Your friend just bought a car, your other friend is getting married and one of them is pregnant – heavily. Everyone else seems to have their life figured out apart from you. Some are back in class upgrading their education scaling the heights of academic excellence, others are concentrating on building up their businesses and some are scaling corporate heights at blue chip firms and you’re nowhere in the equation.
The pressure is on, you need to get your life jump started. You need to approach a bank with your pay slips and request for a car loan. You need to spruce up the car and keep up appearances wearing designer colognes and laid back clothes to give off that ‘I am doing it big’ façade that everyone seems to exude. You need to be spotted (or take pictures) in excusive joints in the suburbs and outskirts of the city spending a boatload of money buying expensive drinks, smoking shisha and financing the whims of a college girl that before meeting you only chrome she knew was the cheap vodka a popular boy band pushed in one of their songs in the name of product placement.
You need to appear busy, never available. You have to set a meeting two weeks or even three months in advance because your schedule is tight. You have to plan these meetings so that they coincide with events out of town that you can use as an excuse for being late. You will then use that as a talking point for the rest of your conversation throwing in words like: “kids these days…” “When I was their age…” You will talk about a meeting you just attended and how much money was on the table and just how little it is because you have your eyes set on bigger things. Then you will pause and stop talking about yourself ad start prying about the other persons business. Every now and then you will fiddle with your keys, car keys, making sure they are conspicuously placed on the table. Before waving you will look at the time on your wrist watch, your phone, the iPad and then ceremoniously take the keys waving it in front of your company declaring you are running late. You will throw in a statement about the traffic and slip in a few crisp thousand notes to take care of the coffee bill before stepping out.
You will find yourself a girlfriend, one that seems polished enough to fool everyone. One that will not divulge the whereabouts of your one bedroom apartment along Thika road. One that looks pretty enough to tag along to your social events and with a career title that sounds interesting enough to keep up your image. She will either be in marketing, insurance or law. She isn’t at the peak of her career – that would be devastating to your ego. She is either just about to finish school or starting out an internship at a recognized establishment. She thinks you are her ticket up the social and corporate ladder. She fell in love with your car and the out of town escapades you tagged her along for. The last book she read was her exercise book before the final exams. She has an accent when she speaks and is obsessed with her hair, nails and your bank account.
Finally, you are confident enough to grace all the social occasions attended by your peers. You are quick to chime in to conversations when it revolves around oil filters in the latest BMW or blown gaskets in the Compressor. You throw in how you have a guy. You announce that your guy, even though very expensive, gets the job done. You all agree how when it comes to such things you cannot spare any costs. Finally, as you order drinks and you make a proclamation telling everybody how the round is on you it hits you. You have become the person that intimidated you. You have turned into the person that people look at and immediately feel inferior.
You have this accomplished façade about you and everyone secretly and openly wish they were you. You find out the crop you thought was the crème only showed half of it – they too were struggling just like you trying to find their footing. Now you know the pain of paying for a bank loan, supporting an exorbitant lifestyle and keeping up appearances. But once you start, you can’t stop. What will people think? How did you fall from grace? So now the plan is to work harder and try fit into the lifestyle you have created for yourself.
Soon enough society sees a successful young person that is squandering away their wealth due to the absence of a diligence that is only brought about by having a good wife. You have to settle, society demands of it – it says you need children too. So you marry her – the girlfriend that was only there for appearances – have a kid or maybe three. You become the family man everyone expects you to be – you go the whole nine yards with family portraits, outings and Sunday school crap. You grow old and discontent with your life. You don’t look at her the same way and she doesn’t even bother to hide it. The marriage counsellor has tried and finally bullied both of you into sticking it out for the kids. You were not meant for each other – it was just convenience. Things didn’t get better with time – maybe financially they did – but now you realize that they would have anyway.
You regret being that twenty something that wanted everything at once. You hate the fact that you weren’t patient enough with life to let it happen. You now in your forties are jealous of the carefree boy who looked at other people’s lives and wanted them. You want to go back in time and tell him to wait. Tell him it’s okay to visit not so posh places and have not so nice clothes and that it’s okay to take the bus. You want to tell him that is okay not to have a flourishing business, or a paying hobby or a good job. You want to tell him that it’s okay to want it all but better to wait for the right time. You want to tell him to act his age. You want to tell him that it’s never that serious. But then again, what if it is?