Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Big Three-Oh!

I can’t even remember that day clearly but according to my journal entry –which by the way cannot lie – the date says 8th December 2002 and the title says “Thirty things I would love to do in all of my life time!”

And then I proceeded to make this list of mine but somehow, I only stopped at number 26. I wonder why? Okay, lemme just give you guys a sneak peek into my dream list…. The words in parenthesis are my thoughts on the issues now.

  1. Learn to drive. (Imagine? How come that was number 1? I must have really thought driving was a BIG deal huh? ‘kay that one’s accomplished already, been driving for more than a year now!)
  1. Learn AutoCAD (Wow AutoCAD was THE software then! Everyone was raving about it. If you wanted to be a relevant engineer, then the AutoCAD way was the way! That’s also accomplished too and even more. In my 5 year career as an engineer, I’ve learnt to use five other more advanced engineering software!)

  1. Go to MIT (Now that’s one dream that’s still sitting on my list untouched. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Back then, I wouldn’t hear of any other school! And not that I didn’t try. I wrote my GRE and scored 1200, Wrote my TOEFL, applied to the school blah, blah, I got rejected and I promptly dropped the idea. Fickle of me I know. But I’ll get round to it again. Soon I hope!)

  1. Get married to the most wonderful man in the world! ( ) (Yeah, I left the parenthesis like that in my list ‘cos I didn’t know who it was going to be. Sure enough, approximately 1 year after I made that list, I met him! Of course I didn’t know it was ‘him’ then. We got married 4 yeas after. Mwuaah! Kisses P.! He’s absolutely the most wonderful man in all the earth! My special gift from God! I love you loads dear!)

  1. Acquire my first piece of land before I’m 35. (hehehe! Did that when I was 26. And I’m in the process of purchasing another!)

  1. Write at least 10 books. (Hmmm, me and books! I’ve started writing at least 3books but I’ve never finished any of them! I don’t even think any of them will be part of the ones I’ll eventually write. Hehehe! If I could just settle down….)

  1. Raise godly children. I’d like to have 3. (I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I married a man who wanted 3 kids too! Right now, I’m thinking I’d like to have had all of them by the time I’m 36 that means I should have the first one in my 30th year. Amen to that!)

  1. Own a jeep of my own in addition to 2 other cars. (I bought my first car last year and guess what kind it was? Yeah! My very own SUV! I had already driven it for 6months before I ran into this list again. I had completely forgotten I’d ever written anything like that down!)

My list contained lots of other stuff about traveling the world, getting involved in missionary work, learning music, learning to cook all sorts etc. A lot of stuff on that list has already been accomplished and there are many more waiting to be. I’ll complete the list to 30 and I’ll start another!

Okay why I’m showing you guys my list? Well just in case the title of the post doesn’t say it loudly enough, it’s my 30th birthday today!! I am thirty years old!! THIRTY! I have lived thirty years on this earth? My, my! But I don’t feel thirty! Should I feel thirty? Is there any feeling attached to thirty? Lol!

I wrote that list of mine approximately 7 years ago. I was 23 then and see how full my life has been since then! It sure didn’t seem that way while the years passed…I had my heart broken a few months after that list, I gathered myself together and moved on, My dad became sick, his company crumbled like a pack of cards, my dad died, I served my nation for one year, matured a bit, watched momc try her hands at business, I met this great guy, I searched and searched for a job, I got a phone call inviting me for a test, I got another inviting me for an interview, I waited and waited, I got another call congratulating me on my appointment!, I learned the ropes of the job, I got my very first chance to leave the shores of this nation, matured some more, P. proposed to me, I changed jobs, got promotions, got more proficient in my skills, learned the ropes of investment, lost a good deal of my money, matured some more, got married….my life has been full!

My birthdays usually fell/falls around the Easter period so I never really got to celebrate them in school. Once in primary school though, I got the chance when my mother had the bright idea of having my birthday celebrated along with my younger sister’s during a school term. I was sooo excited; I couldn’t sleep the night before. There were cartons of biscuits and vip all over just waiting to be loaded onto the school bus the next day. My new dress was hanging in momc’s room. I didn’t have to wear my school uniform like all the other ‘ordinary’ kids. I felt so special and relished the furtive and sometimes outright questioning looks I got from the other kids. I wanted to scream for everyone to hear – “it’s my birthday!!!” I was treated specially throughout that day. Frankly that was the first time I got any special treatment from anyone other than my parents. I felt so important! My heart was almost bursting with new emotions I could barely contain let alone describe! I floated on a cloud all day.

