that.) I can’t remember what the exact topic was but I remember Jide saying something like “I pray to never get jaded or used to mediocrity. It worries me, sometimes, I see a dead body lying on the road and feel nothing. I want to always feel something.”

This was 2004. Before Boko Haram and its bombings. Before Aluu. Before Bellview and Sosoliso and Dana. Before violent elections that killed NYSC members. And I remember thinking, I’ll never be jaded either.

It’s a resolution I fight to keep. Because it’s too easy, right? Too easy to get used to the statistics. The bad news pours in and we get drowned, suffocated by the deaths and our own helplessness. We get inured. We can’t help it because the alternative; to have each death get to us and the grief find a place in our hearts, places a burden. It hurts too much. It sets us up for heartbreak. It’s difficult.

But it’s right.

We have to place the premium on human life. We have to let it hurt. Have to let it get to us. Have to let it burn. We have to put ourselves in the shoes of the victims’ families and loved ones. We can’t afford to do less. Because those are our children that are being murdered in their schools, those are our friends that are dying in plane crashes, it is our siblings that are being mobbed in the street. The difference between them and us is luck.

We are not safe, and we can’t bury our heads in the sand. It won’t just go away. The lives that are so carelessly being forfeit, are our lives too. The dreams so casually tossed away, they are our dreams. We can’t not raise a fuss. This. Is. Life. We can’t create Life. And you can argue that people die everyday, it’s inevitable. But we also have the right to die with dignity, and to not have the date be rushed forward by someone else’s carelessness or brutality. I, You have a right to live.

There is no worse desolation than losing a loved one in a split second.

I can never forget her. The mother who lost 3 children in the 2005 Sosoliso crash. I still see her face. The image from the TV is seared in my mind and I will never forget her. I tried to imagine how it felt, and couldn’t. Nobody should have to go through that.

And you might say, But how do we change anything? I don’t know. I don’t know. But I know we do ourselves and humanity a disservice when news of death is shrugged off as business as usual. It can’t be. We should never be complacent.

When it hurts, we find our outrage. And when we’re outraged, we try to fix it. The trying is all.


  1. Abdul says

    Good write-up Osemhen, your writig style is evolving. You’ll soon be poised to write a best seller.

  2. This exact thoughts have run through my mind a million times as i watch little kids in traffic hawking, their lives in danger or listen to the news and hear about a new explosion or plane crash or terrorism attack or buiding collapse. I don’t want to be jaded but the truth is i am. It’s my mind protecting itself, several times i’ve been depressed that the world is so sad, especially on this side of town. Yes, there’s the momentary outrage at the ridiculousness of our disensitivity but then things go back to business as usual. It is sad. Incredibly. But it is me adapting, the human that i am. Now i just do my little bits but outrage? consistent outrage is not sustainable. Yes, i hope and pray my loved ones never get involved, hell i hope the madness stops altogether but, hoping has never been enough and i feel my hands are tied. The little i can, i’m doing. This is a lovely post, for what it’s worth i was outraged while i read. But i’m back to working, hoping things will be better.

  3. “The trying is all”
    Maybe, when we do our part benevolence will fix the rest.
    Your words this morning gave me a new perspective to national tragedies.
    My Condolence to the families of the victims of the crash.
    God Bless Nigeria, today!

  4. Olise' says

    We can’t afford to be complacent. We will merely exist if the injustice around us does not spur us into action. Let’s go!

  5. Onyeka .O. says

    I hear you speak from the depth of your heart:i hear the cry of a true citizen that cares:i feel the pain of a realistic being.

    As far as i can go, it’s so painful to know that life goes on even after such a loss has been experienced. Nothing is done,no root cause analysis to determine the cause of the problems. Unfulfilled lives are deterred abruptly just like that,and all we do is just sit back and watch.

    Who would rescue us from all this:i ask,who would wipe away our tears. It is well my people. Cry no more:for our Redeemer would someday.
    Beautiful write up Osemhen.

  6. Mercy says

    I also refused to be jaded…but the hurt, misery and pain just keeping coming , one not too far behind the heels of the other. There’s so much grief one human can take….but I will try… Well done Osemhen.

  7. The helplessness is the ultimate headache. The fact that there is nothing we can do about it; and more hurting that those that can DO something are not even trying!

  8. I think we’re all doing our bit – by sharing what we feel, what we know. By voicing our worries, we call ourselves out, we raise our hands for help, we remind our consciences what we’ve written. Said. Aspired to.

    We take it one step at a time, one day at a time and we make a difference. In sharing a kind word, giving a smile, teaching that stranger how.

    We never give up on ourselves. Then we never give up on others. We somehow stay feeling, wondering, caring. Fear not…..your heart remains firmly where it is!

    Regardless of how crazy Artillery junction is at 7am on a weekday. I wont get started 🙂

  9. I am broken reading this… I thought it was okay to join the crowd and not show sentiments. i even concluded that it was my being Nigerian but slowly, my value for human life has decreased to a minimum.. We just simply move on.. sadly, till we drop and then others move on..

  10. This is quite an old post, but I specifically searched on Google “Eureka Naija On Being Jaded”. I am thankful for Google. I remembered you blogged about this, and really felt like reading it again. Two years later, it’s still very relevant. I think I am becoming jaded. Because the alternative is really hard, and can sometimes make a worrier like me sink into a type of depression. Everyday, one news or the other, all over the world. Does it ever end? Yet, as a Christian, I can’t turn a blind eye to these things. I can hope though, and pray, and still keep living. Anything, but to be jaded.

    • Hi, Ife. Glad this post made such a deep impression on you. The Bible says, “In all things, give thanks.”
      Jesus also asks us to cast all our worries on him. He’s carrying all the load for us. All we have to do is love. Love him, love our neighbour. Pray and let it go. One day, it’ll all make sense.

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