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People that know me know that I live an active life. I love tennis; I try to play an average of 6 hours of the game every week, which comes up to about 3 times a week. I work out quite regularly: a good number of push-ups and squats most mornings. I have no trouble in using the stairs, even when there is a lift. I used to go to spinning classes. I take long walks. I like taking my phone calls on my feet. I enjoy all these. They keep me healthy, allow me to believe I am in control, make me think better and helps relieve stress.

You see, these are activities and habits that have become part of me. I enjoy them and look forward to doing them with little or no effort. I don’t regard them as privileges as believe I should do them since I enjoy them and can do them. I have gotten so used to them that I have never considered showing any gratitude whatsoever for them. If I were to make a list of things I’m grateful for none of these will make the list.

All this changed, several weeks ago, when I ruptured my achilles tendon while playing tennis. Besides the excruciating pain I felt at the time it happened, the continuous discomfort and my limited mobility since the injury, I now realize that Gratitude is one of the most underrated human emotions. It has taken this injury, to remind me that the ordinary things I do, enjoy and take for granted every day are not so ordinary after all which is why the words of Robert Brault resonates so much at this time “Appreciate the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” 

This 5 weeks with my leg in a cast and my use of crutches has made me see life in a whole new different way. It has given gratitude a whole new meaning for me as things I had taken for granted have now become very big things in my life. Of course, tennis is out of the question, for now. Climbing a flight of stairs now is like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro without climbing gear. Push-ups I can manage, but not squats. Life has been limited in several ways but as a person of faith, I know this happened for a reason: to let me slow down and realize that I am not in control after all. For this, I am so grateful. Mine was just a tendon rupture, others haven’t been so lucky with cases of fatal heart attacks during sports, preventing them from ever having the chance to appreciate what they had.

As I count down on the days left before my cast is taken off, so I can resume my “active” life, I reminisce on the weeks that have gone by so far and realize it wasn’t so bad after all. The time with my family has been invaluable, with each doing their best to make me very comfortable. I read more books and already met my year’s reading target. I learned new lessons, seen things from different and newer perspectives and even been more productive at work, though remotely. I am now committing to spending more of my time in appreciating what I have and living life in such a way that every minute counts. These days we focus so much on the challenges of life and forget to show gratitude for the good things happening around us. This won’t be me anymore as I now realize how privileged I am and for this, I am so grateful. The words of Albert Einstein sum it all up for me “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” I have made my choice. How about you?

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Oyaje Idoko is an entrepreneur and the Founder of a leading IT company in Nigeria. He started his entrepreneurial journey from the young age of 12 and worked barely 5 years after graduation from the university before founding Layer3, a very successful company he has been running since 2005.

Oyaje has always been interested in inspirational stories and has a large followership of readers of his “My Friday Stories”, a collection of inspirational stories from different authors and a few of his, which he sends every Friday. He is also very interested in writing and public speaking and hopes he can develop the skills needed to be an effective writer and public speaker someday so he can impact the world positively.

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