I still had some of that cloud under my shoes when I got to school the next day but they quickly disappeared when my teacher looked right through me as I entered the class and other kids treated me normally. I was disappointed but I quickly adjusted and tucked the memory of the previous day somewhere in my heart under the file name –“Birthday special feelings”

The next time I got the chance to celebrate my birthday was my final year in secondary school. As usual, I only got the chance because all form 6 girls were in school for extension classes in preparation for SSC Exams.

The rules were simple. Spread the word that your birthday was coming soon. Arrange with one of the house mistresses to cook your rice at her house. On the D-day, dress your bed with a really nice bed sheet – preferably one we’ve never seen before and wait for the gifts to arrive! There was one kink however, be prepared to live with the ‘shame’ of not getting any gifts after dressing your bed and waiting all day. So don’t start if you’re not up to it!

A little digression here if you please.

Your popularity and value in school then was usually judged by the number of beds that were required to contain your gifts on your birthday! You would usually have a ‘committee of friends who watched out for junior gals bearing gifts in the general direction of your hostel apartment. They’d rush to the girl and ask who the gift was from. And then depending on the size or perceived value of the gift, they’ll start screaming and announcing the approaching gift! All the hype! Lol!

And then there were those who weren’t so popular. They didn’t dress their beds with the special bed sheet until they’d received at least a few cards and a few gifts. That way, they saved their face in case things didn’t ‘go very well’.

At the very bottom were the most pathetic of the lot. These ones usually bought themselves several gifts and several cards and arranged for them to be brought to them by junior gals in the name of other seniors. Some wouldn’t even go that far, they’d just dress their beds and proceed to bring out their ‘gifts’ from their lockers in full view of everyone! Hahaha! Na wa o!

Okay back to my narration. I followed the rules. I announced to everyone my birthday was approaching. Thankfully, everyone was aware of the fact that I’d never before celebrated my birthday in school the previous 5 years. So there was a level of excitement there. Thank God! If there was going to be any ‘shame’ it’d be a small one. The rice was cooked but I just didn’t have the nerve to dress my bed till the first few gifts met me on my undressed bed! I quickly dressed it and put on my birthday smile. Would you believe it? By the end of that day, I had two beds dressed and filled with gifts and cards! I was overwhelmed! Again I reached into the recesses of my heart and found that special birthday feeling. I relived it and added this one to it. I had no idea I had that many friends! I felt so blessed! What a way to bow out of secondary school! That was my 16th birthday.

Two years later, I had left school and JAMB was dealing with me. I enrolled in this jamb lesson and what do you know, my birthday came around again! I’d attended the lesson for about 7months and I’d made some new friends – note that most of my friends from secondary school were from all over the country. Some of them I’ve never met again since and even those in Lagos, I was yet to locate. It was my 18th birthday. My coming of age birthday. The age at which I could finally perm my hair! (Yup, my popc was mean! I could only braid my hair. My afro kinky hair was with me till I turned 18!) I’d announced to everyone it was my birthday. Everything was set. The rice, popcorn, juice, cake, prawn crackers etc. My 18th birthday was going to be the bomb! I’d gone to lesson earlier to remind everyone and I rushed back home to get it all ready. I wasn’t expecting anyone to come until after 2pm when lesson would have been over. By 4pm, I took a chair out to the gate just to see if anyone had lost their way. I was there till 6pm. Still no one showed up. The rice was getting cold, the popcorn and prawn crackers stale, the drinks warm. By 7pm, I took my chair inside, turned on the music and commanded the party to begin! I had the party alright. My able siblings, all 8 of them were in attendance. We ate and drank and danced. We had fun! When I went to bed that night, my pillow was wet with my tears. Tears of disappointment and rejection like I’d never known before. That night, I reached into that folder of ‘special birthday feelings’ and I deleted all the files there. Something not so nice replaced it.

The next day at the lessons, everyone was full of apologies and they brought me gifts up to one week after the fact. I smiled and told them it was okay. None of them knew that none of the others showed up and I preferred to leave it that way. I took the gifts, but they meant nothing to me. I don’t even remember now what they were. Sigh!

Since that 18th birthday, up until now, I have NEVER called anyone to my birthday. I had no idea it affected me so badly but I just don’t do parties! The closest I came to organizing one was my wedding and it was a relief to see so many people there! Funny right? That relief was real still.

