I think I’m having a quarter-life crisis. I turned 22 a few weeks ago but my age didn’t even hit me on my birthday. I mean I knew I wasn’t young anymore but that was okay – as long as there were people who were older than me sitting in the room. Actually, looking back, my birthday invite list was borderline scientific. Half of the guests were older than me by at least 2 years and the other half were only younger than me by a few months. Perhaps, subconsciously, I wanted to feel closer to being young than being old. I mean it must have been subconscious because no one thinks like that on purpose whilst eating Puff Puff and jamming to Product G&B’s “Cluck Cluck” (I think I’m showing my age by confessing that that song is still featured heavily on my playlists).
No, my birthday went off without a hitch. I mean I did get a funny “you’re having a mid-life crisis” birthday card and yes, when I initially received it, I laughed along with the guest. Ah we shared a humorous moment indeed. She knew me well. She knew I liked to rant and panic about how awkward my relationships had been over the years and how little I had accomplished compared to those bratty busy bodies in the music industry (there should be a rule that says you have to hit puberty before you make your first million…twats!) Oh no, laugh we did. Sure I was dying a little bit inside but twenty-somethings are still allowed to laugh. I tried to laugh it off but she had planted the idea inside my head. It was just like “Inception”: Young, good looking studs like Leonardo DiCaprio planting troubling ideas into the heads of older, average-looking businessmen. How cruel.
I hope she’s happy!
Anyway, like I said, I was okay. I forgot about it…until I went out for drinks a few weeks later. It was during Sallah weekend and I had been invited out by one of my oldest friends. When I got there he was flanked by a large selection of his female friends. What a wingman! As I sat down, I did what any warm-blooded, heterosexual male would do and scouted the talent that had been laid out before me. Now, I wasn’t guaranteed to go out with any of them. Indeed my chances were pretty slim, after all, I wasn’t blessed enough to be seated at the table a few metres away from us where expatriates aged 60 and over were getting ready to do the limbo with their ladies of the night.
Anyhow, after getting sufficiently inebriated, I went around the table asking the girls for their names and their ages. I figured it would minimize the guess work on my part although, having said that, I did have to ask some of the girls what their names were on multiple occasions. I’m a terrible human being like that. Anyhow all was going well. I was getting a few 20’s, a few 19’s…it was standard. Then everything changed! The last girl said she was 17.
The girl was 5 years my junior. I was 18 when she was 13. I mean what the heck? A few things went through my head at this point:
Why was she out? Why was she drinking? Why had I even contemplated flirting with her in the first place…couldn’t I tell that she was a juvie? Was I a paedophile?
No man, this was positively terrifying!
I had become an “uncle”. Soon I’d be asking her if she’d like to become my child-bride. For the rest of the night, I barely talked to her. I felt dirty. That’s when it hit me…I was 22!
I wasn’t a child anymore. I wasn’t even a hip, rebellious teenager. I would never be patronizingly called a “young man” again. I was literally a young man now! I shouldn’t even have been out unless I had paid for a table or was looking to make connections to improve my job prospects. Why was I clubbing with these young children?
A few nights ago, I decided to go for an older people function. It was inside a nice restaurant and there was Hennessy all over the place. It was technically a concert but everyone was sitting on these plush, white sofas with an air of confidence and indifference that said “is someone even singing right now?”. The poor singer was practically begging for crowd participation. At one point, she actually came off the stage and dragged people to the front and even then, despite her best efforts, only 2 or 3 people actually stayed there. A far cry from the rowdy This Day concerts that I had become accustomed to. It was on this night that I saw my future. Well, I mean my future would be working on a slightly tighter budget admittedly but it was still worrying nonetheless. These people knew what they were doing. They were the kind of people who would have no problem answering the “where would you like to be in 10 years” question. They belonged here whereas I felt completely alien in my new surroundings. However, I knew I couldn’t go back. I couldn’t go back to clubbing with girls who could potentially be 5 years younger than me. I was stuck. I was experiencing a quarter-life crisis.
Although I’ve never experienced it, I reckon a mid-life crisis is slightly better than a quarter-life crisis. I mean at least one can usually tell the difference between a 17 year old girl and a 40 year old woman and most people going through a mid-life crisis get a nice car and a leather jacket out of it. What do I get? The constant fear of unemployment and a lingering doubt about how old the women I chat up are. Brilliant!
Photo Credit: depositphotos.com
Ayanam Udoma is a poet and blogger who moved to England at 16. He returned to Nigeria after his degree in marketing to participate in the NYSC program. He is now trying to adjust back into the “Naija” lifestyle. He blogs at A-Zone Poetry.