It’s two days to my 38th and I think I am allowed to speak with some authority about what it’s like being a Nigerian male in his late thirties. Aside from being a cultural piece of writing, this could be enlightening to any young Nigerian male who’s on his way to late-thirties-ville.
What better place to start than with health at this age. My love for exercise is paying off but whenever we run into an old schoolmate at the mall, my wife tells me that I am older than I let on. It’s tough to keep a six pack at this age with all the home cooking and hectic lifestyles, so most people have their tummies out. I am also constantly telling my school buddies to dye their grey hairs so that people won’t look at them and work out my age. Apart from the desire to look tweny-something-sexy, the thought of forty lurking around the corner makes many of my age mates think seriously about exercising – but it’s not easy. Some of us have already gotten the welcome pack to illnesses that will need maintenance. From ulcers to diabetes…health is an important topic at this stage.
Some folks say they are done with child bearing especially because of the state of the economy. There are only a few guys from my class who haven’t settled into marriage, and everyone is worried about them. Having said that, there are some guys who are getting a late start at family life and they look so happy and peaceful. The thought of doing school runs at fifty is unsettling for most, otherwise I’m sure many of us would have kept the party going till now.
Many pre-forty men have been working for one and a half decades. I have heard some guys express regret about missed opportunities, perhaps poor choices made around their education. Still, a lot of guys at this age still see the value of further study- if they can juggle it with raising a family. At this age, regret isn’t very practical; there’s so much to do and time is ticking.
If you’re starting to build your home at this age, you’re not going to feel left out. A lot of guys are doing so, having seen the good example of their peers, or having seen the poor example of their parents.
To each his own, right? Still, I’ve noticed that most of the fun at this stage has to take family life into consideration. You or the people you want to hang out with have families so everybody has to factor that in. It works out because your family becomes your world.
Many folks have had to say goodbye to a loved one. And not in the way that a child deals with loss; many pre-forties have had to take up the responsibilities, impact and logistics that come with someone’s rude departure.
Regardless of where you are at this age, all signs point to one truth: you are a grown man. In this article, I seem to have spent the most time on health. Perhaps that’s because it’s so foundational at a time when your body doesn’t feel the way it used to. I believe that health is so universal for all of us because when I see the elderly in the hospitals, it’s often hard to tell the rich from the poor, or to guess the details of how a person spent their active years. You know what, I think I’ll continue to give a lot of attention to health. Happy birthday to me.