By Eunice Aber

24 is obviously the age before 25. But it also is in a scary way, the age when it begins to dawn on you that you’re approaching quarter a century and have nothing you can put to your name. Given that the world follows the rules of normal distribution, this isn’t always the case for everyone.

Growing up, the only age I thought of, other than my age then, was 26. This was when I had planned to get married. I don’t know why 26 was always the age I wanted to get married, but I suspect that it’s because it fell in the year 2020 which seemed like such a round and nice figure to my young mind.

26 is now around the corner, but marriage is probably the last thing on my agenda. Maybe because I grew up and found out that I could not marry myself. And then, when I finally came to terms with that fact, I learned that marriage doesn’t just take two to tangle. At least in Africa, it comes with the entire clan, plus bride price, which is a pain in the skin for the Millennial. I’ve long since moved on to other plans.

As the quarter century comes around, I realize that my definition of success has kept changing from time to time; at one time it was excelling in books, then it became getting a good job, and now it seems to be owning something. Basically, having something, an asset you can attribute to yourself. Your own business, your own land, house, innovation, name them all.

And from where I’m standing now, I look back at my teenage self and know that if I had had the opportunity to sit down with her then, I would let her know a few things;

  • That opportunity sometimes comes once and shouldn’t be taken for granted.
  • That hard work and positivity actually pays off.
  • That risk is sometimes unprofitable, but can also be worth it.
  • That you can have dreams that no one else has ever had, and they can come true.
  • That it is good to sit home and be a good girl, it’s okay to go out and be wild, but it’s even better to explore and make yourself a better person each day.
  • That no one is really interested in knowing why you failed, but they might be interested in knowing what made you succeed.
  • That friends are a treasure, and family should never be forsaken.
  • And finally, that you should never be afraid to ask for more. From yourself or others.

To my teenage self, I would say this, “dare to dream a dream that is daring”.

To my half century self, I’ll just say, “I hope I make you proud.”