I love binge watching Ted Talks and inspirational videos on YouTube.One day I came across a very interesting topic about quarter-life crisis. I was not really sure what it was about but after watching it, I realised it is something I go through almost every day. As a millennial (a person reaching young adulthood in the 21st century), but there is a lot of pressure on us. There is this belief that we have to accomplish certain things at a certain time. We have to have a degree at 21, car at 23, the house at 25, married at 27 and kids at a certain age. Society expects us to be somewhere or have something at a certain age, but it is not as realistic as it is presented to us. There is a lot of pressure on us to catch up to the status quo. This results in most of us being stressed and depressed (some without knowing it or realising it). Majority of people understand depression as being paranoid, withdrawn (mood swings) or suicidal (which has claimed so many lives) but it has some of the most unexpected symptoms or signs. For example, sleeping too much or too little, eating too much or too little, not caring about your appearance, not interested in anything, trouble concentrating or being forgetful, fear of failing without trying, losing confidence, feeling numb and a whole lot more. And these are not even the clinical symptoms!
This is something the majority of millennials go through without realising it, including myself. At this age, we are torn between what we want to do or what we were told to do. We are at crossroads on whether to pursue what we are passionate about or what makes us richer and “stable”. We are allowed to dream all of our lives but as soon as we reach around eighteen, we are told to choose more “realistic” career paths. And we are expected to have it all figured out when we are just getting to know and understand ourselves.
Where I come from (Zimbabwe), there is no such thing as depression. Its either you have a bad attitude or you are just a lazy, ungrateful and disrespectful person. When we trying to speak our mind or voice our opinions its classed as being ill-mannered or disobedient. When we feel withdrawn, aloof or numb, it is classed as idle or dull and it actually becomes your label. Most of us can not talk about it because we are accused of pretending, being weak or told to suck it up as an adult. Even when we tell our brothers and sisters in Christ, its deemed as lack of faith or you are not praying enough. I truly believe the quarter-life the crisis is something crucial that we have never really thought about.It needs as much attention as midlife crisis or any other crisis because so many lives are being lost, dreams and passions are fizzled out because what we hope for never really happens the way we expect. The older generation think of it as the rebellious period, at times yes because we are now exposed to the things we have been looking forward to but at times it is a cry for help.
We internalise the stress and we end up bitter, lashing out and paranoid. And we convince ourselves we are not good at anything, for example, most of my life I have always thought I am not talented or gifted in any way. This has pressured me to try and do something that I do not like only because I want to prove to everyone and myself that I might be good at something. Comparison kicks in and there are millennials who have set the bar pretty high and the bar is very hard to reach eg Mark Zuckerberg, Malala Yousafzai and many others. Unemployment rates are high amongst millennials, not because we are lazy but we are expected to have thirty years experience by our twenty-first birthday. Others are even fired for being too young and told to learn to bounce back regardless. There are even those who have ticked all the boxes of society’s status quo, successful, independent, car, private jet-you name it but they still go through the quarter-life crisis. We are not a lazy generation as I heard someone say.”The generation of young people who throw tantrums when they are not given what they want”.We are just misunderstood and it would make a huge difference if the older generations could hear us out and realise we are more than what meets the eye.
So many of us have times when we get stressed and depressed or you know someone who is going through it. Please know you are not the only one but their millions if not billions of us out there. Make sure you have someone to talk to and let us believe and pray that God helps us through it too(as much as we might be told we have little faith or are not praying enough-He is always there regardless and He will never leave you). I will post the links of some Ted Talks videos which have opened my mind to this and I hope it helps you too. Knowing how not a lot of people like reading, I opted for videos on this topic.
Proverbs 3 v 6: in all your ways submit to him, and He will make your path straight.
I took this picture on the very first time I decided to take myself out. I went to a movie and walked around Oxford City. To be honest I did not really enjoy the “date” because I kept thinking about how people were looking at me walking alone and how I probably looked lonely. To be very honest, it was all in my head. People were busy minding their own business and busy with their own lives. I was alone, yes, but I was not lonely.
I decided to try again, “take myself out”.I did not go with the mentality of worrying about people around me or what people would say if I told them I have “day dates” with myself. I took/take myself out because I realised I deserve it, I deserve the nice things in life and if I can afford it, WHY NOT? I began to feel more comfortable with it and it helped me to get to know myself. I began to discover things about myself I never dreamt of or even thought of. Yes, I know some people pity me and think its a cry for help. TRUST ME, it is not. I enjoy day dates, I make sure I go out once a month where its just me and Jesus. LOL writing it down and saying it to people freaks them out more but it helped me get comfortable with myself.
