I have a love hate relationship with this city (Lagos) as many people know. There have been times where I worked myself up into heartache, longing for this city and there have been times where I couldn’t get out any faster. That’s Lagos for you though, one minute sucking you in, and the next spitting you out without so much as a backward glance.
A couple of days ago on twitter, two guys were having a conversation about the cost of living in Lagos for young people (Hey Victor and Koye :)), and I felt like screaming my additions. I have lived here continuously (we are not counting that time I moved for 8months OK?!?) for about 4 years, as an adult, and boy oh boy, it’s a lot.
I feel like I need to write a whole separate post on that but now I really just want to share some tips on making it work out here. Lagos is expensive and exhausting but it’s doable if you’re committed and smart. So here you go.
- Home vs Work – Where you live matters a lot in Lagos, It could be the difference between having dinner every night or becoming bestos with gala and la casera. Cost is a big factor in this, but sometimes, all the money one saves living farther isn’t worth it. Traffic, transportation and distance are important factors to weigh against cost when it comes to where you live so choose wisely.
- Home as a Haven – Related to point 1, after calculating how much time will be spent at home, invest in your home- You might have a tiny one bedroom, live at home with your parents or share a flat with your friends- but wherever it is, put a little effort into making a comfortable and relaxing place for you. Consider paint colours, music and scents. Lagos is stressful so make sure you have a serene place to crash at night.
- Still on this Home matter –Host Host Host– spending quality time with your people is key and entertaining at home is a great way to do it.A Potluck/BYOB situation works out great because you aren’t spending too much or cooking and it will definitely be a more comfortable space. You can be the dj etc It’s cost effective and you get to hang with your people for a few hours.
- Counting coins: Lagos is fun, and there’s lots to do which usually has to do with food aka money- So balancing eating out with cheaper activities is important. Not every time drinks, sometimes freedom park. Outdoor free music events like Afropolitan vibes, poetry reading and open mic thursdays at Bogobiri are all great ways to have fun and not break the bank. I’m not an advocate of wedding crashing but um… whatever floats your boat.
- Dance: Whenever you get a chance to, get your boogie on! At a wedding (you crashed), church praise worship, at home. It’s a great stress reliever, good exercise.
- Transportation: If you have a car yaaay, it makes life a little bearable in this crazy city but can also be a source of frustration, so sometimes, ditch the car- I once took keke napep to work for a week and loved it, all that breeze! I also carpooled with my friends from work for almost an entire year- we took turns driving (by turns, I mean I drove like twice) It eased the stress of driving, saved us money and was a fun way to get around. If you don’t have a car, consider carpooling sometimes, or switching up your regular choice.
- Make. Your. Own. Lunch. #nuffsaid
- Hobbies: Studies have shown that exercising your creative side helps deal with stress. Find something you enjoy doing and get into it. A lot of hobbies incorporate some level of physical activity which makes them a double whammy for releasing endorphins. You need it, take it from a serial hobbyist.
- TIME OUT!: Lagos is one hectic mf. If it’s not spending over 9hrs on the job, it’s sitting in traffic, or the endless number of weddings/birthdays/bridal or baby showers/book launches/meetups etc etc. Not everytime turn up, sometimes sit at home and catch your breath. Take time out for some R&R before you have to dive back in the deep end.
- To wrap it all up-We all know the world is full of – um “not so smart” people. It’s not their fault, they are just made that way( LOL, C so shady). So, when someone cuts you off in traffic/comes at you sideways talking out the side of their mouth. Let it go. I was listening to an On Being podcast the other day (Fantastic stuff! Get into it.) and the gentleman who was being interviewed was talking about how the people who behave in this manner are usually dealing with their own troubles. It’s our place to show some empathy and rise above it.
I wrote this post with my dear friend C, she blogs about personal finance over at Sisi on a Budget, and shares loads of useful info, that we all need do check her out.
Although I’m in Thailand right now, it still felt like the right time to put up this post, especially as I’m considering… but yeah
p.s. Please share this post with someone who loves Lagos, hates it, just moved, is leaving and if you have anything that helps you survive this crazy city I’d love for you to share in the comments.
Photo credit Leke Alabi-Isama of Imperial Media Photography