It is all fun and games when you are in your early and mid-20s, then you enter the late 20s and the big age 30 beckons to you. You try to run away but age 30 grips you by the leg and pulls you to itself. You place your hands on your head and exclaim, “What the hell have I been doing with my life all this while? Where is my business empire? Where is that lovely wife/husband of mine? Where is my cute and cuddly baby? Where is my personal house and the nice car?
At that moment you may think you are a failure in life. If you are not careful, depression can set in. I have seen some of my friends turn into philosophers and deep thinkers when they clock 30 years. I have friends who are well over 30 years and I don’t know how they managed the transition from the carefree 20s to the 30s where you are assumed to come of age. The fear of turning 30 years old in Nigeria is real.
The late 20s is a phase where you channel your youthful energy to lay the foundation and structure that will usher in the second phase of your life at 30. Your 20s is the period to start off things, to experiment, to fail, to learn lessons, to start again and consolidate.
Methinks we are too hard on ourselves in Nigeria. Societal expectations are too high. Our society gives you little or nothing but expects so much from you. There’s no amount of motivational talk by motivational speakers or prophetic declarations of faith by our firebrand men of God that takes the reality that Nigeria is a harsh place to live in. Nigeria is structured to be toxic to people who are not from a privileged background backed up by economic, political or religious power. At 30 in other climes where the basic amenities, infrastructure and social security are provided for the citizens, you are supposed to be established.
But in Nigeria, at the age of 30, you are still struggling to find your feet. Ours is a peculiar case. At 30, many young people are still undergraduates in tertiary institutions grappling with issues of strikes by the academic and non-academic staff of their institutions. At 35, after successfully falsifying your age, you are in Nysc camp decked in white on white outfit and doing frog jumps.
I think if by the time of turning 30 years old in Nigeria, you have a legal and regular source of income that pays your bills and you have a well-defined direction you are charting in life, then you are doing well for yourself. But if at 30 you don’t know where your next meal is coming from, you have no qualification or skill, you don’t know where you are heading to in life, you are just aimlessly floating around, then you have a problem.
Unfortunately, a great percentage of people fall into the second category, most times for no fault of theirs.
Your location sometimes determines how far you will go in life. Currently, there is a rush to relocate to Canada and other locations by young Nigerians. If you can relocate to Canada or any other society with first-class infrastructure and where premium value is placed on human life, please do so now that you are still young. Medical doctors and nurses in Nigeria have realised this fact, they are leaving in droves. Other professionals are also following suit.
Your 30s should be an enjoyable and exciting phase of life. It shouldn’t be a phase of life that you enter into with fear and uncertainty.