• Dami Afam Ade-Odiachi

Note to Self - Wake up, stay up, don’t give up... you’re only 30

Papa Afam and I on our birthday, April 22 2020. I turned 30. He turned 62.

I don’t know who told you that life would be easy, that every dream and aspiration would be handed to you on a platter of silver or gold. I don’t know who lied to you. How harmful that lie has been. You’ve been led to believe that the good things would find you unbidden. You’ve built a fortress around that belief, and despaired every time the false belief proved itself to be a lie.

I don’t know who told you that the world was good, that life was sweet, beautiful; that love came free and easy without responsibility, a condition that was, is, permanent. You believed that you could live free, to be, to love, to dance like a dervish. You believed that there was good in the world, and that the good somehow outweighed the bad, even though the facts to support this belief are few and far between. What a fool you’ve been - a beautiful little idiot.

I don’t know who told you that you were owed anything, or that you were entitled to anything, or that you could demand anything from anyone - your parents, your family, your friends, your employers. Because of these lies, you believed that help would be forthcoming. It wasn’t. Because of these lies, you believed that the solutions to your problems lay with people other than you. It doesn’t.

With these beliefs, all of them lies, you traversed the world - an idiot on a mission, looking for gold where there was no gold, for peace where there was no peace. Was it not you that often looked to the moon, and the stars, hoping for answers; anything that could save you from the world and deliver you to a beautiful and desirable destination? Hogwash, buffoonery, ninkompoopism of the highest degree.

For 30 years you persisted in these beliefs, built your life around these lies, and look where you’ve ended up. The sole contributor and editor of a blog no one reads. Impossibly, immeasurably, single and alone. Living at home, with your parents, free of obligation. Irresponsible. A drinker par excellence, an unfashionably prodigious smoker, a waste of a very expensive education. No job. No prospects. Yet you blow off the things that could help you with all the ease in the world. You say you’re unhappy with how things have turned out, but how cheap words are. The truth, the cruel truth, the one that cuts to the bone and guts like a knife, is that the only problem is you.

You are the orchestrator of your own misfortune, the architect of your despair, the conductor of your own tragic symphony. Everytime, you retreat to the comfort of your netflix account for hours remember this. Every time you turn to Wuxia, Xanxia - fantastical tales of immortal heroes from the Far East, remember this. Every time you reach into your father, the dear Papa Afam’s liquor cabinet for something aged, beautiful and amber, remember this. Every time you look at the world and say I’m too weak to fight today, I’m too tired to try today, I just want to die today, remember this. Where you are is the grand result of the choices you’ve made, the roads you’ve taken, and the colours you’ve painted.

It’s been tough I know. You’d like nothing better than to laugh with your friends, your best friends, on a yacht, by the pool, on a beach. And drink, champagne, a single malt whisky, a very Russian vodka, without a thought for tomorrow, or the day after that, or the day after that. You’d like to fill your days with joy, every second, minute, moment, joy! One big party! And you’re tired. So very tired. You’re hungry. You’re broken. It’s a shit show, and you can’t seem to find the door that says exit, stage left. But, you’re here. You’re alive. Endure the hunger, it won’t kill you. Bear the shame, it can’t hurt you. Do your best, there’s no reason not to. You’re only 30. There’s life in you yet and I’d hate to see you waste it.

It’s been said, time and time again, that whenever you wake up is your morning. Wake up. Stay up. Don’t give up. So that when you die, because all men must, you’ll go smiling, almost eager, sweet surrender.

Happy Days,


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