I love it and I hate it at the same time.

Malik Kolade
4 min readFeb 14, 2024

February 24th, 2024, I’ll be 26 and 28 years old at the same time. One of these ages is mine, and the other is for the federal government of Nigeria. Oh! I love it and I hate it at the same time.

Over the past few days, I have deliberated on reflecting on the past 25 years, examining the accomplishments and outcomes, the impact I have had on my life and others, the mistakes I have made, and the lessons I have gleaned from them. Am I on the path to having the “supposedly” money that I want to have? "Owo to n d'eru ba" is what Yoruba will call it. How bright is this future where we can take six vacations a year, have breakfast in Santorini, brunch in Maui, dinner in Bali, drive a Mercedes and perform Hajj every year? And most importantly, am I content with who I am and what I have now?

Talking about being content, that’s the one thing I am very sure of at all points of my past 25 years. So, I am somewhat indifferent when it comes to doing that sort of thing — I think they call it retrospection. I know they say it is good to retrospect, it helps with understanding one’s past, navigating the present and gaining clarity on what’s to be. But with me, I prefer free-falling. Somehow, I have the notion that I am not entirely in control of the things that happen in my life. So these past few days that I have been taking account of the past 25 years, I wonder what might have happened and what triggered it. Am I supposedly getting old? Like I am still a Gen-Z, right? Or it’s just another phase of adulthood when certain things like family and duality start taking priority over individuality.

Looking back now, the account of this retrospection has been a fine balance of positives and negatives. This account contains a gory detail of grief and loss, and a fine document of marriage and prosperity. Except the constant fear that all of these may come to an end in the blink of an eye, this retrospection shows account of a spontaneous growth that is life changing. And now I wonder why I missed celebrating the small wins and allow life get into the way of enjoying the steep growth without the fear of it come crashing.

25 years; a long time coming

If you ask me, I’ll tell you getting old is odd to me, but I love the idea of it. It’s odd because strangers still look at me and think I am in 100 Level studying Petroleum engineering in the University of Ibadan or when I fill form in banks and other places that unnecessarily take my time, and my status indicates married, there is that look of “isn’t this a mistake?” And on every of these encounters, almost as if I have rehearsed it to be the template response to that question, I say to myself and the person, E mi naa ma ti pe ninu aye, loosely translated as I have also been in this world for a long time.

25 years has passed, and it has been finding balance between the things I want and the things that make me human; the disappointments in the things I yearn for and the fulfilment in the unexpected ones; hiding my deeds from people and running from the daylight, being broke today and stupidly affluent tomorrow. 25 years has passed, and I love it and I hate it at the same time; the amusement in gliding across life, the fun in its struggles and nothingness. Oh! I love it and I hate at the same time.

26, birthday and whatnot

I do not like birthdays, and somehow I have been able to evade mine for the most part of my life. But right now, I think I have met a force that is formidable, one that can outmanoeuvre my tricks into not celebrating my birthday. While I can still figure out how I can make it play my own way, the question of it not happening has been taken off the table when 12 days prior to my birthday, I have already got my gift.

In 2021, my wife and I started dating, but it was after my birthday, so there was no such thing as really thinking about my birthday other than it being another regular day. In 2022, I was in a different country, and all the things that happened on my birthday with her were virtual, even with the gift — lol. The same thing happened in 2023. The excuse the last 2 years have the distance. Now I am married to her, and we live together, that excuse is done and dusted.

Somehow, I love it and I hate it at the same time. I love the thought of a new experience when it comes to celebrating a birthday, not overly working on the day for daily 2k, or ghosting everyone, or just unconcerned. Somehow, I look forward to this 26.