How are you feeling today? You are probably feeling low and reading this letter in your room. If my guess is right, you’ve skipped lectures for the umpteenth time. You are anxious about a lot of things: the new courses you signed up for and the rift between you and your parents. You are furious at the fact that they decided to seize your car in first year to ensure you stayed focused and made better grades. Most importantly, like most other young people, you are worried about your looks, the struggle to find a girlfriend and to make good grades—you are slowly mounting up a series of “D’s” and “F’s”.
At 21, you have no clue what your future could possibly hold. You don’t have the slightest idea that you will discover your gifts and purpose in life through the most bizarre circumstances seven years later. Dela, you might have never thought that you will inspire and influence people through your works as an artist, designer and an advocate for purpose. Perhaps, you didn’t think that someday you will be sharing your faith in God with the world and the many miracles He’s done in your life. Some years earlier, Dad and Mum had one of the most important conversations with you to pursue a career in medicine which you didn’t. Oblivious to many things, you decide to live in the moment, taking things in stride; your constant struggle with school and the many times you thought of quitting, issues with self- identity, acceptance, failures and the wins.
Mama Fante!!! Chale, can’t believe it’s been ten years. You are probably going there tonight after coding, right? You are writing software, missing lectures, making beats in your bedroom, struggling with heartbreak. Chale, you are in your own world, oblivious to the realities that await you in life but let me share a few things I wish I knew when I was your age.
Your dreams are valid but, in a few years, you won’t be able to go far without a team. Dreams are built by individuals and the people that help those visions. Building a dream team is everything and you will need many of such people in your journey. Remember to keep this in mind always. No man ever gained much by living in solitude. Improve your social life. Look for networking opportunities, build connections and long-lasting friendships; these will be the most fundamental proponents of helping you discover your purpose. You may not know this yet, but your purpose will involve different facets which you can‘t achieve on your own. You will need partners and vision bearers who can help you on this journey to keep things in perspective and make you headstrong. As I grow older and my purpose develops beyond my personality, I have realized the essence of teamwork and understood the words of Helen Keller ‘‘Together we can do so much, alone we can do so little.’’ The importance of teamwork can never be underrated.
On validation and acceptance, relationships are one of your major drawbacks. You have been pursuing this girl for about a year now. Sadly, it will take you four years (now that’s a degree program) for you to realize she doesn’t love you. During this period, you will have attempted drinking to numb the pain, battled with a heightened porn addiction, severed friendships with many girls, had several illusions and dreams about her and suffered from bouts of depression and realized your grades have gone from bad to worse.
Will all of these pains be worth it? Maybe the answers are in your subconscious mind, maybe not. But I have been trying to understand why you will do this? What’s so different about her that you can’t seem to find in others? After six years, you are going to meet someone else who will change your perception. You will realize that you wasted so many years on the illusion of love. Within that four-year period, she will never call you but you will use your allowance to buy airtime to make foreign calls just to hear her voice.
You thought you were in love but you weren’t. You were just in love with the idea of having a girl tell you ‘‘yes’’ after the pursuit. You were in love with the idea of having a girlfriend you were able to “charm” with your charisma, knowing that you had never ever had a girl.
You wanted to feel you worked hard to earn a girl’s love and respect but that’s ridiculous. As you grow older, you will soon realize that a relationship isn’t about fantasies and just hanging out, splurging and making out to the excitement and hype of your friends.
Being in a relationship should be tied to your purpose and vision not for the mere purposes of dating sake. So, let me ask this, at 21, developing software, do you see any connection with her in the future? Do you really see her in your future or you fancy her presence in the moment? With my interactions with people and observation, I have realized that the worst mistake any man or woman can make is to date a person without considering the future. It will take nine years for you to appreciate how beautiful it is to have a woman who will be there for you in low times and good times. Bizzle’s love story will give you so many thoughts to reflect on.
In a few years you will have a new car. Dela, this will bring so many ‘‘opportunities’’. It will take discernment to realize there are some girls who will gravitate to you for comfort and benefits while others will be interested in supporting your vision. Being in a relationship with the wrong person will curtail your dreams or even destroy them. Dela, “don’t sell your soul and destiny” for the pursuit of a girl who isn’t grounded in God and only cares about the present, fantasies, make-out sessions and your father’s status and wealth. Most importantly, never date or pursue a girl who isn’t your friend. Developing a relationship with someone goes beyond attraction and fantasies. It involves deep conversations and building friendship. Once you start having shallow relationships, it ultimately affects beautiful ones because you find yourself guarding your space and heart so much that you find it difficult to give love to the fullest when you eventually find the one.
Dela, learning never stops. Study hard. Read books and magazines, listen to podcasts and watch documentaries. Acquire knowledge like your life depended on it, because you will soon realize your life really depends on it. You need to understand the dynamics of branding and marketing to sell your brand and products and understand art, economics, history, spirituality, human relationships and more which you will use in your later years. In a few years, the world will go through a revolutionary phase. Technology and digitization will rule making information easily accessible. Without knowledge, you will be left behind. Don’t just limit yourself to what the lecturers teach you. Learning is much more fun when it doesn’t feel restrictive. You realize that when you adopt other modes of learning, you gain more clarity on various topics and courses.
Lastly, communication is a crucial aspect of all your relationships and most importantly family is all we have. When there’s nothing left of us, it’s only our family who will be there for us. Learn to communicate with your parents no matter how difficult it seems. Your relationship will somewhat severe over the years but they love you more than you think. When we are young, we don’t seem to understand certain actions our parents take but honestly seizing your car was a good decision. It helped you realize who your true friends are and averted any incidence of accidents knowing you used to drive rather recklessly claiming to be James Bond. You might have different interests and opinions but always remember, they have your best interests at heart so it will be best if you speak with them rather than keep to yourself over issues they can assist with.
It’s time you get to work. There’s so much I have to share with you, Dela. If only you had the slightest idea. I have come to realize that there are endless possibilities. So much to learn, lots of things to do yet very little time. I will share more with you at another time.
God be with you, Dela Anyah.
With love from your 31-year-old self.
Oh one more thing, the cover picture is from my university days. That was me at 20/21. The boy I am speaking to 🙂