What I have done since and this only after I started working, was to order a nice cake and drinks. Cut the cake without much ado. Maybe a few pictures. I’d share the cake and drinks with my colleagues at the office and that’s it. Pretty convenient if you ask me. That way, I take the ‘party’ to them and I don’t give anyone the chance to ‘disappoint’ me.

Maybe I need therapy. No?

I’ll throw a party. I will! Maybe when I’m forty. But before then, I have this secret dream I hope will come true sooner than later.

In my dream, my birthday approaches just like it always does every year. Nothing special is attached to it. A friend (could be anyone at all), somehow manages to get me out of the house. Or better still, lures me out for an innocuous meeting at some restaurant. Something. Anything that doesn’t seem suspicious. As I approach the rendezvous point however, I see these live billboards (you know those types that show motion pictures) with my face on it. I do a double take as my eyes slowly become saucers and my mouth is finding it difficult to stay closed.

Picture after picture pops up and the words “HAPPY BIRTHDAY ENKAY!” splash across the screen. I’m overwhelmed, my heart is beating really fast but I keep walking towards the entrance.

Two well dressed gentlemen approach me just as I reach the entrance.


I’m surprised and I nod “yes?”

“Please come with us”

Now my curiosity is piqued. I’m looking around to see if I can find any familiar face. There is none.

The men lead me to an entrance by the side of the building.

The ambience instantly relaxes me and I only walk a few steps before I realize they are playing one of my favorite songs!

I’m looking into the faces of the young men then for some explanation but they wear blank expressions.

They point to a door and then ask me to go inside. There is a lady there I am sure I’ve never met before but she goes ‘Enkay! You are welcome.”

I smile and start to ask a question but she smoothly brushes that aside. Strangely I feel relaxed. She proceeds to bring out from the closet the most gorgeous dress I have ever seen. I knew instantly it was for me!

Under one hour, she has done a complete makeover on me. She worked expertly on my hair, face, nails etc. I feel like Miss World!

When I open the door, I can see the shock on the faces of the two men. Apparently, they’d stood outside the door the whole time. Keeping guard? Maybe. They lead me through a narrow passage way into what seems like a really large room. It is so badly lit that I can only see a few feet in front of me. Suddenly they are no longer by my side. I reach out and call out “Hello!” No one answers. There’s no sound in the room but I can almost swear I’m not a lone in there.

Suddenly, the lights come on and I am momentarily blinded because they are so bright. And that’s when they all scream – HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Oh! My God!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The whole place is filled with everyone I have ever known all my life! It is a surprise banquet held in my honour complete with a live band! I start crying. They are tears of joy. It’s unbelievable. All this, just for me?.............

The dream hasn’t ended o! But y’all catch my drift right?

Now see how long this post has become!!

I’d just like to thank my Father in heaven for these wonderful fulfilling years he has given me. They have been 30years of beauty that only He could have given me.

Thank you Father!

I love you so much!

Blogville, please dance with me will you? It’s my special dance. My jubilee dance. My dance of thanksgiving. My dance of gratitude.

I look ahead with hope and great expectations. The years ahead are definitely going to be greater than the ones I have seen. This, after all, is the true meaning of my name – NKIRUKA.


tinu said...

happy birthday
May God grant you all ur wishes
may many more years to come with that wonderful husband and children
God bless

Scarlet said...

Happy Birthday Enkay!!!!!
Sending you a cake in the post so be on the look out for it!!!
Gosh you've achieved so much in he 7 years you wrote you list!
Hav a fun filled day

Writefreak said...

Awwwww, sweetie...wishing you the best birthday ever! may this year be your best! Are you saying you and aloted are birthday mates? Wow...this is so cool!
As i read your post, i wish i could hug you...i really hope your dream does come true (actually i wish i could do something about it...only errr...i'd have to know you in real life)
Happy birthday...there's power in our dreams, keep dreaming love!

Good Naija Girl said...

This is a BEAUTIFUL birthday post. I love how you took us from childhood birthdays to the future (lol the dream is what your future birthday will be, right?), and I want to wish you a loud HAPPY BIRTHDAY! May God continue to bless you with health and a good life!

I'm so glad that you've accomplished even more than you expected by this milestone birthday...and you will do much more too!

My World said...

Happy Birthday,dearie....
What a list you got...

BSNC said...

