On this column a month or so ago, I joked about articles like ’20 things I’d tell my 20-year-old self’, usually written by people about the time they turn 40 years old.
Well, I was surprised when I got a couple of letters, one from a 22-year-old university male student and the other from a woman on the cusp of 30, actually asking me for advice that I’d actually give them/Younger Mochama.
I’m looking back to the Year 2000 right till 2020, to come up with these crucial 21 lessons for young men.
1. Take care of your body: The most tragic true life story of anyone I ever knew was of a young man who contracted HIV at 19, and was gone 15 years down the line.
2. Don’t be discouraged: When you are 21, you may feel that life is unfair on the young, like that song ‘Young, Broke and Done.’ Things will get better, boyo.
3. Get involved in activism/politics: The tragedy of the young generation is they/you never get actively involved in street level protests anymore, just quarrels on WhatsApp. You’re creating political vacuums.
4. Prepare for the working life: From age 25, you will spend at least 30 years of your life working. Know what career or business path you want to follow early, and mentally and academically prepare for it.
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5. Be a person of passion: Too many youth, thanks to social media, now only dream of short cuts to the easy life. Try to embrace the culture of hard work, otherwise you’ll be a miserable mule, amigo.
6. Start saving as early as you can: Wish I’d done this sooner. Whatever you have, however little, you can live on 90 per cent of it, and save ten per cent. Folks found this out in 2020, with 30 per cent corona cuts.
7. Learn from the heartbreak/s: Relationships when you are in your early 20s can be the most intense you’ll ever have.
8. Have a hobby to occupy your time: And I’m not talking about drinking. As ye get older, you’ll treasure that talent/past-time you brewed.
9. Take time to travel: Don’t circumnavigate around a county circumference all your life. Know Kenya, and if circumstances allow, your region/continent/other continents.
10. Create great mad funny memories of your youth: I’ve lost two dear Campus friends this December, and realised that what we remembered as we spoke was ‘you remember that day/night when we ...’
11. Pay heed to older folks and take their counsel while you are living your life as a young person. We’ve been there, done that!
12. Begin to think of the kind of person you’ll eventually marry: A lot of you millennials will know divorce attorneys, some on speed dial.
13. Start thinking of networks: It is the most cliché thing ever – that ‘your net worth is your network.’ It is also the truest aphorism.
14. Be prepared to cope with loss: It’s the worst bit of getting older, and can break you!
15. Success is persistence: If you are not ready to persevere in your dreams, sahau.
16. Failure is something you pick yourself up from, dust your coat, move on.
17. Your living environment is very important. Try to make your home a comfortable space.
18. Children are the biggest and most important investments/responsibilities you’ll ever have. Don’t have them with some daft baby momma/daddy.
19. If anyone ever comes after you, go after them with all the artillery you can muster. Some people are out to finish you.
20. Start your side hustle. Kenya is a brutal country where no one cares if you live or die!
21. You will not be young forever. I hear/read some young people talking scornfully of age. Being young is NOT an accomplishment, otherwise babies would be our heroes.
Bonus: Think of how YOU can make a difference.