BY ALEX TAREMWA
I had never been to the Source of the Nile until last weekend. I always heard about the spot that caught British explorer John Speke’s eye to pronounce with certainty — that the world’s second longest river started there.
It is here that I met Joseph, a tourism and travel agent, who had brought clients from Rwanda to see the majestic spot. Having met before, I joined him and his guests for lunch.
During our lunch an interesting encounter took place. A 23-year-old man from Kigali, barely out of university, said that now that he had experienced travel to Uganda by road, next time he would undertake the journey by air. “Why?” I asked him.
“For the sake of it; and to get here faster,” he said.
I argued that rather than cough up a hefty sum for no good reason, he could keep the money and do something more useful with it.
It made me think of the rush, this drive among young people in their twenties, a feeling that they are running out of time, that forces them into perpetual haste to do everything at once and in a panic!
Is it this impatience that informs the decisions we make in what is arguably every human being’s critical phase of life?
People are no longer motivated by needs to make any purchases but by desires and trends. Who still holds a Nokia Asha in 2017 when the iPhone 7 is out, they ask? Who drives a Nissan Datsun when there’s a Mark X 2017 model?
A man, they say, dies at 25 years but is buried at 75; implying that when your twenties pass you before you accomplish certain things, that’s it. There are no do-overs, no second chances in life.
Lately when young men and women finish school and get a good job, they rush to buy fancy cars, hang out at expensive places and rent pricey apartments. They throw their old lives out of the window and go all-out like there is no tomorrow.
Do not get me wrong. I believe in being ambitious; but I also believe in patience. Patience entails knowing that no matter your abilities and efforts as a man, you cannot make a conceived baby materialize before the nine months elapse. My grandmother always tells me: “Taremwa, you have two things I do not have. You have time and you have energy. Use them well.”
There is a lot one can get away with in their twenties. You can take many risks, try out different careers, find out what you are good at, what you are passionate about and become an expert at it.
If you focus on the things you are good at and work hard at them in your twenties, polish your talents and skills, explore, learn, when you turn 30, you will be unstoppable.
So rather than fight against time, eat, drink and spend as if the world is ending tomorrow, use your twenties to meet people, make friends and build that social capital. Invest energy and time well. When you are 30 and the family sets in, the options start to dwindle. Your twenties are you playing field.
Find your position. If you have not yet found it, do not stop searching.
If something scares you, do it in your twenties. You may fail massively at it but you will certainly turn up excellent at it in your thirties and beyond.
The writer is the Managing Editor of The Transparent Magazine and a former Lifestyle editor at The Standard