Happy birthday!!!!!!!!

mine is tomorrow. Thank God you have completed most of your list. wow God has been wonderful to you. Have fun :)

*dances the jubilee dance with enkay*

RocNaija said...

Happy birthday Enkay!

Beautiful to see the impact of having dreams and aspirations and how they've impacted on your life..!

Have fun today!

Kemberly said...

Awwww...Enkay....HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEETIE! Your story was very touching, and I wish you all God's good gifts and everlasting blessings in your life.

Have a truly wonderful day.

Hugs and Kisses,


webround said...

Happy Birthday! Many happy returns of the day.

Re MIT: Since you've worked for 5 years, you 'probably' stand a better chance of getting admitted now. MIT does not necessarily pay much attention to GRE scores since most of their applicants would already have that. You have to package your application. For example, they are currently big into technologies for developing countries and sustenability. See an example here. Try and link your application to coming from a developing country (Nigeria) and how your studies/research is focused on developing stuff for that environment or creating sustenable technologies. You can also try the interdisciplinary programs LFM, SDM

Rita said...

Happy Birthday Enkay,

It is so gladdening to see how most of your dreams have been realized and how you are on the journey of fulfulling all of them. May they come to pass.

bumight said...

Happy birthday Enkay!'re my mom's birthday mate!

this ur post brings back memories of boarding school. if you had a school mother/schooldaughter/schoolsister/schoolpet/school lover u're gauranteed to have gifts on ur bed. actually, the larger ur school fomilik (read as family) the better!

Uko said...

Happy Birthday!

simeone said...

wow..happy birthday enkay..God bless you with his ownn special birthday jesus name..
but this ur post long o.dont think i hav ever read a post this long before..but i enjoyed it o..i really dont care about b-day celebrations o...afta talkin to my maker..i'm okay..but the calls and texts and al that make it like a celebration..
bless you..hapi biaday once again..

Tigeress said...


poeticallytinted said...

I am so unhappy. I had this long comment all typed and i lost it somehow! Happy birthday and you are one heck of a lady!

NoLimit said...

Happy birthday gal!!!
I love your bucket list and the fact that you've been able to achieve a great percentage of the things you mentioned!
funny how little things affect our outlook to life unconsciously!
Me thinks you should throw a parry o!
Beautiful post...I'm tempted to go on and on...but I'll keep it "short" and simple...I sure hope you enjoyed your day

Geebee said...

Happy birthday in arrears sis. The wish list thing sounds great and I'm glad you've gotten some of them. So igbawo le ma s'aye fun awa bloggers now?

Ms.O said...

happy belated birthday! I am going to write a list now..:)


Nkiruka, a beautiful name and this was a beautiful post!

Happy belated birthday.

Lolia said...

I like your name too!
And of course I'll dance with you :)
Happy belated birthday! It was mine last week as well. Hope God continues to bless you and your loved ones always and always!
Have a great week xx

Enkay said...

Phew!! My "big Three-Oh" post was a scheduled one 'cos of the long Easter Holidays. I returned just now to find so many wonderful comments.

Thanks a lot people! Thank you!!

Blogville really does rock!

I had a wonderful birthday. Might even do a post to give us a recap.

LG said...

happy bday nwanem nwanyi' may God grant ur heart desires (amen)
*hope cake neva finish o? :-)

Beulah! said...

Happy buffday girlfriend!!!!!!!!!, many glorious, fantastic returns of d day....hmnnn, i am coming over straight away from my cake & other "mende-mendes" ok?

Original Mgbeke said...

I enjoyed reading this. Happy Happy birthday Enkay. I wish you many many more years of blessings, life, peace, love and prosperity.
Your boarding school gist took me back to the good ol' days when such gifts determined if you were a real popular jingo.
I am now inspired to make a list...actually scratch that, I am constantly making lists but never seem to make much progress with them. I will try again sha.
I hope that one of these years you will fashy that whole kini and just do a big ol' parrry!

Enkay said...

@ LG - Thank dear! How u dey? Long time !

@ Beulah! - thanks! you better hurry o befor the 'mede-medes' finish.

@ OM - I definitely will have a bib, big parry complete with a live band! hehehe!

AnyaPosh said...

Awww hunny, you're too special! Those birthday stories brought me memories of both pleasant & unpleasant recollections of the past. I remember the secondary school bit with those girls who gave themselves gifts. It was very unfortunate, too darn sad. I'm glad I never fell into that category.

