The year is 2012. It’s a sunny, stressful day in the city of Lagos, Nigeria.
Like many other days, you have once again survived the suffocating traffic situation, scammers and scathing work conditions.
Before heading out again for an evening hangout with your friends, you kick back by pulling out your BlackBerry Curve 4 and a pair of headphones in order to delve into the hits of the day: Davido’s Dami Duro, Brymo’s Ara, Wizkid’s Azonto freestyle, Iyanya’s Kukere, Chuddy K’s Gaga Crazy and Omawumi’s Flavour-assisted Bottom Belle, among many others. Good times.
Internet access is not an issue, compared to the occasional hanging of your phone. For two thousand naira a month, you can rest easy and drift through Facebook, Twitter, 2go, YouTube and of course, BlackBerry Messenger.
You sense that your trackball isn’t working as smoothly as it did when you got your device a few months prior, but you choose to focus on a reply from a potential romantic interest whose BB Pin you collected the previous week. You cannot wait to tell your friends about this great progress you have made. For a year that started with a shocking decision by the President to remove the subsidy on fuel and the week-long protests that followed, which was also marred by a plane crash that coincided with a Super Eagles game, things are shaping up gradually.
You cannot get enough of your snapback, your skinny jeans and your beloved Ama Kip Kip shirt. Deep down, you know that a Wednesday hangout should never be on the table, but you remind yourself that there is only one life.
Thankfully, the rendezvous isn’t far from your room and parlour self-contain apartment on the mainland. You could have easily walked, but you opt for a commercial motorcycle instead. You arrive at the bar in no time, and immediately, you are gladdened by your decision to come. In a matter of seconds, you spot your friends, head straight to them and exchange pleasantries. The discussions take on so many dimensions and cover a vast array of topics, but you are particularly struck by the potential future of work and how traditional career paths would be taking the backseat in the near future. Two of your friends are IT people, who happen to be working on an actual application. One is an entrepreneur, who has been devoted to their catering business for over two years. You and another friend are in the corporate, white-collar space, earning just enough to stay afloat. Being in your mid-twenties, you are constantly plagued by all the life goals you are yet to achieve before hitting thirty. But those thoughts have no place in the present environment. You pour yourself a cold glass of your favorite lager beer and savour its rich contents.
Two Olympics, two World Cups and one pandemic later, you wind up on your silky bed on a quiet Saturday morning in your Lekki Phase 1 apartment. The date is January 1, 2022. The past decade has been one hell of a rollercoaster for you, but you cannot help but think of life from a post-2020 point of view. Like many other people, 2021 did a number on you.
Perhaps, even more than 2020. But somehow, you were able to drag yourself to church for crossover service. For a moment, it looked like you finally got someone to kiss during Christmas under the mistletoe, as well as on New Year’s Day. Sadly, you received breakfast in bed. Literally. However, you remind yourself that life goes on and you pick your sleek iPhone to send and reply to Happy New Year texts.
Lagos traffic is much worse than it was in 2012, but working from home is one of the few 2020 gems that you hold dear. You have been scammed on a few occasions, but you also remind yourself that people fall in order to learn how to get back up. Your job pays pretty well, too.
Nowhere near how much your tech friends earn—and they earn in dollars—but you earn enough to enjoy life to the fullest. Internet access is still not an issue, but the steady increase in data costs has become a bit worrisome for you.
The increase in the cost of concert ticket prices, as well as the trend of headline artistes keeping their fans waiting for long hours has also become a bit worrisome for you. However, you still turned up for you favorite artistes in the past month. 2021 seemed to take as much as it gave you, so you did not mind waiting for long hours for barely an hour of musical ecstasy.
You and your friends have kept in touch through the years—a rare feat in the present generation. As the earnings got better, the choice of hangout locations changed. Sometime, in 2021, you and your friends hung out at a restaurant and you were once again reminded of how many urban restaurants prioritise aesthetics over quality food.
It made you miss the bars, but you knew there was simply no going back to them. The restaurants left you with mixed impressions, but the beaches never disappointed you. Every single time you took off your slides, succumbed to the coarse sand and faced the billowing waves with your eyes closed, you could not help but travel back in time whenever the sea breeze brushed past your face and hair. A whole lot has changed, but you never lost sight of the need to take life in its strides and enjoy it to the fullest.
At the present moment, seated on your bed with Michael Jackson’s Human Nature playing in your room, you wonder how the next couple of years will play out. You wonder how long you can keep up with the urban experience. You are unable to answer to both, but you know you are grateful for the new year. Grateful for a fresh start.