It’s a bit of a cliche, this phrase, ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ especially considering the widely popular spin-off, ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians.’ I would not advice anyone to try either… you simply cannot keep up with someone else’s life or expectations for the simple reason that you have a different life to live from the one you are trying to live. [Read this again and you will get it!!!]

Someone described December as a ‘high maintenance’ month and I think we all know why. Sometimes it feels like one works throughout the year just to save monies to spend during the two-week vacation that we call ‘Christmas.’ There are trips to be made, clothes and shoes to be bought, gifts to be wrapped, goats and cows to be slaughtered, bags of rice and bottles of oil to haul off, hampers to show appreciation, and a thousand and one other things that require the transfer of monies from account to account and hand to hand. Simply put, we spend more money on a two-week vacation than we spend in six-months… and it’s all good. After all, how else do you reward yourself for working so hard all year long? If you get the opportunity to let down your hair at the end of every year, why not take it with both hands? Why not indeed?

Well, what if you really cannot afford it? What if your account is gasping and you know that it cannot survive the upcoming splurge on Christmas paroles? For most people, it would be easy to have a quiet Christmas if they did not feel the pressure to impress the extended family. Imagine having to shatter everyone’s expectations- Everyone is traveling, how can you not? Everyone is buying a goat, what about you? Everyone is shopping at Ruff ‘n’ Tumble…did you just mention Balogun market? For your children’s party clothes? What about the Christmas tree? Why are there no wrapped gifts from your family underneath it?

God forbid there is a major ‘owambe’ planned for the period as well, your account is under-performing and one sibling keeps asking, ‘But when are you sending the money now?’ Or there is a grand gift planned for a parent and your contribution is the minutest.

How do you keep up with the Joneses especially when they are your family? [Because no one else can really put you under pressure to ‘perform’ unless you allow it.]

For me the answer is found in the Bible, in one sentence… “The Truth Shall Set You Free.”

~ Unstoppable Jennie

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