IT IS NOT PEER PRESSURE, 30 IS SHEER PRESSURE

Real Talk

By Jancan Limo

Age is just a number until 30 is at the horizon. I know you want me to talk of celebrated icons like Mark Zuckerberg, who was already breaking the weighing scales with his multi-billion-dollar income before turning thirty. You would also ask me to talk about celebrities in the music industry, sports arena and young upcoming entrepreneurs. Well, I have talked about them and I am justified now to proceed to talk about the `me’ type.

My life before the crash stage (crash to mean the place where cattle are immobilized) was always full of passionate adventure, the deep sense of humour, rich feeling of belonging and self-identity, desire for class and fashion, aggressive appetite and arching desire for attention. When I was below this age bracket of 25-30, I was inconsiderate about the changing times and dawning realities. It was always fun, group activities and events, hike, party and unity. I managed to have been in a well-paying career that pushed me two years into the dreaded bracket.

Then everything happened. All at once. No more place to wake up every morning to work. No more assurance of income at the end of the month. No more attention from the people I used to meet every day. No more treating my friends at the end of the week. No more long calls and long promises to my folks back at home. No more humongous bucket of shopping to carry home. No more passionate night outs and no more promising people that I would be there for them. It was my favourite statement back then.

Instead, I am lonely. Secluded by reality. Held in the bondage of my own disbelief. Like a jailbird who has just been released, going through available options is what I always go through. Nothing makes sense anymore. The appetite for meals is fast fading away, the aroma that was once a factor in my life feels nothing. The only friendly aroma is the one emanating from my armpits. Fashion and class are so last year and even the choice of colour is becoming obsolete.

I step out of my cocoon to look for a job, the remaining business venture that I have invested the little savings in and the one that I woke up every day to ensure that I have completed the tasks before me. The job opportunities are becoming like magnetic poles with me. The more I move closer, the more it moves away in equal measure of distance. Every opportunity is scampering for its dear life when it is me and it, face to face. The email has turned to be like my house. I am always inside the inbox room, then sent box room then compose room. The number of words that I have written in emails alone supersedes the number of characters I wrote down in all my KCSE papers. Nothing seems to work.

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Back at home, the peasant parents are absolutely aware that their son is still working in the city and is occupied by work. He has not shown up at home for the past 6 months or so because of his busy schedule. How can I start explaining to my parents that I was fired? How will they comprehend their son who was working in a mzungu company is broke and tarmacking on the streets? How will they reveal to the villagers the sad news to overwrite the praises they have been talking about me in the village airwaves and frequencies? I tried telling someone else and the best words that came out of her is that when I had money, I never look beyond my nose. She was right but now I don’t care.

I have tried reviving my hobbies in vain. I have tried doing something new like watching football. It feels good to be in the midst of a crowd who are cheering but it breaks my heart that I still feel lonely in their midst. I have changed my taste of liquor to go for cheap ones provided it restores my smile to the strangers back and to feel that sweetness of smiling once again.

Taking a stroll in the streets is a much humiliating endeavour. The looks from the people pierce through your body and rest in the heart. Immediately everyone seems a mind reader or a seer who can foretell what I am about to do. The noise, the crowd and the haste that the city dwellers are having scares me the most. I pity the beggars and wished I could help or join them do what they are doing. I get bothered by boda boda, touts and hawkers. Nothing is fun anymore in places I used to love walking by.

I am only alive before the heartbeat has not let me go. My energy barrels are fast running dry and my thinking capabilities are fast taken over by resentful feelings. I have no effort to argue anymore. I have developed shock absorbers against any blame and I feel nothing anymore when accused. My sexual appetite is fading away and my eyes are almost giving up on holding on. I no longer have the energy to catch up with social media and check on my social friends. I will use Atwoli’s words, ‘Sina nguvu, sina uwezo’

Advises are so blunt and motivational words are thorns that never wish to leave the heart. Discussions topics are diminishing in my list like dew during the sunrise. The list of my friends suddenly dropped to zero. I guess they were volatile or I never had one. Everyone seems busy to give you a listening ear. The events I have attended is packed with energetic youngsters who threaten my existence. It feels odd being around. When you speak everyone ask where you work, and the best answer is a smile with a gallop of water to irrigate the drying throat. Then you walk away smiling.

I was told not to look at the past. It is a piece of blunt advice. I look back at what I have done and it gives me the consolation that I fought a good fight. There was no other way I would have done to avoid my current predicament. I fought a good fight. I provided refuge to a lot of friends who shamelessly walked away when I needed them the most. They made decisions to abandon me as quickly as winking an eye. I have been there for a lot of people but right now I can’t recall one, or maybe they don’t recall. We fought a good fight.

The death of Bob Collymore came as a surprise. Not because I knew him personally or because he impacted my life in a unique way. His life was worth a million times and the company would have paid millions to see him back. I suddenly wish I would have taken his condition and die because I was subdued by an incurable monster than to die of indecision and frustration.

I have given up in a lot of things and the last giving up that is corking is giving up on myself. But before that time comes and while I still hear my heartbeat constantly beating louder, I will remain to hope. I will make that new plan again today because yesterday’s is gone. I will take another round in the normal streets to look for a job and smile to strangers. I will wake up every morning to check my mail and peruse through Fuzu and Star Classifieds. I will add another ingredient to my business plan and write an article for this and that.

I will stick to Morgan Freeman phrase that he used when he was having a recap of 2018. `I hope. I hope. I hope.’

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