I enjoy getting to know me and I have realised, i am actually a fun person with very expensive taste. I would recommend it for anyone who is trying to know themselves. I realised that if I learn to love myself unconditionally, I will be able to love others likewise as well.
So here is to more day dates and loving people unconditionally…
The first thing Zadzisai did as soon as she sat in the kombi was to ask the conductor if he could drop her off on Green Lane just before the Glen Lorne Shopping Centre. The conductor looked at her, sneered and continued shouting.
“Glen Lorne, Glen Lorne! Including those before Glen Lorne Shopping Centre”. He ducked into the kombi and said to Zadzisai.
“Eeeh sister, did you hear that? We do pass by Green Lane, kuvarungu we do pass through there. If you tell me the address I am sure I will know the occupants.” She just smiled at him and shook her head. He grinned at her and she could see his three gold teeth at the back of his mouth. She could tell he had had sadza nemuriwo for lunch, as his front teeth had green residue.
It was a chilly Wednesday afternoon, the sky was overcast and the August winds were beginning to introduce themselves. Zadzisai had been looking forward to this day for four years now. It was not her first babysitting gig but she had been trying to get this exact job for six months now. Ever since she got back from England she had been applying for this job and today she would finally meet the family whose life would change, including her own.
She sat between a man who reeked of garlic and could not stop coughing and a lady who was speaking very loudly on her tablet, it looked as if she was holding a counter book to her ear as she shouted into the receiver, “I sent the money via Ecocash Ba Nhamo, send Nhamo now anotora“. The man would try to start a conversation with her here and there but she had her earphones in and pretended to listen to music. The whole trip she had her eyes on the conductor waiting for him to call for Green Lane. Zadzisai zoned out as she began to contemplate on whether it was a good idea or if it was worth the risk. She thought about how Dadirai the only person who had stuck with her four years ago, had helped her get the passport and the visa.
The garlic man nudged her as the kombi came to a halt. “Vekuvarungu, Green Lane is that road there”. The conductor said as he pointed at the road which was opposite the kombi.
“Yaaah, it’s good you had 4 rands yakakwana. Or else I was going to marry you with someone”. Zadzisai got off and thanked the conductor, he just nodded his head and banged the top of the kombi to signal the driver. As the kombi took off, she crossed the road and took out her phone. She began to look through her messages with Mrs Warren to make sure she was in the right street and for the address. She put the address on Google Maps to make sure she would not get lost. It would take her 12 minutes to walk to the house.
The houses looked like the ones from Bicester Village in Oxford, the ones where you knew rich people lived there. The air was clean and unpolluted, the birds sang a different tune from the ones from her neighbourhood. All the lawns were neatly manicured and the houses were all more than two stories. She stopped as a car passed by wishing it was Mrs Warren but the driver was completely different from the picture she had.
“Zadzie, you can not go back now”, she said to herself as she walked.”You have been waiting for this for four years now, you deserve to be happy. Yes, amai nababa do not approve and will not after what Tongai did. However it is not your fault that he decided to run away with someone’s husband, you can not pay for his mistake. You deserve this, the way it happened was a mistake but the result was not”.
Zadzisai stood in front of the house with the address she was given. It was not very different from the ones she had seen as she was walking, but the bronze gates had huge W’s carved on them. The palm trees shielded the house, one could only see the Satellite Dish from outside.
“In two days you will be back in England Zadzie, just get it over with”, she convinced herself. She fixed her afro and as she was smoothing her dress, she spotted a clove of garlic. She took a deep breath, remove it and pressed the intercom.
“Hello, Mrs Warren speaking how can I help you”, a voice with a distinctive accent comes from the intercom. “It’s Zadzie, Mrs Warren. The babysitter…how are you?”,she said as she looked at the gate.
“Oh, darling, you made it. I was beginning to worry but Owen told me you seem like a woman of your word. Let me buzz you in”. She heard a soft buzz and the gates opened ajar, two brown dogs that looked like overgrown rats came running towards her.
“Gumdrop!! Sheepy!! No, get away from Zazie! Shuuu shuuu, boys where are your manners!”, a blonde petite woman shouted from the balcony. She looked like one of those retired supermodels, you could only see her wrinkles when she smiled or grimaced. She came down the stairs and hugged Zadzie, looked at her and hugged her again.
