Playlist: Good Morning ~ Kanye West.
There are things that change us. There are things that slow us down. There are things that get us picking pace too. Things that change men, or a part of manhood as we have known it since birth; somewhere there; when we first made sense of our being, existence perhaps. I have seen boys change to men; men trying to become boys. Not that I am old enough yet. But this isn’t about that, it’s about men changing, from one aspect of manhood to another. There are things men change too. In sum: Growth; development; progression; realization.
In recent years, the closest of men I have known have increasingly struck a sober note. Quiet, content and not trying too hard. Plainly, just strides towards working and living smart. Sobriety; like the guy driving a high end C-Class, 5-Series or Chrysler in traffic. He’ll hardly switch lanes in rush unlike the restless fellow with the Forester. A sense of assuredness, tried perhaps, tested too. Patient, or early; it depends.
A while ago, standard operation with the closest of my clique was linking up Friday evenings, Saturday afternoons. Big talk, jokes, binge drinking and prowess toasts at our supposed conquests; mostly at a new job, a woman, a new car and things of kind. Endless nights, fun. There are dancing floors in this and other cities that know the smell of our shoe bottoms, I bet. Waitresses too; I once fell sick, a friend brought me a get well soon card from our then patronized dance spot. Sigh!
Slowly, like bananas off a bunch we have plucked away though and for different reasons, at different times, varied realizations. On occasion we have called each other, wondering what we’ve been up to. A conversation goes;
Dude, what’s up…been a minute! … Yeah, been a while for sure. So, still at ABCD Limited? Still with that redhead/ crazy eyed chic? … Blah blah… We should link up soon… Yeah sure man, we should, you, Terry, Jerry and I for some merry… you know, as soon as I am back from this trip coming up…’ Most times it never occurs, too much going on.
Time, experience, purpose shapes what we become. Family, Career, Situations and Choices inform the direction we take. A bloke settles down and responsibility beckons. Time is devoted to family and hustle to realize a perfect livelihood for what truly matters. Another bloke moves out of town, career. He spends time in villages making life bearable for communities far away, a course he truly believes in. A different bloke gets caught up in some murky waters, spends his time finding his way out, life and hustle, or addressing a problem after another. Some make choices, salvation or something of kind devoting their lives to what’s close to their souls. Growing up…disintegration.
I watched a movie not so long ago. It analyzed a bunch of old friends taking account of their friendship and lives from their teens to their fifties featuring various issues that characterized their lives. Milestones: jobs, marriage, start of a new business and such. The not so much of milestones too; drugs depression and life taking uncertain and undesired routes too. All the men nonetheless grew to become shadows of themselves, a few realizing the mirage that they saw afar in their dreams. The different courses men take in their lives. They change.
I have grown rather quiet these days. I know so but that’s not so much the interesting bit. The Mrs. a lady I have known for ten years through friendship, years as a couple, a period away from each other and eventually as a fiancée points that out frequently. You never talk as much, not as playful either…what gives? She asks… I don’t usually have answers as such. I have found myself thinking extensively and giving short answers, most that don’t encourage further questions. She smiles and murmurs something close to ‘people sure grow’ which slowly fades to further silence or gradually grows to conversation about what was before and what has become. What happened to so and so, where are they, married yet? That kind of banter.
This year though happens to be the one I muscle up my commentary, experience and opinion to new strides. In recent months I quit formal employment; it became boring conforming to status quo and stretching my abilities for a slavery pay cheque. Slightly over 18 months ago, a friend told me I was ripe to take bigger strides towards accomplishment; personal, and in things I doubted I was capable of. Like many, I was terribly scared of what the world gives beyond what I knew. I was hesitant, for a long time until I got caught up in a terrible grenade attack two Decembers ago. That resulted to me staying home for about six months, in pretty much undesirable circumstance. I had nothing, was nothing and was made to feel like nothing. The gift though, came in me emerging feeling nothing; a newly found pair of balls perhaps. Last December courtesy of a power blackout at home, I took a walk to a friend’s house. In random chat we talked about equally random stuff. The pressure we have to conform to with what society dictates; being someone the world around you expects and being someone you believe you should be. He mentioned the difficulty that is; I mentioned how much my perspective has grown towards being about me first. We agreed though, that striking a balance lies in finding purpose in who we are supposed to be.
I spent the last day of 2011 with two very important folks in my life. A gentleman I have known since I was three, often we introduce each other as brothers. He took a dive at life when I still had cold feet; with family and running his own business, he’s offered me lessons and insight like the big brother I call him should. The hallmark of our friendship lies in the fact that we have and continue to be in each others life at both extremes of the good and bad, that is being best friends. He toasted with extreme excitement when I told him it’s about time he played his role, as my best man. I spent the evening with a very dear lady friend of mine, not in bed you pervert…at a sports bar enjoying a drink, then at a fast food spot enjoying chicken and French fries…then at some club embracing the new year and saying bye to 2011 with a hug. She listens and shouts at me appropriately. I do the same. From both meetings I gathered that strides, just like my father says, come from striving to achieve.
So, 2012 just like that beyond the many strides that characterize our lives is a much more pivotal year personally. I am getting used to doing business, with all the challenges that be; demands on my time, to those I owe and to those I hustle on the business front to make a living. The year I surrender my bachelor pad and yeah, the year I bring fourth an extension to my generation.
They say television mirrors society. I religiously watched One Tree Hill, a series on a fictional town featuring teenagers grow through life to adulthood; career, parenthood and life… It best describes the strides folk walk through in a section of life. Season 8 ended with pretty much everyone settling at something, careers built, broken…families built, some broken, people born, some dead. Old friends move on, take a back seat. New friends come…in business, socially and yeah, social media has quite changed the way we make them. Its the way of life. It reflects my way of life, my acquaitances and I. You too. So, here’s to the next one.
I wonder what’s happening with the rest of the crew. Most certain change. Time to have several of those phone calls…
Till Then, Cheers!