Memo No. 20 From the National Welfare Desk of Men Affairs
You Will be Alone in Your 50s:So What is your Plan
Mid-last week, I was in one of those residential restaurants upon Kilimani. You know the type that serve proper Kienyeji chicken that middle-aged folks love so much and beer so chilled like your worst ex’s heart.
Seated across us, was a man in his 50s. He was wearing a white T-shirt, black jeans, all of them fitting into his great, tall, dark frame. He had on, this pissed off face, the kind of angered of expression that only the bad aftertaste of a bitter divorce leaves on your face. He was drinking Heineken as he occasionally tapped on his huge phone.
A while later, this tall, light-skin woman with an ass that only money can buy walked in. She is the type that makes heads turn and every man in the vicinity suddenly becomes conscious that you must have a minimum of Sh 10 million the bank and at least one apartment before you can talk to her. She was wearing this fitting dress, so fitting it mocked our dignity. She walked in with grace of Naomi Campbell at her prime. She gave the man some half-assed hug, put her handbag down and took off her mask. And man, she was so hot, like the chick on Fally Ipupa’s A Flye` clip.
She ordered what looked like red wine and they sat chatting in a disinterested manner. It was hard to judge who they were to each other. Whatever bad taste the man had in beer, he definitely made up for it with a great taste in a fine woman.
Lately, I am always preoccupied by people I see in restaurants. I always try to imagine how they are related to each other.
I asked my friend what could be the profile of the man.
“He is rich. Probably divorced…”
He said curtly.
“How do you know that he is divorced?”
“We are in Kilimani, dude…”
I don’t know what he meant by that but he proceeded to school me about two profiles of single men in their 50s in Nairobi and I thought I should share with you guys. Because men my generation are likely to be single by the time they are 50, we need a game plan.
There are two types of single men in their 50s: miserable ones and those having a swell time. The idea is not to end up miserable. My buddy gave me the example of BuruBuru tragedy.
Back in the day when Buru was the hottest thing in Nairobi, there are men who married, but treated their wives badly. So, at their prime these men were untouchable. They wronged their families, never stepped in the village to develop any sense of kinship and when they retired, kids were either broken adults or went abroad where they called their long-suffering mothers to work as their maids. So, the guy at 60 finds himself alone, with nothing to show up for all his years. So, they meet and hang out around the Buru shopping centre. Nothing much to live for.
Across town, in Kilimani are guys who knew how to play the game. When they divorced they took their responsibilities seriously and at the very least they have a very healthy relationship with their kids. Also, they arranged their finances proper. So, they can drive their best car, wake up from their home, date a woman they want and generally keep good company for investments or golf. Like the man we saw, assuming my friend’s prediction was right.
It is cynical to plan for a life of singlehood in our 50s but men get dumped every day and most don’t know how to handle the rejection and they let it get into their heads and they waste time for something that should not be a big deal. If you are a married man here, live knowing that there is a 50% percent possibility utaachwa and you will bleed financially and emotionally. But being ready is the best shock absorber.
My friend recommends 7 things for your 50-year-old Single Self.
1. Invest in your health now. Fight off lifestyle diseases. Normalise health checkups. Work out and maintain a proper frame.
2. Learn to whip out good meals. As a rule, don’t depend on a woman to feed you. Be very independent and efficient. And while at it, eat healthy. Normalise this kabisa. Know how to operate and function without a woman in your life.
3. Have a timeless skill. For consultancy, coaching, entrepreneurship, teaching, anything. Be good at it. This is what should feed you in your old age.
4. Transition with your peers. Grow together. Not necessarily being competitive. But usiachwe nyuma. Don’t con people, refuse to pay debts and such sh*t that get people ostracized by their peers. Also, kunyemelea mabibi za watu pia. Maintain your friends, make good ones and have fun. Stay young at heart.
5. Have a home upcountry. I can’t overemphasize this. Also, cultivate a sense of community back in the village. Know your neighbours, hang out together. This should be a place you get away to when the city damages your soul.
6. Join a church or a group that keeps you active. Mountaineering, scouts, environmental clubs. Join a cause worth fighting for and be active. Rotary, Toastmasters. Any. A school PTA. You need an active life in your 50s with some healthy community around you.
7. Always dress up good. Keep a good frame. Don’t succumb and start dressing horribly. Dressing plays a key role in our self-esteem.
Always save cash for yourself. Sometimes when in marriage, men tend to forget themselves and give up all their cash. Wrong.
Have a private account for yourself for the day when she kicks you out, you don’t end up being miserable. Always have a backup plan, man. Don’t be clueless. Be the guy who attracts the best women in your 50s, plays golf, drives a good car, and is at peace with himself and God, not someone full of ‘what ifs’ or someone whose wife or ex-wife and kids treat like sh*t.
And lastly, take good care of yourself. Put yourself first.
Happy week folks.