Fake ‘Shags’ and Getting Older

Image credit:Women on the Fence

By Tabitha Makumi,
I was in shags a couple of weekends ago (somewhere a few kilometers from Limuru) I wish shags was 5-8 hours’ drive from Nairobi. Somewhere you board a bus and drive for miles and hours without seeing a living soul or meeting people who do not give two shits about Instagram or Snapchat. Somewhere you have to buy two large Daima vanilla yoghurts and the bus have to make several stops for people to take a piss. Now, that’s a legit shags.

Where was I? Yeah, my fake shags. This random guy says hey to me, I say hey back, smile and start moving along. Normal thing to do, right? Only he doesn’t bulge and I am kinda pissed because it’s nine in the morning, I am hungry and I did not get enough sleep the previous night because I binge watched Queen of the South till somewhere along two in the morning.

He says my name like he is unsure of himself. Almost like a whisper. And I am thinking where I have
seen this face before? And then it hits me, hard, just like when it hit me when I found out that Jared Leto (that guy from 30 seconds to mars) is 44 years old. Shocker! …. Went to primary school with this dude (not Jared - obviously, the other dude I was talking about). Small kid back then. Went our separate ways after eight years, count the high school years, campus and my few grinding years (haha) and there he was, looking like Homer Jay Simpson.

The point is, we are getting old. I am getting old. In a couple of weeks I will be turning a year older. Can I be a lady this one time and not reveal my age? Thing is, I am not “It’s my birthday month!” kind of person who follows that up with #BLESSED on every social network. I am more of “What am I doing with my life?” kind of person. Usually directed at myself in panic, sometimes laughter and a little of bit of reflection, “Like really Tabitha, what in the name of all that’s holy are you doing with your life?”

They say if you are going to mess up your life, you better do it in your twenties. You can do whatever you want and all you have to do is tell people you are 21 and watch them walk away. No other explanation needed. Have Methamphetamine for lunch and Heroin for dinner and the world is fine and swell as long as you are in your reckless twenties. Alright, too far? C’mon, gimme me a break here, I am in my twenties to write and think of such crap every now and then!

But in all seriousness, apart from how it blows to add another year to your dwindling twenties, you also get to experience yourself in a whole new light. It’s not instantaneous like when I thought I would “mature up” the day I turned 18. In my small world back then, ‘maturing’ up meant stopping myself from looking down whenever I locked eyes with someone. I even had a small mantra for it… “Keep it there, don’t look down…hold it…” Those who know me well enough know how well that turned out (hehehe)

It’s the gradual things that count. All the while you do not realize what’s going on until a day in the near future when you start reacting differently to certain situations. “Oh, that guy? I don’t care whether he calls or not…”(unless he is Idris Elba...then I care) or not caring how I look when I rock a black t-shirt with “Just a low life” scribbled on it. It’s all about refusing to order a chicken salad like everyone else and going for some scrumptious ribs with fries and a milkshake to go. We can always ‘walk it off’ right? I really do not know how that works. Been walking from Safaricom House to work for 2 weeks and nada!

You know what else it’s about? Switching up my taste of music every now and then and not giving an ear to what do they say again? “This and that type of music defines your personality” …. blahblahblah. I do realize that my days of listening to punk rock days are dead and gone but I can listen to Hard Drugs by Gregory Isaac at 12.45pm and at 12.50pm listen to The Greatest by Sia and Kendrick Lamar without having an identity crisis meltdown of some sort.

It’s also about realizing that it’s okay not to know everything. Don’t panic if I can’t name all the American presidential candidates, or which is the latest country to experience with nuclear weapons or for instance who is the Governor of Wajir County? I know who my governor is and he hasn’t done shit except cause traffic mayhem every now and then. (ahem) Finally, I don’t owe a thing to any TV producer, network or an author. If I don’t like what I am watching or reading, I don’t have to finish it.

From where I am standing, life is dandy.