Who am I?

I remember being approached by Leading Ladies Africa about three years ago to be part of the “30 Days of Gratitude” series. I recently stumbled upon my write-up and every word still rings true today.

So, who am I?

Certainty and security of purpose have been my safety guards for as long as I have known myself.

I had cherished so often, the protection that planning my future brought and I pleasured in the success of those plans becoming a reality and celebrated the achievements.

Suddenly and without warning, real life and purpose began to fight for relevance and the more I tried to hold-on to my own idea of a perfect career, life and plan, the further it slipped through my fingers.

While I find myself pushing forward towards accomplishing what I call “my purpose”, the constant need to jump off high walls, walk through unknown paths, and veer off the tarred road to the dusty road can really be unnerving.

I turned 30 this year and had imagined a totally different me at this age but today, I find myself more involved in causes that drive positive social developmental impact, change and making a sustainable difference:

I find myself awake at night writing a report on the long-term rehabilitation plans for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in North-East Nigeria;

I find myself worrying and writing a report and letters to the UK Government on how to eliminate knife crime amongst teenagers;

I find myself being emotionally disturbed by videos of a teenager being beaten up on the street and decide to write a letter half way across the world to ensure he gets justice;

I find myself bothered about young boys growing up on the streets of Lagos, violation of young women and the widening gap between the rich and the poor in Nigeria;

I find myself stopping while driving in Lagos to ensure that a traffic official doesn’t take unfair advantage of an unsuspecting driver who is unsure of the rules and cannot fight for himself;

I find myself at job interviews being asked, “What is most important to you; money, fame or power? I find myself responding, “None of the above, I just want to make a difference”. The potential employer jokes and tells me that I should be applying to charity organisations instead;

I find myself pushing for social impact investments in Nigeria that will create jobs, boost development and change the lives of people;

I find myself wanting to make a difference because that is what brings me real happiness and joy.

As I fight the battle between what I imagined I will be and the journey my purpose is taking me on, I am gradually finding myself and following a path; one that will hopefully lead me to who I really am.

So I say:

I am grateful to God for leading me through the unknown;

I am grateful for the strength and resilience God has given me to take on so many diverse projects;

I am thankful for the journey; the bumpy roads and the smooth drives on the highways;

I am thankful for my great family, friends and mentors;

I am super grateful for a relationship with God that makes everything else pale in comparison;

I am grateful for lessons learned, thankful for the disappointments that turned out to be real blessings and strength of character that I have built in the process;

I am thankful every day for another chance at life and determined not to be a waste of space on earth.

I look forward to 2016 with both excitement and nervousness. The path is completely unwritten, and I look forward to writing the story as the days roll by.

My name is Toluwalola Kasali and I am determined to make a difference in the world. I want to be me and still change lives while being at it. I want someone to go to bed everyday thankful that the Lord has kept me here for another day.

I am thankful for the opportunity to lend myself to causes that matter to me otherwise, life will have little or no meaning. I am therefore and in essence, thankful for life and living.