Written by Efosa Aiyevbomwan, a staff of Sesema PR, for Y!Naija

It is often said that you never know what you’ve got until it’s gone. This statement plagued my thoughts earlier this month, when I got a call from an old friend saying he’d just had an emergency operation- something to do with an almost ruptured appendix.

Now this was someone I had hardly seen in recent times, but our friendship is well over 20 years old. It goes without saying, therefore, that we also share mutual acquaintances. It was thus no surprise that, on the fateful evening when I stopped by the hospital to see him, I met some other long lost friends. The rest of the evening was spent outside the hospital, with the collective of (healthier) friends laughing, catching up over drinks. We reminisced on past happenings, and certain infamous deeds – hallmarks of our mischievous antics as boundlessly energetic young men. All the lost years seemed to disappear and we were back to being ridiculously mischievous kids again – albeit with talk of “who’s getting married next”.

In that fleeting, blissful moment, I thought about the triviality of life. Prior to this time, I had fussed about other recent happenings, happenings that I see now as inconsequential. I had seemingly occupied myself with the banal theatrics of everyday living, failing to hold on to those people who, through sometimes the most mundane of ways, chart the course of your life forever. The men who gathered around the table with me contributed in many ways – some simple, some grand – to making me the man I am today.

Friends often go un-thanked when we celebrate life’s victories or triumphs. Whilst we are always quick to thank God and family, we are slower still to thank those who played with us on the school-playground, those who shared with us the drama and pressure of school and other demands of life; those who ran with us when we could, and stopped to pull us on when we couldn’t. Life’s too short to not share with those who matter, those who have proved to you, time and again, that they’ll always be there.

And so it was that I left the hospital that evening a tad tipsy, not just from the consumption of cheerful brew, but from the healthy exchange of a hitherto thought extinct class of banter.

With the noise and madness that is the modern world, it is indeed important for us to sift through the debris and identify that which is most important to us. The time you spend with people, however fleeting, might hold more meaning later on. Good friends are hard to find and it is indeed important that you keep and cherish them, when you find them.

It’s amazing that it took a moment of near tragedy to understand and cherish the people I had so often taken for granted. It is worth mentioning that my friend was discharged two days later and is expected to make a full recovery. Now I know to take a moment and be thankful. For all things great and small, I am thankful.