All grown up
When was the first time you really felt like a grown up (if ever)?
This interview chat was particularly an emotionally interesting one for me. Demilade is one of my best friends who I have watched grow from extremely annoying to super sweet, from largely confused to pretty confident, from undergraduate to graduate, and I, in one way or another, have enjoyed every step of the growth! It’s largely because of Demilade that I raised my standards for Covenant University students/graduates. If your character is bad and you went to CU, I’ll probably judge you and not listen to any of your excuses. *very straight face*
I remember hiding my welling eyes from her in secondary school simply because I couldn’t let her know that her annoying-ness got to me. But now? Now, she’s pretty much one of the first set of humans I meet for advice on stuff. She has all these profound advice on the tip of her tongue (where the taste buds for ‘sweet’ are). So when I asked her this question, I was interested in knowing when this switch happened.
‘NYSC’ she said. ‘During my NYSC, I was truly left alone. I was far away without parental control or familiar faces. I was left to make MY own decisions. That was the first time I really felt like an adult.’ At first I disagreed with that answer, in my mind. I told myself that she could not possibly think that she had only became an adult when she left school, because you see, I believe that she grew into the adult that she is right now, when she was in the University. But then as I thought about her answer more, I realized that she actually answered the question. She grew into an adult and never really realized it. It only dawned on her (or like the question puts it, she first ‘felt like a grown up’) when she left home for NYSC.
I went on to probe and ask her what kind of decision she made during NYSC that she could not make when she was at home with her parents (given the notorious stories of escapades we hear of these corpers). She replied, ‘Hmm… I was able to form my own beliefs, do my own waka, choose where I wanted to go. I also found out how to be a law to myself. I discovered where I can and cannot go. No, I did not become wayward but now I have set my own personal boundaries.’
Although I did not understand what ‘law to myself’ meant, I asked her if she now shares the same cliché opinion that freedom is overrated. ‘It isn’t o.’ she said. ‘I have to experience some things on my own. Not bad things… (erm, why are you fidgeting Demilade? *squints*). But I’d like to test out some theories of mine first. I cannot live on what my parents believe life to be’
Then unexpectedly, the interview took a sharp twist and she started lecturing/preaching to me. ‘In the bible, those from 20 years and above were allowed to go to war. They were responsible for their lives from then on. But this freedom actually is not for us to run wild, for freedom can never be absolute. (yes, she said ‘for’). This freedom is for us to make our own rules and belief system. To be an adult means to be free, to an extent, from parental influence and interference.’ I took a deep breath and she said, ‘Shikena.’ And like this year’s harmattan, she came back to make one last point, and said, ‘But also, adulthood is not in age.’
You know what would be an overkill?
Me going ahead to type what I learned from this interview….