And that your fantasy of a surprise birthday banquet will become a reality. You need to add that to your list so that it'll also come true. Because it seems that your list is serious magic o! LOL...anyway, all the best gurl, and happy easter!

tobenna said...

Damn! This was a serious a post.
And long too!

Happy birthday NKIRUKA and may the remaining items on your list come to fruition as planned.

BSNC said...

ok i know i didn't see that cake before. its a nice cake. can i have some :)

Original Mgbeke said...

Enkay yes o, we definitely went to the same school. We called beans Bonzo and principal, princey. LOL

Enkay said...

@ Anya - Thanks! Yes, I'll definitely add that party to my new list!

@ Tobenna - Yes o! My longest post ever! Amen to your prayers!

@ BSNC - I still have some left in the fridge. Tell me how to send it and you'll get it!

@ original Mgbeke - I knew it! hehehe!!

Rose said...

Of course we will dance with you....
Happy Birthday Love...

Rose said...

My that's a really lovely Cake!!

yankeenaijababe said...

Lovely lovely cake...this is coming late Enkay. I de sorry my sister but you know YNC wishes you a happy belated birthday from her heart. 30 is a big one my sister, your blessings despite everything is the gift from God. Where there is life, there is hope. I am truly happy for you. God keep you and feel your life with joy everlasting. Cheers!!!

Sting said...

Happy Belated birthday.

Abujamaiden said...

Happy Belated Birthday, blogville will always celebrate and I've had my crying on my pillow birthday moments but thanks to facebook, at least one is guaranteed 100s of wall posts depending on the number of friends.

joicee said...

Happy Birthday to you!
Wishing you all the best.

Adaeze said...

ahhhh How did I miss this! I want to hit my head!
I was away during easter. That's my excuse.
Frustration away -
this post was absolutely lovely. I wish you'd blog more because you are my favorite. Please - let me know when you write those books. I am a guaranteed buyer.
I loved this post, so inspirational and educational about you, so wise! You sum up all your experiences so nicely and made me think about what life is really about. Girl, you are blessed and may you continue to get more blessings. I love your list of goals - I now want to copy you and do the same, it's a really good idea. How wonderful you've accomplished almost every single thing on the list. Funny it seems we met our husbands around the same time. I am a few years younger than you though :-)

Happy, happy belated birthday. I hope you had a great day and don't mind those people who never showed up when you were 18..These are new days!
Much love

Enkay said...

@ Rose - Thank you dear. I have only just started dancing!

@ YNC - thanks for your good wishes dearie. Amen to the prayers!

@ Sting - Thank you very much!

@ Abujamaiden - Thanks! It's good though that even after the tears we still find a reason to laugh. Facebook and its miracles! lol!

@ Joicee - thanks dear!

@ Adaeze - Wow, that was a long and really nice comment you left me. Thanks a lot! Now you make me want to get down to writing those books right away! thanks!

Uchenna said...

WOW. just discovered this blog and it is really interesting, HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!! I am def. a believer in writing down all the things one needs to accomplish, and now u have inspired me to go BIGGER with my DREAMS!!

THIRTY + said...

Wow so you are now 30+ lol.

A very belated Happy Birthday.

aloted said...

birthday mate!! lol..omo this post was loooong o..

i will join u very soon ;-)

May God continue to bless you and yours

Enkay said...

@ Uchenna - Thanks for stopping by!

@ Thirty+ - At last! you finally come by my blog. Halleluia! Thanks!

@ Aloted - yes o! Now that I am sure I am older than you. We need to discuss the royalties you owe me! hehehehe!

Shubby Doo said...

happy belated birthday...

Danny BaGucci said...

Happy belated birthday.. Nice stuff you had planned at 23.. Good to see you've made significant progrss on acheiving them!

Anonymous said...

waoh! too bad I'm only getting to read this now...but I still wish u a very belated happy birthday...d big 30 indeed...I look 4wd 2 it too...
I must say I'm truly inspired by ur list n impressed n happy 4u dat u'v achieved most of them...all d best with d rest...

I get how u feel regarding d celebration of ur birthdays...but open up girlfriend...if no one turns up, @ least ur hubby n other loved ones will be there 4 u...

nice post overall...cheers

Olufunke said...


Your life has been full, GOd has been good
May testimonies never cease in your home.

I know you had a very happy and beautiful birthday,
all the same, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
and you will get the surprise birthday party you dream off very soon..........