When you turn 21 there are things that must just start worrying you. In this case we are talking of an average sane 21 year old. Let’s not make gender an issue here, where we’ll use a he and you are she, just do that kind favor, cross the ‘he’ and write there ‘she’. But mostly we’ll use ‘you’ because we know you have too much work to attend to elsewhere than crossing ‘he’ and replacing it with ‘she.’
1. Please call me
Turning 21 tells you that you have now matured so you have to stop that ka-habit of sending your parents “please call me” texts. 21-year-olds call their parents and their girlfriends and their boyfriends, they don’t send such piteous messages. Kwani must you wait to run short of credit before remembering those folks that you keep sending ‘please call me’s?’
2. Formal dialect
It’s at 21 that you start learning how to sustain conversations in fluent English or Swahili –depending on who you are talking to, for at least two hours. It is also then that you realize you need to acquire knowledge on different subjects. That means that you now start reading too much material (both online and hardcopy) than spending a whole day playing Temple Run and sijui Candy Crush, or playing Fifa or just spending a whole day slumbering.
3. Receiving calls
Receiving calls – especially new numbers, becomes a big deal because some company just decided to broadcast your phone number on google, meaning any google user can easily get your number and reach you (removing it from the public domain needs you to deep your hands in the pocket again). You therefore have to properly compose yourself before receiving any incoming new number call since you don’t know who the caller could be. It could be your next contract manager, your next employer, your dear reader, or even Obama’s daughter calling to thank you for that perfect write up.
When 21 knocks your door, it earnestly begs and tries to convince you to stop the sinful escapades that you probably have been involving yourself in in the name of YOLO. So your body and soul start acting like two brothers who have a feud over the piece of land that their father left behind–having incessant arguments cause each of them wants the most fertile part of that land. When the body says ‘I want this,’ the soul says ‘no, don’t ever think of that again, it will harm you.’
That’s the time your music tastes change from hiphop, rnb, pop, reggae, pop, house to rhumba. You develop the urge to listen to the likes of Madilu System, akina Les Mangelepa, akina Maroon Commandos, and akina Papa Wemba. You want to listen to cool music, music that can sing in the background as you sit down with your mzee over a cup of tea to discuss national politics.
Yea, at 21, you make efforts to read Chocolate man’s blog on Fatherhood because very soon (in the next eight years) you’ll be a dad. So you need the required theoretical experience of how waking up besides the same woman for the rest of your life feels like. Also because you want to know whether daktari got herself a man out of those hundreds of emails, because one of your friends—a mjengo guy, is looking for a spouse (he doesn’t do emails). He always pays his bills in Kenyan currency but I guess his nails are the dirtiest around East Africa.
It’s also at 21 when you discover the need to read the Magunga because Magush just started writing about his girlfriend. Who knows, maybe someday he’ll write about how their first night was. And whether his jaber ever yelps whenever Magush mistakenly enters the wrong hole.
8. Stay up late
Manze let’s not cheat ourselves here, hitting 21 isn’t something you can wish for. You see, when you turn 21, you have to start staying up to as late as 4:00 a.m trying to make one or two things (not kids) for your so called future. The worst thing is that after retiring to bed at 4, some lovely human beings just decide to phone you at 6 and say they just wanted to greet you and sijui to hear your voice. Seriously what’s that? (NB. Nobody is complaining here). Or when a neighbor knocks at 6 and stands at your door for as long as 15 minutes, waiting you open the door so he can give back the 50 bob he borrowed you yesterday as if you told him that you had no money for breakfast.
9. Social platforms
You stop using ladies’ pictures as your whatsapp profile because the next time you use one, your mom or dad or your close kin who you haven’t texted for the last five years gets a subject to hit your inbox. You start receiving messages like, “yoo bro, huyo ndo wife sasa?”, “Cuz, ako sawa, anakam huku lini?”, “Jamaa nakucheki, naona tastes zako hazijaaichange”, “Young man! That’s what took you to school?”
10. You learn to listen and appreciate
It is also at the age of 21 that you learn to listen and appreciate everyone’s opinion because come on, those are their opinions. I mean, you learn to sieve whatever information hits your eardrum and only respond when necessary. Like when one guy keeps reminding how ‘you are wasting your time writing too long posts weekly on WordPress’. If you were a 20 year old or below, you’d respond and ask them how that is supposed to be their business. But because 21 has calmed you down, you just smile and change the topic of discussion.
11. Google search history
Your recent browser search history suddenly changes when you attain 21. It gradually moves from searches like “how to serenade a woman, hotchicks.com” and the likes to things like “History of Kenya, how to start an effective business, how Chris Kirubi amassed all that wealth, and how Janet Machuka developed the Homepesa app.”
12. Texts to reply
21 comes with a burden, a heavy one. Like that’s when you stop replying to texts like, “xaxa, ai will kam 2morow” especially when they are from university chaps. Not because there’s anything wrong with such texts but because that’s something supposed to be left to their owners (high school boys and girls, and to some extension, freshers).
You realize that you started receiving more emails than text messages in a day. That means that you are now maturing since nobody uses emails to chat about useless stuff. Emails mean business.
14. You need a crib
When you turn 21, your ego tells you that you are now beyond living like a refugee. The idea of residing in a 4-sharing room stops making sense. Come on, you are now maturing and need to start shaping your life. You have to plan your life, which means that you need more time for yourself. That won’t happen unless you halt living a high school life – where rooms are shared with seven more other guys. You need either your own room or a room that you can share with only one other man.
15. Desire to be self-independent
Begging for pocket money from your dad or mum becomes a thing you never live to love (after 21 sets in). It is for that reason that sometimes your dad calls to confirm if at all you are in school since he doesn’t recall the last time you called to ask for pocket money. And you laugh and tell him you will call him later because you are currently busy. You phone him that later and now explain that you still have a few coins to see you through the next two weeks. You come to learn that your own money is so sweet than your parents’.
16. WordPress statistics
When you finally add a year on your two decades, checking your wordpress stats after every two minutes to see the number of visitors your latest post attracted becomes a non-issue. You instead start considering serious matters like who’s the next Huddah’s boyfriend, will Dennis Okari’s marriage be the next celebrity breakup in Kenya, and so much relevant stuff. Relevant than owning a wordpress domain.