“Wow, you are more beautiful than I thought. Is that your real hair?”, she said she reached to touch it. Zadzisai shook her hand as she was about to touch it,
“Yes ma’am, it is my real hair. You have a very beautiful house”, she said moving a bit further from her.
“Oh thank you, darling, please come inside. I need to show you around so that you are familiar with the place before you start on Friday. And please call me Victoria, ma’am makes me feel old. After all 44 is the new 20”, Victoria laughed heartedly as she led Zadzisai to the kitchen. As she followed Victoria, Zadzisai was looking for signs of the child she would be babysitting.
“Angelina, come down sweetheart. I need you to meet someone”, Victoria shouted from the bottom of the stairs. Zadzisai’s heart began to pound and she could hardly breathe.
“How do you pronounce your name again, Zazie? Right? I always try to pronounce names correctly even though some of them are tongue twisters”, she said as she poured herself a glass of wine and an Appetizer for Zadzisai.
“Its actually Zadzisai but Zee will be fine”. As Zadzisai was talking, Gumdrop and Sheepy can down the stairs and Angelina was behind them trying to catch up. The dogs disappeared into the lounge before Angelina could catch them.
Zadzisai gasped and held her mouth,” She looks just like him, she has her father’s eyes”.Her eyes became glassy. She stared at Angelina until she was in the kitchen standing next to Victoria. She wore a pink dress similar to hers but with a darker hue.
“Zee, what did you say? Oh, we adopted her four years ago but a lot of people say she has Owen’s eyes even though his are blue and hers are brown. I guess its the shape they will be talking about”. Victoria exclaimed as she reached out to hug Angelina who was shyly staring at Zadzisai.”
“Yes, I guess its the shape that they will be talking about. You said she is four? How did you end up getting her?”. Zadzisai tried to compose herself and act natural. Victoria looked at Zadzisai, smiled down at Angelina and asked her if she could go and find the dogs then she would introduce her to Zadzisai. Angelina ran towards the living room door and disappeared.
“Zazie, we haven’t actually discussed or told Angelina about her adoption. We feel she is still young and even though she is black and we are white, we see no colour she is our baby. We got her from a family in Westgate after their daughter was impregnated at 17. They could not handle the embarrassment because unfortunately, their son ran away with someone’s husband. Its a shame, the parents took the baby from their daughter and told her the baby was still borne. They sent her to England the last I heard but they were very desperate we received Angelina the day after she was born, on my 40th birthday.”, she said as she reached for a tissue to dry the corner of her eyes. She took two sips of her wine and looked at Zadzisai.
“She is a real miracle, we could not have a child so Owen and I opted for adoption and I do not regret it”. Angelina came running back in with the dogs, she stood in front of Zadzisai and shook her hand.
“I am Angelina Warren, what is your name?”. She smiled showing her toothless mouth to Zadzisai who laughed out loud, they all did.
“Mommy, I like her. Can we keep her?”. She looked up to Victoria who smiled back at her daughter and said.
“Yes, we can keep her”.
As Victoria was walking Zadzisai out the door, she gave her an extra key and told her she could start the day after tomorrow but she could come tomorrow to get to know Angelina whilst she ran errands. She escorted her to the gate and hugged her tightly, Angelina walked behind Victoria and waved as the gate was closing.
As soon as Zadzisai arrived home, she called Dadirai.
“Shaa, I just met my daughter for the first time. She has Tapfumaneyi’s eyes, she is beautiful Dadie. Hiiii mwana wangu nhai!”, she began to cry.
“What are you planning on doing then Zee, are you still thinking of taking her to England? It is risky because this is kidnapping ka. Since Mugabe resigned hakusisina corruption so you might end up in prison, Chikurubhi straight before you make it to the airport.”
“I am taking her Dadie, she is the only thing I have. You helped me with her passport and visa, all I need is her and kuswera mangwana I am taking my daughter home. She is mine and she deserves to be with her real mother. They call her Angelina but before I gave birth to her I always called her Muneni. That is her name.”
“Hhhmmm Zee you know I always support you but think hard on this. I am not comfortable with this and I might end up losing my job at the Embassy if this blows over. Think about it, give it two days because ndaakutotya.”, Dadie said to Zadzisai.
“Ok, I will think about it. I will take time, thank you Dadie. Wakaita basa hako. You gave me a chance to see the only thing worth risking my life for. Thank you”.
“No worries Zee, but chimbofunga about it”, Dadie suggested.
As soon as Zadzisai hung up the phone, she began to pack her bags and booked two one way tickets to Heathrow Airport. She put her phone in water and began to plan for the next day, her trip back to Green Lane and straight to Heathrow with her daughter.
