The most difficult age for any man born in Nigeria should be between 24 and 29 years, the pressure to be something, to be someone is so immense.
When you look around you everyone seems to be doing something for themselves, people seem to be living a life you only dream of. You have applied for jobs and the results have been more disappointing than Yakubu Aiyegbeni penalty kick at the world cup.
Sadly this is the age when most guys lose it, the age when if not careful one is consumed by alcohol or drugs, because the disappointments become too much and you find alternative ways to face reality. Worse is when a few people you studied with have been lucky enough to land jobs, soon your circle of friends gets thinner – mostly they don’t even cut you out but you will be real with yourself and cut yourself off. I mean what will you do when you are in a WhatsApp group of friends and they are discussing about last week’s trip in Dubai and planning another trip South Africa while you are not sure of what your next meal would be?
Most times you follow the conversation silently, all alone like a cross on the grave. Soon you realize this is no longer your kind of crowd because the more you keep around the more the pressure to be something, takes a toll on you. You know when stories about house parties come up and you act deaf because you don’t know where an extra 5 guys would fit in your house. Have you ever sat in a group of people discussing the new iPhone on the market or how British Airways offers poo services and you can feel your heart whisper to you “boss this is chest pain hour, can we just go and find a group that talks about GMAT, SHLn Dragnet, jobberman or job vacancies sites“.
But you sit there as these people are lost in their lifestyle conversations, you are like a secretary taking minutes in meeting. You are totally forgotten like one of a woman’s breasts during pre-intimacy. Once in a while one of the friends will turn and ask if you need another drink and you wonder if you should just say No and head home, but head home to do what? So you grudgingly drop in the comment “I will have just one last one“ Lie.
But after a few years of job hunting, you are now ready to take anything even if is to smell a rich man’s farts as long as it pays , so you end up as an office messenger in one blue chip company in town. To imagine that 4-5 years of studying and getting a degree is now reduced to picking and dropping off letters and if you are not doing that, you are being sent for cheap lunch by the employees when they are broke and they can’t order with fast food. This is when conversations about where people schooled start, you go silent for it’s no longer of any use to say you also reached University, it doesn’t matter – you have resorted to surviving.
Once in while you will bump into your now well to do classmates, they would offer you lunch, but not even eating the meals at Eko Hotel or Sheraton will make you feel better about yourself, because in your mind you wish instead they would give you the 30k and you sort your meals for the next 5 weeks. As it is the norm you will have photos taken, and uploaded on Facebook, but always it’s your face that would look the odd one out – not even the best filters can hide a face which has suffered the city’s dust and sun but survives on boiled beans.
The worst mistake you can do during this period is to try and date – there is nothing that a person going through such times can offer in terms of love. How are you going to do evening romantic walks when you are tired from walking delivering letters in offices around town? What are you going to tell your lady when she says she wants to go for relaxation at the bar, pool or love garden sites that are in town? That your financial religion doesn’t allow it or what? This is the age when you sit back and watch as the ladies you would want to date are dating or getting married to guys 10 years older than you. And you can’t blame them – it’s only that your life seems to be progressing slower than their goals in life. Most of the ladies you meet during this period, if you are lucky will be patient with you till you hit 28, and if by then your life is still in disarray like Liverpool’s and Chelsea’s performance in the EPL then my friend be prepared for a walk out.
But then this is the age when you learn a lot of about life, if you can hack through this stage of life the only hard moment in your life would be when you lose your parents – that’s if you are still lucky enough to have them. This stage teaches you a lot about perseverance, about appreciating the small wins you have each day, it teaches you something about friendship, love, career growth and personal responsibility. This is always your rise or fall moment depending on the choices you make. How you live your life in the 30’s is determined by how you handled your life in this phase.