I wrote this article, just about two months before I met her in 2008 (I got married last month; I think I need to write a prequel to this).
It is only madness to do the same thing all over and again and expect a different result
Twenty boys cannot play together for twenty years
—Some weird uncle of mine (I cannot remember his name)
Today marks the beginning of the rest of my life. In every wake, I try to savour the pleasures of the day’s first minutes. That is the only period when I get to reflect on my experiences in the dream world with the intention of figuring out the logic behind experiences I come across during sleep. At that point in time, all apparent worries escape my residual thought processes while I am awake.
Then I wake up and reality sinks in. My mind starts racing through all my challenges and unaccomplished tasks. All these questions arise out of a passion to survive using the skills available.
*”Seyi, you need to move to your own crib”,
*”This dude your net worth is not growing”,
*”Lagos Traffic is mad”,
*”Seyi that habit kills” ,
*”I need to be a better son”,
*”I have to finish that PMP book. Dude, you are not improving yourself…”,
*”When next will I travel”,
*”What can I do about Nigeria”,
*”How will I maintain & improve upon this lifestyle for as long as possible”
*”Seyi, your bed is empty. You are still single”
To hold the position of being “single” [Important question: Are we every not single, in the literal sense?] is like a stigmatized role in present day Nigerian society. In church the pastor calls them “the single” and prays that they find “the bone of their bones and flesh of their flesh”. And you see people with all eagerness to get married or hooked up one way or the other. The ladies are in the choir or ushering team (exhibiting their God given gifts). During praise and worship, the guys show off their masculine features with very acrobatic dance move (possibly a mating call for the interest few *wink).
This is my background. Most weekends are filled with marriages and engagements. Singles dress their best and so do the parents. There is always this excitement on their face like “see all my hard work” (not being critical but all that happened was two people say “I do”–want to have sex legally; nothing else is brought on the table to measure efforts exhibited as a result of parent activities or personal development). I always get the question “Mr C, when are you going to settle down?” “Mr C, you know what, let me find you a decent girl”. Over the weekend, my parents had their 35th years wedding anniversary. A present my mum said she would appreciate is if I “Get married”.
What about I my friends? That seems to be the in thing. “Lets get married””See my wedding website”. The unmarried amongst them preoccupied them are in the “serious relationships with marriage in mind” mode. They complain I think too much and my mind is all caught up in philosophy & economic studies.
As I slowly become a stranger amongst love ones, I started asking myself “Why am I single?”. In most churches, being single at 29 is a reflection of your poor financial or moral status. I am neither. In my own little world, people consider my species as highly marketable. Never being a womanizer (Don’t get it twisted; that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy women because I do. That was God’s greatest gift the man).
At heart, I am a die hard romantic. Looking forward to the day when a lady would look to my face and wait for me to wake (so that “she would be the first thing that crosses my eyes”). You know those type of mushy mushy stuffs. I enjoy every moment of it. Skin to skin communication I call it. “Saying it best with nothing” But I think it all adds up when it is with the “right” person. Hold up: Seyi at your age, you believe in the right person? Funny enough, yes. I don’t believe there is that one person that exist for me or you, but there are some people that their appearance, style, temperance and capacity makes a perfect fit. We have to be soul mates. It is much more deeper than what you hear of on musical videos. Beyond kisses by the moonlight, trips to Paris or sex on the beach. I am talking of someone whose eyes can cripple the partner. In her soul, she is convinced there is nothing he can hide (and vice-versa). That purity of relationships is priceless. A purity that when they look at one another, they feel completely naked. I rather remain a freelancer than fully commit to a relationship that does not meet that standard, because it lacks these baselines. Besides, in your commitment, you might get to lose sight of who your real partner is out there. And that eventual breakup would cause life regrets.
I really don’t think a wife is a price material you pick from the market. Statements like “Let me find you a good girl, wife material” is just wrong. It is like we are trying to identify an original product by using certain traits.Traits like:
- Never slept with any guy before (OK due to recent westernisation, we make it “Never slept with more than three guys. And it must be in the confines of a relationship).
- Does not go clubbing
- Is her mums best friend
- Can cook & clean
- Does not like sex (That is still the one that worries me the most. Because if I was to have a wife without sex, then I rather just get a best friend)
All these characteristics do not meet the very essence of marriage in the first place (at least in the African context) which is “providing a conducive environment to raise the next generation”.
-How is the environment conducive when you are not happy?
-How can you be happy when you cannot be who you are, while in the rush for the society’s best bred?
-What foundation was this relationship build on that could prevent a divorce?
-How can you build together if you don’t agree?
-How can you agree if you don’t communication?
-What mechanisms are in place to manage conflicts in no-win situations?
But beyond the razzmatazz that drags one to the quest for Mr/Mrs Right, what about considering the holistic implication of an extra union? What is its importance? Marriages represent the model upon which the society is founded. Any flaw in that framework wouldimpact negatively on the foundations that the next generation will emerge from. Early divorces and wrong moral values could result in disrespectful and rebellious youths and high levels promiscuity amongst others. These traits have their ways of filtering into the business environments and changing risk levels (since people already have trust issues), increasing the number of societal misfits, pushing up criminal activities (to include organized crimes) and allowing loser women thrive (fueling prostitution, preferential judgment criteria and environment to breed crime). There becomes misalignment amongst sections of the society and this could affect the smooth flow of a vibrate economy (increasing activities in societal rejects always threaten productivity in the organised sectors). Now he is linking it with the economy..But why won’t I? That collective economic actions is what provides the enabling environment within which our survival as a species is guaranteed. The contribution of everyone’s quota into the unit economic pot can provide that society the right to demand for its survival and then go on to preserve its way of life. Its way of life is reflected in its culture, youthful exuberance, concept of happiness, art, value system, religion and rituals of courtship.
Now to the nitty gritty; is our ways of life in Nigeria sustainable? Our ways of life encourages the youth to rush into the search market immediately after schooling. These participants have limited understanding in applying abstract concepts to the real world, which reduces their focus to the quest for money and what it can buy (not the application of their skills towards the preservation of their ways of living and critically devising better ways of doing things).
It is when you are in the system long enough then you before you realize you are part of the mess. No difference. Just another pulley that runs the conveyor belt. Personally, I look at the deteriorating state of Nigeria and ask myself, if my son turns out to be like me (with my self imposed title of half man, half transformer), do I really want to bring him here? (Personal thoughts:OK get married for companionship. But dude what about sex? If I want companionship only, I will hang out with my peps innit? OK, I can have sex, but that will be with condom to prevent children (and sex without condom is one of the reasons we get married in the first place abi? lol))
I am not against early marriages. But I think two things have to met. Beyond the obvious of meeting the right partner, the first years after school should be spent in the quest of self understanding, actualisation and mental development. The youths should be involved in explorations and experimentation of things in the real world. They should be found in groups where critical issues are raised and solution proposed in a “can-do” manner. All these provide the enabling mindset for a marriage life that protects the economy within which it feeds from.
Present educational institutions are not equipped enough to provide the necessary tools towards tackling real life issues. An institution that would do that would be one that pushes each individual to develop a unique approach to things that will optimize their personal quota and value contribution. A society that then syncs its plan with that will go places.
I think I have almost completely developed a plan that will sustain my life. But I don’t think I have met her yet. But till then, I have been singled out to live a my life (as a young man on this lonely planet trying to make sense of what I see), and enjoy the day’s first 5 minutes before I ask the world these questions;
Am I fit to live in this society?