Photo: Eric Omondi and his cast on the search for WIFE MATERIAL
MEMO NO 24, FROM THE NATIONAL DESK OF THE WELFARE OF MEN
SPECIAL MEMO TO YOUNG MEN (18-30)
Early this year, the worst tragedy to hit me, since the death of my mother, struck me really hard and left me reeling from it, like surviving a horrible accident with lifelong psychological effects.
I would lie if I said, I didn’t see what hit me coming my way. Have you ever taken mahindi choma, or mutura by the roadside and you have this premonition about some volcanic diarrhea moments later? Or have you ever stepped out of the house, saw dark clouds, and dismiss them, thinking it is going to be some light, polite rains, only for you experience the heaviest downpour? Exactly, that is what happened. I ignored every sign of my impending doom, at my own peril. And when the catastrophe struck, I felt like shit. So much for good intentions. And, boy, did I pay the heaviest price?
There was a time this year, I would sit on my desk, staring at the phone a whole day. Not scrolling. Not reading. Not doing anything. Time stood still. There comes a time in life when you realise, you are alone, in this miserable place. Food tasted like crap. Taking a shower was a chore. Talking on phone was a draining task. I just wanted to get lost and disappear from the whole world.
But slowly, I started picking the pieces. I had four, top,top, high profile executive meetings with myself and I asked myself: The worst has happened, so what next? The resolution: I will be happy and thrive. And survive, I had to put my past behind me, and focus on the future.
But talking to male friends, and even female, I realised what I went through, wasn’t entirely unique to me. Every man will go through it, at some point in his life. Every man will be severely bruised once in his lifetime. And it is a life-altering experience. You will never see life in the same light. The earlier you go through it, the better. If it catches you when older, it can be far more devastating. It caught me in the middle.
What matters is how you respond to sh*t. And I have since learnt, to respond to the tragedy, you have to be prepared for it. It is like buying a car and taking insurance for it. The accident may never happen, but having an insurance, is a good plan to mitigate the effects of the accident.
The truth is, as a young man, I assumed I was intelligent enough to do adult shit without talking to elders. I honestly didn’t need to obtain any wise counsel about the bigger decisions of life. It was an honest blind spot, as opposed to deliberate ignoring wise counsel from older men. Basically, there wasn’t time. But when I found myself in problems, in deep sh*t, and was forced to talk to older folks, I was astonished at how ignorant I was about life. I facepalmed learning the key lessons of life, after the fact. I asked myself: why didn’t I learn or know this when I was 25? The point is, if young men spoke to their elders more, they can avoid the worst mistakes of their lives, by up 80 percent. The rest, sometimes, just happens and is beyond our control.
In the intervening months, I wondered what I would do with the lessons I learnt from my personal tragedy (whose effects make me tremble to date, no doubt). Earlier I had started a series of these memos to address various challenges that men face, but it was hard to package the myriad of issues men face into the memos, because men at different times, in different classes, in different ages, face totally different problems.
So far, I have been doing generic memos and you guys have enjoyed them, and have found the lessons, whereas not entirely the gospel truth of the problems we face, they do offer some perspective. Thanks to everyone who comes to my inbox to tell me I make sense, in spite of myself.
Now, here is the plan.
I have a number of memos that I am yet to share, but we live in an extremely polarized world, where we have to be politically correct about the simple facts of life. Writing them, can be draining. And when I put them out there, I often receive insults from women who misread my intentions thinking that I am some bitter misogynist who has issues with women. And nothing could be further from the truth. I have never negated the experiences of women when they narrate them, but I always hate it when they hijack our conversations and make them about themselves. And to be honest, I had quit my newspaper job, because I was tired of the insults. And a female friend turned enemy thought that I do these things for clout. Unfair.
Since I need to get a daytime job, because, bills, here is the plan going forward.
1. I have split the memos into twos. I have compiled 10 that I am dedicating to young men, 18-30, and especially those who are yet to marry. If you are marrying this December, you may want to delay your wedding a little bit, until you read the memos.
2. I still have memos dedicated to older men, married, divorced, separated, single, etc. I will still be doing the weekly memo for the next few weeks.
Now, about the memos to young men, I have them in a kasmall book, where I have written from my heart about what lies ahead of them. I have picked great lessons from my elders, my peers and I think any man who is in his 20s, stands to gain useful insights from the book. If you are a young man, and want to learn about life from older men, my book will be a good place to start, but I will still urge you to look for your uncles, older male colleagues, your fathers and talk to them about these things.
So, I want to share my book in time for new year, to help young men start their year with the right perspectives. But the first edition will be issued digitally. So, if you can read an epub and pdf, you can get advance copy before the end of the year. The hard copies will be available from February 2021.
This is not a commercial project, as I hope that as many young men as possible will read the book and those who read can share its message. I don’t want any man to go through what men my generation have gone through. Most fuckups were avoidable, had we known how to make better choices in several steps of our earlier life.
However, since the book is about having a conversation with your favourite uncle over a drink, I will not mind a drink from those who want the book. I like Java’s Mocha. Or for those more philanthropic, two of Kibaki’s favourite drinks, preferably chilled will go a long way. If you want to buy me some mature whisky, for Christmas, I will not say NO. But all I want is a drink, as this book, is supposed to be a bar counter conversation with you, my nephew. I will tell you about girls (why they should never ever give you stress), life (it gets better), money (it comes and goes, just don’t lose yourself) and much more.
So, if you are game, drop your name, email and number on the form, that I am pasting in the comment section. Alternatively, I am putting the form on my Facebook Page, Nyanchwani.
NB; You will only buy me the drink once you receive the book.