For 3 months now, Nyarai had been standing in front of mirrors every morning. She would turn around from side to side and imagine if there was another way of covering her protruding stomach. She had been trying it since Thursday last week but it was now painful and uncomfortable. She did that now in front of the wardrobe mirror as she took her zambia.
Taku was sitting in the dining when she came out, he was Mai Mfundisi’s 15-year-old son.He had his father’s big, bright eyes and bushy eyebrows.
“Sisi Nyarai I am hungry, make me something to eat. Mama said you should be done the cooking by 7 o clock as there is a prayer meeting tonight. Don’t forget to polish my shoes and pack my bag, tomorrow I am being made a prefect. I want to be presentable.”, he said as he dropped his bag on the marble dining table and went to his room. “Ehoi,mukoma Taku”. She walked into the kitchen, where the dishes from lunch were waiting for her and a note with the menu for the dinner. She made Taku a PB and J sandwich and called him to tell him it was ready. She began to take out the pots and the ingredients for the dinner.
“Nyarai,!, Taku shouted from his room”ko why are you not bringing the sandwich to me? You know how I hate pausing my games. Nxaa, the what would you know about online games. No wonder Mama says you are useless.” He stomped into the kitchen, took the sandwich and slammed his kitchen door as he went out.
Nyarai pretended not to hear him and continued to peel the potatoes by the sink. When she turned around to get the fresh cream from the fridge, she saw Mfundisi standing next to the fridge looking at her.
“Maswera sei Mfundisi”, she said as she curtsied in front of him.
“Hhhhmmm Nyarai, there is no need for you to be doing all that. Come give daddy a hug. Heeee, come and I have missed you shaa”, Mfundisi said as he walked toward her.
“No”, she said as she pushed him back, “Mukoma Taku is here, I don’t want him to catch us like he almost did the last time”.She went back to the sink and continued to peel the potatoes. Mfundisi walked towards her and put his hands around her waist, Nyarai dropped the potato she was peeling and the knife in the sink and rested in his embrace.
“I need you to stop calling that boy mukoma, he is 6 years younger than you for goodness sake. Doesn’t he know you are carrying his little brother or sister”, Mfundisi said as he rubbed Nyarai’s belly? She was 6 months along but someone who did not know he could not tell that she was pregnant. She placed her hands on top of Mfundisi’ and smiled.
“Asi nhai daddy, when are we going to tell people about us. I can not keep tying my stomach and soon that slow wife of yours will catch on. Mxxm, people need to know I am the real first lady of the church. That Mai Mfundisi title is mine and you need to start doing something because our child is due in less than 3 months”, Nyarai said as she freed herself from Mfundisi’s arms and walked towards the fridge for the fresh cream again.
“Honey, I know how you feel and I agree. Hhhhmm, but you know with me being the pastor it takes time and I need to be careful of my reputation. I also need to know Taku is taken care of when I decide to divorce his mother”.
“Decide? Aah, what to do you mean decide? she looked at him with her hands on her hips, “Lameck, urikuti?”. She walked towards him and as she was about to poke his head with her finger, Mai Mfundisi came through the kitchen door. Mfundisi looked at his wife and at Nyarai, he then pretended as if he had been telling Nyarai off.
“See these plate Nyarai, they are ceramic, not zenge which you are used to in the rural areas. Do you hear me?”, he said as he walked towards his wife to kiss her.
”Ah daddy, I have told her that before but I guess you can take the girl out of the rural areas but not the rural out of the girl”, she sneered and kissed her husband.
“How was your day my love”, Mfundisi asked as he escorted her to the dining room and winking at Nyarai who was in the kitchen behind him. They left the kitchen and Nyarai stood in the kitchen teeming with anger. She collected herself and began making the scalloped potatoes.
“Iwe Nyarai”, Mfundisi shouted from the dining room, “make my wife a cup of tea and no sugar please, she is sweet enough”. She heard them laugh from the kitchen.
“Ehoi Mfundisi”, Nyarai responded. She put the kettle on and prepared the tea for Mai Mfundisi. As she was at the door about to enter the dining room with the cup of tea, Nyarai spat in the tea. She smiled and said to herself, “All this will be mine soon”.Taking the tea to Mai Mfundisi.
now i am sitting here,searching for the perfect words to describe how i feel l know what i feel is not something i am proud to admit but yes, l am jealous of her,i am jealous of how l know right now she is the only one on your mind and you can not think …