Excluding those of you from Africa, do you know who is Komla Dumor?
Until January 19, 2014, I had never heard of the man. Dumor was a presenter on BBC World News and “Focus on Africa”. He died at the age of 41 of a sudden heart attack in his London home. He is survived by his wife and two children. Dumor started as a journalist for Joy FM here in Ghana, was named Journalist of the Year, then was hired by the BBC in London. Apparently for many Africans — not just Ghanaians — he was a role model.
Since his death was reported a month ago, the media here has praised his life seemingly on and on.
Kojo Antwi, a musician, said Dumor’s death was equivalent to those of Bob Marley and Nelson Mandela. (Ridicuous people!) As the commemoration frenzied, Kojo Nkrumah, a radio journalist at Joy FM and member of the Ghana Journalists Association, proposed to give Dumor a state funeral. (Seriously?!) The economy is in shambles but let’s spend a few million dollars to celebrate a dead guy.
I took Dumor’s death as another wake-up call.
“Wow, Dumor was only 41 when he died. I can count with my hands how much older he was than me,” I found myself reflecting. He reminded me of my own near-death experience of sorts. At the nadir, I made a list of the things I wanted to do before the end. Oddly enough, none of those things had to do with material possessions nor professional advancement. Back when I was living in West Los Angeles, I frequently saw young couples with several children in tow. While I was thinking of my bucket list, I found myself wildly jealous of these people who didn’t seem to plan when nor how they were going to support their burgeoning families. They didn’t seem particularly concerned about multiple college tuitions, juggling a family with professional advancement, nor how their lives would pan out exactly. They recognized that children are a reward in themselves. (I’m thinking of one Mormon couple in particular.) They seemed to have turned down the lights and left the protection in the drawer.
I wonder if I’ve been overly cautious in my own personal life. Have I been trying to over-optimize all of my life choices so much that I delay all the important ones?
I know I’m not alone. I can think of several friends in their 30s who seem to be looking for that perfect partner to start a family with. Instead of compromising on their checklist of qualities, they seem to have lengthened their lists. It’s as if they are searching for the mythical unicorn.
Well, I’ve decided to relinquish my own quest for the unicorn. It’s time to put the Excel spreadsheet to the side and just do it. Any day I could drop dead like Komla Dumor. I’ve taken several professional risks. It’s time to ask, “How can I live with less regrets?”