At 24, I care for my health more than my looks. Okay, we are getting off to a bad start. I lied. I care for both. Thus, I jog thrice a week for an hour. More for my health and I’ll tell you why. When I was 15, I went for a checkup and oddly, my doctor gave me an appointment with a cardiologist. He said my heart rate was too fast signifying an allergy to medication or something. So I showed up the next week. My only worry then was the two male doctors that touched me, for the first time. They took turns at my left breast, fondling (another lie), then massaging the cold gel on the underside where they were just filling out and then placing the cold metal thing that was connected to the scanner. They called the procedure Echo. There was a whizzing sound from my heart. Like a donkey’s bray. Heee without the hooo. I was slightly perturbed. But the hand on my breast!  Then on the screen, there were bubbles leaving my left ventricle!

My attention took an immediate turn from my breast to the screen. They called two more doctors, slightly older and they went at length to discuss this “small issue”. Heavens, my heart was leaking, literally! So I asked for my mum to be let in. She started with how surgery feels like tickling. That if it would come to that, I shouldn’t fret. I should let these doctors-cum-masseuses to not only touch me, but to cut out my breast (and probably keep to touch as they please). After deliberation they unanimously agreed that it was better to not interfere and to get checkups biannually. This has worked well so far. The bubbles have dwindled to almost nil and the donkey that was braying has relocated. Something to do with increased bestiality in Kenya I guess. It didn’t feel safe living with an Okuyo.

My heart is great but my quarter life crisis is not.

When I turned 24 a month and two weeks ago, I was anxious. Because youth is most fleeting. So now as I draw too-dangerously-close-for-my-own-comfort to 25, I feel disoriented. I’ve never been one for the hullabaloo of birthday parties. With age, more concern has veered to adding meaning to my life. Ergo, I now view birthdays as milestones. So some weeks to my birth date, these festering thoughts about all my goals and how far I was from achieving them wouldn’t dissipate.

My birthday was on a Sunday and I woke up at 10 am at my friend Mercie’s house. My head was a little fuzzy from the previous night’s debauchery. I remembered the rain at Boombataa Festival then supper at KFC, the junction. We had listened to Mike Murimi and his Mugithi tunes in Reminisce with our wicked Ugandan pal Joe Kigg. Mike was nasty to listen to but he was no match for Joe’s Bangkok escapades. Turns out Bang –  Kok lives up to its name.  We later went to Rafikiz to down shots of hard stuff.

I woke up worried. I’m in my mid twenties now. I fret that if I don’t keep fit now these legs might clamp. So once in a while, I do splits. I’ll be waiting for the bus at Odeon and whaaaam! My legs will split to a 180. I kid. In July I started jogging. Usually, I’ll wake up at 6 to read for about 30 minutes. I then get my trainers and leave the house. If you are visiting, I’ll drag you out too. I think that’s why my sister has since left my house and has gone to college. Education has very little to do with it.  Anyway, that’s what I’d have rather be doing. Jogging. But it’s 10 am, my head hurts a little and I didn’t carry my jogging bra to my friend’s house.

I think if I was out at 6 am I’d have listened to Semisonic’s Closing time, telling me to pack up and leave 23. Then ColdPlay’s High Speed. I love how Chris Martin starts out. ‘Can anyone fly this thing, before my head explodes and my head starts to ring’? That’s how I feel about life right now; disorder.  I’m in a crisis of sorts. Or I was. I’m not sure if I’m past this yet but since am back to writing, I’ll say it’s slow release

Is it only me or does our generation reel through life thinking that we don’t have to work so hard? That for our school certificates and a well pressed CV, money will pour in. Thereafter, we can head to the more pleasurable task of baby making as we dive into our thirties. Life rarely plays out according to the script. That’s when we start to feel like a rug’s been pulled from under our feet. Our lives turn lackluster as we join the 8-5 zombies in their little cubicles.  Bills accumulate faster than beer foam and the guy you don’t like has been clinging on you like a cheap suit. The one you like asks you for your friend’s number. Isn’t it pleasantly ironic?

You studied biochemistry and your dreams of becoming a researcher are fast frittering away each day you stamp a cheque in the teller booth of the bank. You haven’t moved to a better place and you’ve stopped looking anyway. Even your hair doesn’t grow anymore. Everything looks to have stalled, like a dwarf’s hand.

Chris Martin now says, We’ve been living life inside a bubble. In the bubble that things come easy as long as you follow the life-script. Fat chance!

You stop. You regroup. You restart.

I’m ambivalent now that my bubble burst. I listen to high speed another time. ‘Confidence in you is confidence in me, is confidence in a higher speed.’  That’s to me and my alter ego.

At this age, I have long stopped being bothered by small fits. My good friend Denis always says, ‘if it’s not life threatening, let it go’. Good words to live by. It’ll help you learn how to leave relationships without burning bridges. It helps to let people go. If he doesn’t reply to your second text, do not text the third time. Throw away your phone if need be, it is way cheaper than your dignity. Save some face ey? The only people that are worth your sweat are your family.

At 24, I am honing my skills. My character, my dreams, my future depends on the foundation I set now. So I’ll have no use for a job that teaches me nothing. That doesn’t motivate my creativity or allow me to grow. Innuendos of a minivan and a town house as my loftiest dreams are not thrilling. I want more.

My hair is now short. It means I have to face my ears every morning. This short-hair business is daunting at first. You notice the back of your head is more flat than you assumed and you should probably start sleeping like a croc. With your tummy down. You feel sexier naked though. Because you view yourself like a portrait in a museum. Like Venus de milo in the Louvre, stupendously beautiful even without her limbs.

Cutting my hair felt like I had hit a reset button in my life. I feel different, and that’s somewhere I want to be at 24. It gets me though, every time someone says I look surprisingly nice with short natural hair. I would have assumed this was the good God’s intention, no?

Women and men cannot be close friends! Emphasis on close. At 24, I’m only just realizing this. Men want benefits. All men. Even the metro sexual ones. All’s fun and games until you get to spend more than 5 hours with them all by yourselves. That’s all it takes for a man to develop this thing called urgent lust. Don’t lie to yourself, the kind of friendship ladies have with fellow ladies cannot happen with men.

Nowadays, I am more optimistic. I am responsible for my happiness and usually the happiness of those around me. I feel the need to be exciting, energize and motivate people. There’s nothing duller than a pessimist. He is already at his peak and things can only go downhill. Leave these people and their melancholia.

won’t date unstable people. You shouldn’t either. People who infer to your ambition as their source for intimidation. Those that think women are the solitary reason the world should gear up for world war 3. If he has confidence, daddy or alcohol issues, I won’t dwell. People take so long to change. Sometimes never. I am not that patient

Our generation is worse when it comes to the need for instant gratification. You’ll be earning 70k net salary and spending 100k. Between rent, social events, school loans and your car loan the only thing you can treat yourself to at the month end is fish eyes. Spend wisely. Get friends that encourage you to invest and expand your revenue channels. Then there are those who squander and rid you of value and inspiration. Cut those out before they drag you down their abyss.

This year, I have received by far the most gifts I have ever received. I don’t even think I deserve it. But I have learned that over the years, to invest in few and meaningful relationships with family and friends.  Be kind and give without expecting returns. Not necessarily money, give networks, give time, give love. Be less judgmental, don’t be pejorative. Sometimes, you need to just be there.

More of my friends have gaps in their teeth. I wonder more now than before how long before I run out of my luck. There is this verse in the good book;  Corinthians 10:12 “So if you think you are standing, be careful that you do not fall” So to my teeth, keep standing.

At 24, you DO NOT send people forwards on whatsapp.