Epiphany: an “Aha!” moment.
As a literary device, epiphany describes the moment when a character is suddenly struck with a life-changing realization which redirects the path the rest of the story takes. Often, an epiphany begins with a small, everyday occurrence or experience.
My epiphany happened a few weeks ago at home. I was preparing to leave for school when my dad called me and asked for my help in knotting his tie. Two things stopped me in my tracks. One, I had never seen a tie around his neck in all my years as his son, so it was a mild shocker. Two, days before that particular day, I had suddenly become anxious because I felt I had forgotten how to knot a tie properly (my ties are all done so I pretty much just wear them). In any case, I picked it up and my hands, seemingly thinking for themselves, wove around and under until the tie was knotted—beautifully, if I might add.
I realized my fear was baseless. I however had to admit to myself that four years ago, I definitely couldn’t have knotted a tie; and I pondered further, in a little introspective exercise, on something called implicit memory. The term bespeaks our ability to do certain things unconsciously without active thought because we have done these things over and over again through the years. Knotting a tie, for example, or tying shoelaces; riding a bicycle, walking home, or climbing the stairs to get to my room on the second floor of my hostel while concentrating on my phone. It kind of makes us take these things for granted; that’s my destination here: taking things for granted.
We do take things for granted, including ourselves. Perhaps we focus on the things yet to be accomplished that we are unable to see how far we’ve come. Faced with an obstacle, we panic, forgetting the many storms we sailed through unscathed. Once upon a time, graduating high school with good enough grades was my biggest fear but years later, now, I find that laughable.
Too often, we give ourselves less credit than we deserve; and this is not to be confused with inflating one’s ego. It’s simply acknowledging our accomplishments and letting them sink in. We did that! We came thus far and whatever the current hardships, we are not weaklings. I do not mean that we should be content basking in the glorious rays of our achievements, but we should never feel like life has gotten the better of us. Years ago, many of us fantasized and dreamt of being where we are now; some of us have made breakthroughs previously thought impossible or reaching. It seemed impossible until we did it. Let us then never feel so beaten that we forget how to get up.
I know I sound like the conventional motivational speaker, and it may come off as ridiculous that all this came from knotting a tie. Regardless, I decided to put these thoughts on paper; and I am hoping they help someone out there feel better and do better. Adios!
This article was written by Bruno Ehirim, 400L Medicine & Surgery, University of Ibadan.