The Mid 20s

The mid 20s, a period that pop culture and my friends refer to as Quarter Life Crisis. Pop culture keeps on changing and my friends loosely use the term quarter life crisis to refer to occasions when they cannot afford a bottle of decent vodka or when one of us has been dumped by a female on grounds of our inadequacies on the financial front- which is often and we cannot afford an elixir to glue the broken pieces of his heart together. I cannot keep up with pop culture and I cannot trust heartbroken people who the puritans can describe as borderline drunks, so we’ll use the mid 20s in here.

The mid 20s is confusing and tough, but it is not a crisis. At 25, you are not craving the adulation of women 20 years younger than yourself and squeezing your expanding mid section into tight shirts and expecting to be told that you are sexy. In your mid 20s, you are looking for first job; not wondering why you keep getting passed over for promotions. Neither are you paying vernacular music bands to immortalise your name in chants mid way through their songs and telling everyone who cares(most do not care) about the time when music was music. Crisis is for the middle aged for whom the heart is becoming unwilling and the body is growing even weaker. Now that’s a crisis. The mid 20s, though, is a struggle.

By the time you reach your mid 20s, you’ve been through higher education already and completed it successfully or otherwise. The ‘otherwise’ there catering for those who misinterpret higher education for perching atop tall furniture and imbibing cheap concoctions for the better part of their college life. Or you’re still stuck in the system due the small matters of supplementary exams. If you’re the ambitious type, you’ve gone back for a postgraduate qualification.

For most people, in your mid 20s, you have made friends, got your heart broken, have also broken a couple of hearts and more importantly, secured that Second Class something degree under your belt. Your parents even invited the clan to help immortalise your name in song and dance for that accomplishment. Or if they are stoics like my old man, gave you a firm handshake and told you that you can now get invitations to the table of men while noting that your absence in his household will be appreciated. So armed with a display folder and invaluable lessons you’ve learnt, or rather think you learned, in the half decade you were frying your brain with everything that pertains to an engineering degree you hit the tarmac.

The tarmacking is going well; you are landing a couple of interviews here and there which you are acing…until the final stage. This in equal parts your predilection for cracking dry jokes during interviews( and life, in general) and fizzling concentration. See, what no one tells you is that some of these interviews have more stages than the number of commercials during prime time news bulletins so you need the mental fortitude of a decathlete, and also, you tend to get a little comfortable with interviewers by the time you get to midway through the stages. And a bit cocky too, especially when you see people drop through the stages.

Since interview panels and mankind have not been known to be kind to people with a subliminal comedic abilities, your inbox inevitably fills up with regret emails. Rejection of any kind hurts, for the first time. Remember when you got rejected for the first time and you thought you’ll never get laid, have blue balls so bad that you’ll die of an aneurysm from them? Thought it was probably your rough hands she didn’t like? Perhaps it was your height she didn’t like, you thought. Yes, you got over that. Got rejected so many times after that that you became numb to it. Now, a girl can curve you so bad or to be specific, bluetick you on whatsapp and you wouldn’t even be a tad bothered. It’s part of the game. The first job rejection feels the same, but with time you get over it. I remember when I got my first regret email and brooded the whole evening-they always come in the evening-thinking I’ll never get another interview invitation. Well, I got over that. More interviews came and even more regrets. You have to get over it, just like in seduction. It’s all part of the game.

While you are reeling from the rejections, friends and former classmates will get decent jobs. Jobs you once dreamt of. Some of whom will give you hourly updates of their workplace activities on social media. Don’t mind them, the wears out unless, of course, they’re obnoxious, attention seeking dimwits. Don’t sweat it. Everyone runs his race out here.

And even when you get a job, you are never quite settled. There is always that lingering thought that the grass is always greener on the other side. That another job would be more exciting, or better pay so you keep on looking.

Speaking of getting settled, dating in your mid 20s is daunting. You are mostly broke to afford it. The women who want you are mostly college students who are impressed with a weekend getaway from campus. Add a mzinga of something that they can later on brag to their friends and entry to a club where the DJ doesn’t interrupt Kamatia Chini, and you are game. These ones have their place and time. The women you want, though, claim not to fool around with broke ass niggas. A special interest group you belong to because your poverty eradication measures aren’t bearing fruits as fast as they ought to. These ones will reject you for not having the ability to afford what even their fathers cannot buy. Take heart, the mid 20s, like beauty, doesn’t last forever. Your agemates, girls in their mid 20s, aren’t mildly impressed by your small fortunes, or lack of them. You can’t blame because, hell, you aren’t also impressed with your fortunes.

If you are lucky enough, you will have that campus sweetheart who will stick with you through the mid 20s struggles, agree to split bills and even pay for some dates. Hold onto that one, she’s a keeper. If you are luckier, you’ll meet a lady who’s doing well for herself and believes in this amorphous thing called potential. She’ll put up with your empty pockets and believe in your ambitions, or at least not kill them. Keep her if she’s supportive through ll those rejections. Treat her well and more importantly, dont take gifts that you can’t afford yourself from her. Also, just for good measure, don’t borrow money you can’t repay from her. And just so we are clear, I’m not referring to women who rejected your father and grandfather.

In your mid 20s, some of your agemates are getting pregnant on purpose, and even if it isn’t planned, they don’t freak out when it does happen. If you have the money for it. I have also had my moments when the conviction to show that my loins are fruitful have been strong-particularly motivated by my increasing ability to afford a balanced diet and pay rent for a decent man cave which on occasions of loneliness have inspired the desire to put someone’s daughter in the family way. That was until recently when my boss went on a paternity leave for two weeks and came back looking the worse for it on account of his new bundle of joy keeping him up all night. Whatever embers were left of my procreation fire were extinguished when I paid Alice, a colleague from another side gig( we gotta make these ends meet, man), and her week old baby a visit. I hadn’t seen or held any baby less than 3 months old since I last held my baby sister who is now a second year in campus so I had gotten quite rusty on my infant handling techniques. I wasn’t just ready for it when she insisted that I carry the baby. I wanted to bolt through the open door. Babies look delicate and I am man who detaches the holder when replacing a bulb. I can’t handle delicate, not yet. So with that,  and unwillingness to be kept up late by a crying baby, I shelved my paternity ambitions.

If you are 24, 25, 26 or 27 years old and you aren’t coiled up in a foetal position trembling from a drug dose, you have goals that you look up to achieving and you feel and know that you can do, then you are doing just fine. If you are broke and doing something about it, you are on the right direction. If you are getting rejections in both your personal and professional life, toughen up. The mid 20s is meant to be that way. It is a time for struggles. It is not a crisis. It gets better.

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