Earlier this week, Chelsea turned 5, and having turned a big age with a multiplier many times hers, a week earlier, it is time I became a sage and dished out some advice to the young lady.
First of all, Chelsea, it is important that you graduate from kindergarten at the end of this year. After that, I don’t care what you do! Refuse to go to Standard One and instead run off with that gap-toothed boy, Ryan, whom I saw devouring your birthday cake in class with relish, it’s up to you.
Seriously, though, 21 for me was a lifetime ago, and since it is the age when one can get the death sentence in Kenya, if you are good enough for the hangman, then you are ripe for ‘Men Only’ wisdom.
First of all, be legitimate, as in legally. At 21, there may be all sorts of shortcuts, hustles, cons, drugs, depending on where you are. Stay on the straight and narrow, in as far as the law is concerned. You don’t want to be the guy picking up the soap for Sospeter in the prison shower at an age still tender.
Do your college courses to the best of your ability, but do not be afraid to follow your heart and chase your dreams.
Don’t smoke — cigarettes, marijuana, shisha — man was not meant to smoke. Anything! How do I know this? If the Lord meant us to smoke, he would have given us chimneys instead of nostrils. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
Drink, if you must, but don’t overdo it in your youth. Pancreatitis is real. The problem with drinking at 21 is that mostly what one can afford are harsh liquor products at the bottom of the drink chain.
A decade or two later when one can afford the really decent stuff, you’ve already ruined your life’s drinking ration by having taken too much of the cheap stuff.
Have fun at 21, dance like crazy, ménage a menagerie, but remember fun can kill, so be very careful. Don’t get married in your twenties, man, but try and have your first kid by about 30. By the time you turn 50, they should be in college and out of your hair, letting you alone to have your midlife crisis, and moodiness, in peace.
Chances are you will not marry your college sweetheart. If your college crush dumps you for an outsider like a loaded sponsor, don’t be crushed and go ‘finish’ her/him/yourself. But if homicide must happen, then make sure it is just you that dies.
After you’ve hung yourself you can bet she will not even attend your funeral. People get over college infatuations (although I did meet Julietta Mwaura recently and my heart palpitated like crazy). Life is harsh, and after college you may ‘tarmac.’ But if you have the skills of a squirrel and heart of a lion, things will get better, and you may even be blessed.
Talking of heart, college is the only time you will have the courage to demonstrate against the State. I still tell war stories about the time I worked for eXpression Today and covered ‘Kamkunjis’ for Makali.
So, on Monday, put on that protest t-shirt and sneakers and go join wakina Salat and Wetangula on University Way. Don’t be a safety sloth in your youth. You need to get your toes, and eyes, a little wet.
In other words, as you take time out to smell the coffee, make sure you sniff the teargas too.