by Bolade Ogunfuye
This year I will be thirty-three years old. These days, I feel every single one of those thirty-three years in my bones, in my salt-and-pepper beard, in my tired eyes, and my jaded mind. Sometimes, I look backwards at my youth, at the time I felt young, invincible, limitless; words that feel alien to me these days. But that was then, long before I figured out that who I am is who I am, before I figured out that pain is not necessarily a bad thing, and that my scars, worn proudly, are a testament to my story and the dragons I’ve slain.
Sometimes I wish I could reach back ten years to the 23-year-old me, the boy with delusions of grandeur; and reassure him that shit does get better and that he will be okay in time. So here goes a short letter, essentially a few pointers and one-liners, to Bolade aged 23-going-on-30.
Dear 23 year old me,
Know now that despite what you’ve been told, freedom is overrated. You need to understand the power of constraints and how to deal with them to your advantage. The world will tell you that you can have it all before you’re 25, but you can’t.
Find a skill, get a job, keep the job. Just because Steve Jobs built Apple in his 20s does not mean you can or should as well. Learn the simple consistency of putting food on your table first.
True happiness comes from inside you. Getting some luxury items, a new wardrobe or a snazzy phone may excite you now, but that kind of excitement does not last.
Always seek efficiency in your endeavours; in other words, work smart not just hard. Hustling harder will not bring success if you’re hustling in the wrong direction. Know your true north, always.
Also, in the same vein, find a clear vision of what you want to do and stick with it. Choose a group of people and focus on serving them well. Always strive for mastery of select skills, don’t dabble.
Be patient with your parents. Because when you fight your battles, you don’t need to fight them alone. Even though they have very different beliefs and perspectives with you, they’re still there for you no matter what. Appreciate them.
Do you buy seeds and keep them in the box forever? No, you plant them, nurture them and then you can reap the fruits. Same applies to books. Buying a lot of books means nothing if you don’t read them. Reading a ton of books isn’t worth shit if you don’t apply what you’ve gleaned.
Despite how much you’ve convinced yourself, that girl is not for you. You might think she’s the prettiest in this world, that’s because you’re deeply smitten. You choose to bury your rational mind and convince yourself she’s the one, you believe you can change her, but deep down, you know she’s not the one for you.
Despite what the world tells you, you don’t need to be “something” and have a title next to your name; am ‘entrepreneur, a ‘free spirit’, a man/woman in ‘steady relationship’; just be you, the world will adjust.
Stop Watching Porn. You spend about two hours a day watching porn, that’s almost 1000 hours a year. That’s enough time to learn a new skill to the point where you can get paid for it. So even though the porn is free it’s still costing you money.
Stop Lying. Every time you tell someone a lie, you are telling them that who you are isn’t good enough for them. Stop lying, you’re an interesting dude, and your lies get in the way of you, take pride in that.
Lastly, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. You can’t make $1,000 in 7 days on the Internet.
Bolade is a writer and multi-media development professional. He began as a writer, and has since expanded his repertoire to include media content design and development, brand strategy, new media, advertising and PR with a career spanning the last decade. He is addicted to caffeine, sartorial excellence, sarcasm, true crime and media content of the highest quality; and is very fluent in double-speak.