“Can Adulting Wait Till I Turn 25?”

August 1, 2019

We want to know how young people become adults. The question we ask is “What’s your coming of age story?” Every Thursday, we’ll bring you the story one young Nigerian’s journey to adulthood and how it shaped them.

The young woman in this story admits she isn’t exactly an adult. She’s 20 and only a few weeks from her convocation ceremony – not like you need to be a full-blown adult to know what it means when your allowance gets cut off. There’s only one way to pay the bills. Money.

When I was in junior school, JSS3 precisely, two classmates and I started a small business selling sweets in school. This was in Seolad College, the secondary school I attended in Mowe, Ogun State. We had clocked that the cafeteria didn’t sell sweets and that some of our other classmates liked to keep their jaws busy in the middle of classes, so we came up with a brilliant idea to start selling sweets.

We bought packs of lollipops to sell every day and every day, before school closed, we sold out. When the school authorities found out, they beat us. Even worse, it was in front of the class. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it was because we were making money. The profit was really good. It was a very lucrative business. I was sad to stop, but the experience was great for me, it was one of the experiences that made me realise that money made the world go round.

My parents raised my siblings and I – two boys and me – like a gang moving through three neighbourhoods in two states. First in Lagos, between Mile 12 and Ketu, and later in Mowe. We were tight-knit. Snitching was and is still a sin. When one of my brothers learned something, we all knew about it within hours. We did all sorts of fun things. One of our favourite hacks was making cookies by compressing a mix of milk biscuits and powdered milk and putting Robo chips on top. My oldest brother once made a magazine; he wrote an entire book full of stories, cut-outs and collages. He took it to school and his classmates happily paid to read it. We did these mostly for fun; although looking back now, I can see how we were always trying to create new things that kids our age would be interested in.

As a child, I thought all adults were ballers. I don’t know why, but I assumed people in their early 20s got some sort of stipend to help them figure their shit out. I didn’t think about it deeply. If I did, I would have wondered why some people’s slay was low-budget.

Our family was relatively comfortable. My dad started a chain of small businesses when I was 5. My mum was a teacher. My brothers got into university early – simple and straight-forward. I never worried about money (although I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like extra cash.) All my cash came from my dad.

So when I began to understand how life worked, my chest began to hurt. I think it happened when we moved to Mowe. I was 12. We’d been living in this nice three-bedroom in a good neighbourhood in Ketu; then the landlord woke up one day and decided to double the rent. Two months later, we were standing at the gate to my father’s uncompleted house in Mowe, with no running water, no electricity and lots of work to do. I was so worried. Why were we moving to the bush? I wondered why he couldn’t just finish the house; so I asked and he broke it down. He taught me about cash flow, savings and expenses in detail. He had money coming in, but he had expenses so he never had enough to finish his house on short notice.

From that point, nothing scared me like the knowledge that people run out of money, or worse, that my dad would stop giving me an allowance at some point. Man, I switched up once I realised how important money was.

Everything about this life is money. You need money to navigate anything and everything else. I cannot wait to have a lot of it. The only other thing I’m looking forward to is independence and living alone – going out with the girls and having my friends over for intelligent conversations.

When I say these things, my brothers often ask how I plan to get there. I’ve never known. In all the schools I went to, I was constantly told to pick a mentor and follow their example. That’s not for me. I could like something about you, but not enough to follow every step you take. There are people I like but they don’t rank as role models.

I’m also lucky to have siblings that help me manage the pressure. One of their favourite things to say is how they’re doing all the suffering so I won’t have to. It’s helped me a lot, because, unlike a lot of my friends, I might actually have the luxury of deciding when I want to take on full-blown adult responsibilities.

Right now, I think I’ll be ready for adulting when I turn 24 or 25. I plan to start a baked goods business after school that should be profitable by that time. I don’t want to work for anybody. I don’t think I can do any of that exactly as I plan though. My dad is somewhat overprotective and I’m sure he won’t let me start adulting when I want. My brothers had to run away from home when it was their time. I’m the last child and a girl. Serious azzdent. My parents are fairly conservative and there’s a role I’m supposed to fill. Plus women typically have it harder starting out.

I hear women talk about how they have to do demeaning things to get or hold on to their jobs. They also tend to get disrespected often by their male colleagues. I remember reading an article once about how hard it is for single women to rent apartments. I laughed because my dad has a few apartments and he never rents to single women. I can’t imagine myself trying to navigate that world.

