Adults in their hoods, Ep. 1: Introduction

The average adult will probably say to you that “adulting is a scam”; and you would have no other choice than to agree. I have been in a number of hoods in my life; and I can tell you without mincing words that the absolute ghetto of them all is this Adult-hood. It’s dirty, stinky and mostly full of broken dreams.

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When I was little, my parents thought I would become a pilot. Heck, I also thought I would be flying planes when I grew up. They even called me “Engineer Barakat”, for effect. I am older now, I am neither a pilot nor do I drive anything, per se. (I can’t confidently drive a car even though I learnt how to drive a stick shift once; but that’s a story for another day). That’s not the broken dream I was referring to, anyway. I probably would never have made it as a pilot even if I tried since I have very bad eyesight; and an unnatural fear of heights.

This might be a long post. So, brace yourself now or save this read for later when you have time to spare. Either way, I can assure you that although you may not know me or my life, reading this will be worth your while. ?

Let me start off with a memory from when I was 16 years old; and a freshman at the University of Ibadan. It was one of those hot nights in Obafemi Awolowo Hall; and a bunch of us were quietly anticipating for the maintenance guys to turn on the power at 8pm, as was tradition. Meanwhile, a party was going on downstairs in what we referred to as the Awo hall common room. It was where wardens and executives met to make decisions. It was also the only place powered by the hostel’s generator that night; so it was brightly lit. Most of us wondered about what could be going on for the generator to be on at that time of the night.

Photo by Min An from Pexels

Being the curious cat that I was, I made enquiries. I found out it was the private event of a final year student’s birthday party. I can’t exactly recall what the party was like or who the celebrant was. Only thing I remember was telling myself that I would have a party like that in my final year. Let me say that from that moment, through the four years that I later spent at uni; it was a subconscious build-up to the day when I clocked 21, booked that same common room and finally had my own final year birthday party. ?

Why did I tell this story? Firstly, to draw you in. You like gist.

Secondly, to show how I perceive myself to be a planner. I always have been. If I see something that I really want to do or get, I make sure that everything else that crosses my path from that moment onward led me to the achievement of my aim. It was always that simple. Or so I thought. 16-year old me didn’t know how I was going to get my party in that exact place or at that exact time but she knew that she would get it one way or another. So, she made a four-year old mental note and when it was time, the stars did well to align. I also think I got lucky though.

Finally, I wanted to describe how life was simply that easy without as much mental gymnastics as they are now. I mean, there were some tough days like when I got a low mark in a course and wished I disappeared or when I broke my own heart at 17 when I thought I should love someone else other than myself. However, none of those days are touching these present days in terms of how wild it has gotten. Now, I don’t know if you read my On becoming 25 post but if you did, you must already know that everything has now gone to shit.

Just kidding, but not really. ?

Transitioning into an adult is a whole different ball game; and the wildest part about it may be the fact that there is no set manual to navigate things. No one tells you how in one minute, you’re a child and in the next one, you’re expected to pay bills and make life-changing decisions. A large percentage of us were flung into this hood without warning and as such, it’s been a bit more difficult to manoeuvre than we expected. One thing I have however realized is that no matter who we are or where we are from, we all have stories to tell. Because our stories are the sum of us and we are the sum of them.

This is why I made the decision to collect the stories of young adults like me, from across the globe, willing to share their experiences about how they are navigating adulthood; and who are not afraid to bare it all. In this series, I would be posting their stories. To inform, inspire, and entertain a demographic, who often times are, saddled with the responsibility of figuring things out on their own. Letting them know how growth is universal and how they are not alone in any of it. To be honest, I don’t have all the clues about how I am going to do any of these yet. But if I can be sure that you are with me in all of it, reading all the way? then I’m sure I can wing this too. ?

To drop into being means to recognize your interconnectedness with all life, and with being itself. Your very nature is being part of larger and larger spheres of wholeness.

Jon Kabat-Zinn

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