It’s still 50/50 sha.

For all the pressure, the real reason I’m reluctant to sign up for adulthood is simple: Bills. Those guys show up at random. You can never plan your finances well enough. Gas runs out at the worst times. If you have a car, you need to get fuel every morning. And if the car has a small issue, you have to get a mechanic. If he has your time or he’s just plain incompetent, he’ll spoil something else. Then you’ll have to call another mechanic. More expenses. You want to turn on the generator and something cracks. Expenses. Imagine paying for your cable subscription every month.

I hang out with a lot of older people. I hear them talk about finances and obligations. I won’t lie, it scares me sometimes. The biggest thing I’ve learned from them is to save money. Life is super unpredictable. You can wake up in the morning and something hits you so hard in the face like my family when we moved away from civilisation, it could be your reserve fund that saves you. That’s why 25 is where it’s at for me. I hope I’ll be ready then. For now, chasing that goal is what keeps me busy.


Did you enjoy this? You should sign up for our weekly pop culture newsletter, Poppin’. You’ll get to know what we’re up to before anyone else + insider gist, reviews, freebies and more. If it sounds like your deal, sign up here.

Segun Akande

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

February 29, 2020

Indian movies are an important part of the Nigerian childhood. The colourful outfits, the beautiful actors, the singing and dancing, the film tricks even. Today, we take a walk down the memory lane at some of the great Bollywood flicks that we love so much. 1. Khabie Khusi Khabie Gham. This brought all our favourite […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

June 13, 2021

What does it mean to be a man? Surely, it’s not one thing. It’s a series of little moments that add up. Man Like is a weekly Zikoko series documenting these moments to see how it adds up. It’s a series for men by men, talking about men’s issues. We try to understand what it means to […]

June 13, 2021

June 12 Protest: Yesterday, after months of planning, Nigerians took to the streets to protest against bad governance, abuse of human rights, worsening insecurity, and other forms of maladministration and mishandling of democracy in the country. Coincidentally, this protest happened one week after the Nigerian government’s sudden and unconstitutional Twitter ban. Yesterday was also Nigeria’s […]

June 12, 2021

Sex Life is an anonymous Zikoko weekly series that explores the pleasures, frustrations and excitement of sex in the lives of Nigerians. The subject of today’s Sex Life is a heterosexual 25-year-old man who became obsessed with penises when he realised his penis was small. He talks about how having a small penis affects his […]

Recommended Quizzes

how much of an ajebutter
February 12, 2020

Are you an ajebutter or not? Well, if you’ve gone through life blissfully unaware of its harshness, then you probably are. Now, we want to know just how high you rank on that ajebutter scale, using your food preferences as a (very accurate) measure. Take to find out:

December 11, 2019

In the past month, we’ve made quizzes that guessed the last time you had sex, how many people you’ve slept with, and just how good you are in bed. For our latest attempt, we will use your taste in Nigerian music from the 2010s to ascertain what you’re like in bed. Take to find out:

April 1, 2020

Everyone has a Nigerian bank that matches their personality. You could either be as likeable as GTB, as efficient as Access or as mature as First Bank. Either way, all you have to do is take this quiz and we’ll let you know with almost 100% certainty. So, go ahead:

More from Adulting

February 7, 2020

“Congratulations, you got the job.” comes with its own brand of anxiety. That’s when imposter syndrome from your village people comes out to visit, asking questions like: “can you perform? how long before they discover that you are a fraud?” There are also other problems more work-related with a new 9-5, especially in Nigeria. So, […]

September 19, 2019

The 22-year-old man we spoke to this week is an accomplished sales manger. Getting there wasn’t easy. Still, with his history of low self-esteem and agoraphobia, characterised by bouts of anxiety and panic attacks when speaking to people or speaking in public, he’s somehow managing to breakthrough and record milestones I grew up in a […]

September 12, 2019

The young woman we spoke to this week feels like she turned out okay, but she knows she could have been in a better place if she mentally prepared for some of the things that happened as she became an adult. My life as a child revolved around the church. My parents were ministers in […]

August 22, 2019

I’m one of those few people who can say, not so proudly, that in 2000, the year I was born, my parents didn’t exactly want me. The circumstances of my birth, as I’ve heard a few times, were weird. My parents were entering their forties at the turn of the Millennium. They had ticked all […]

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X