Quarter Life Crisis

Trusting in our struggles will help us pave our maze called life.

Is it a funk? Are we lost? Perhaps just confused? Feeling under the weather? The blues? Depression? There are many ways to describe it, just so you know though, you are not alone.

I admire people who always know what they want, where they stand and which battles to fight. They are the type of people who set clear objectives, make plans to achieve them and do not waver in doing the necessary to attain their goals. Their lives are a fluid succession of events dovetailing into each other in harmonious succession like a perfectly performed aria.

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Unfortunately, unlike the straight horizontal timeline they have paved, the world is a formation of curves and circles, thus getting from point A to point B can be adversely altered by multiple variables such as their choices, their circumstances and their willingness to get up when they fall. It is a time when things come crumbling down, hope is lost and faith is at its edge. Life’s path is a maze, not a straight line. Since its unpredictable the best plan of action is having a contingency plan. Amidst the wrong turns, conflicting forces of right and wrong, truth and error, justice and injustice people fall into a deep abyss otherwise known as the quarter life crisis.

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Under this circumstance, all the promises of a new chapter in life filled with opportunities have become bittersweet memories of our care free days. Uncertainty has filled our minds affecting our decisions, we’ve become cynical and insecure about life.

Furthermore, in our technological era where success has as many yardsticks as the person evaluating: money, fame, number of patents or number of Grammys, pressures amongst the youth have multiplied. Long gone are the days where employment was a worthy measurement of all the time and effort from parents and guardians. Today, it is all about independence and self-employment. Why be a follower in a world of leaders? There have been rapid growth in fields that didn’t exist a mere decade ago and as a result they’re shaping and changing the dynamics of success in our developed world. Recent attractive phenomena include blogging, app developers, YouTube content developers and social media specialists to name a few. These professions are earning its founders a major income supply.

Who are the most famous names of our decade? Mark Zuckerburg or Rihanna ring a bell? Zuckerburg is the owner and founder of Facebook. He was able to transform a simple idea on communication and convert it into billion dollar business. Adding fuel to the fire, he was only 19 years old. If that not enough, at the age of 16 Rihanna signed her first record deal. Today she is renowned as the world’s most influential singers and fashion icon. They are not the first and definitely not the last. There are vast biographies of youth with similar stories. The question then is, why not you and I?

Now then, in such a golden age where anything is possible, is it surprising that the number of youth experiencing a quarter life crisis is broadening rapidly? The stakes are higher for today’s youth causing a third of ‘twentysomethings’ to feel depressed according to research by The Depression Alliance. A third does not seem conspicuous but once compared to 10 years ago, a period where tie-dye fun and quality ‘me’ time were the norm, then it strikes a chord.

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We the youth are in the most challenging yet intriguing period of our lives. Rather than fall into societal’s trap of monotony, our generation has the endless opportunity to build what we want without succumbing to social constructs. Instead of side-lining our dreams in the notion of ‘adulting’ we can readjust them to make them a possibility. This era offers advanced technological achievements that enable us to turn our miniscule ideas and hobbies into marketable ventures. Therefore, no more feeling down in the dumps, we can open our eyes to the endless possibilities. It is time to embrace our quarter life crisis as a blessing than a curse. It is an experimental phase, time to take risks and fail on numerous accounts because once we stand, we won’t fall easily.

Check out Tuzo Talks on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8ScknmsWrg

A Letter to My President: Mr. John Pombe Magufuli

Combine two extremes, and you will have the true center. As of now, we are leaning on one side, will it balance?

Dear Mr. President,

The Tanzanian Presidential elections of the year 2015 have been the first ever to rattle an immense reaction from the people of Tanzania as well as the international community. A nation once known as peaceful and calm was teetering on the brink of disaster as the global village awaited in suspense to #WhatWouldMagufuliDo next. All eyes were on us. In my 24 years, it was the first time I became intrigued by national politics. How can one man keep a whole nation on its toes? How can his imminent action be condemned before even making his first move? Why is he feared? Was this the fear Machiavelli was talking about? I have a million questions and only one man can answer them, His Excellency Mr. John Pombe Magufuli, my President.

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Foremost, I am grateful. Whereas I have always been patriotic, it is particularly thrilling to be invested in the ongoing of my country. In your short time in office, drastic yet notable changes are evident. From condemnation to appraisal, Mr. Magufuli you have put your game face on. I would like to believe that your actions have touched not only me, but a vast number of youth in our nation. Mr. President, you have set out to reignite the fire of our forefather, the late Julius Kamabarage Nyerere and return Tanzania to the glory it cherished. Yet in order to fight any battle, you must face the opposition. In order to grow, one must learn to change and as of today, this is the dilemma facing our country of Tanzania.

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Back in October you promised to combat corruption by any means possible. So far, you have not disappointed. You stand at the forefront to end graft and mean business as always, ‘Hapa Kazi Tu’. You have sought to streamline the system by replacing all unqualified persons with those who are willing and ready to serve the people, with surprise visits being your favorite modus operandi. In this state of transition, you have twisted and turned the nation, people can no longer evade paying taxes, your determination to deliver essential public services for instance the Dar Rapid Transit or locally known as ‘Mwendo Kasi’ buses and the Kigamboni bridge have led to vast testimonies. All your effort only make up the tip of the iceberg. Strive on with your persistence and vigor and in no time, we shall be telling tales of once upon a time.

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In my pursuit of knowledge, my attitude is never to be satisfied, never enough. So I ponder and seek to understand your policies. As an international relations student, and a self-proclaimed liberalist, who advocates for cooperation and integration, I yearn to understand the hidden meaning behind the interaction of actors within the global context. Let’s not go too far. Tanzania has for most part been a subtle player in its regional bloc, the East African Community. Apart from beneficial trade agreements amongst the nations, all other developmental initiatives are at a stall. Why is this? Is it out of fear for domination by its neighbor Kenya or is it a protective barrier for what is ours?

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Analyzing the trends and patterns of your administration, one could presume that Tanzania is headed into a period of isolation. Your one and only trip outside national boarders has been to Rwanda. This is further visible by your delegation of power. Prominent instances are such like, the Vice-President Ms. Samia Sululu traveling to Zambia for the swearing in of the new Zambian President Mr. Edgar Lungu; Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa who represented the nation at the Tokyo International Conference of Africa’s Development (TICAD) and Dr. Augustine Mahiga who chaired the Tanzanian delegation at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). It seems as though, Mr. President, you have decided to place domestic readjustment as a priority on your list. Before dealing with international matters, you must first have your house in order. Nonetheless, on the global scale this may be yet another internal affair, however, what of the African counterpart who value cultural norms? How long until the African leaders perceive your delegation of power as arrogance?

Mr. President, I write this letter to show my appreciation for the work you have achieved so far. Furthermore, I wish you the best in tackling all the future issues that obstruct the growth of our nation. If you continue at this rate, I don’t see why the whole nation won’t stand behind you. Similarly, as the voices of the future, we the youth have to play an active role in ensuring that the government is accountable for its actions and takes responsibility for its people. However, in order to do so, we must first grasp the undertakings. Although I could continue this tête-à-tête, and acknowledge the fact that as a human you are not perfect, it is my hope that one day we shall meet in person and words of wisdom.

Sincerely,

A Hopeful Citizen

For Granted

When life is in perfect tune, don’t forget to turn your eyes to those who need it.

I have an Iphone, a decent car and a family with both loving parents. Note I keenly insist on the ‘both’ as in duos, they are alive and well and for that I’m thankful. I believe that I am a glass half-full kind of person but then I tend to hold my fair share and probably some else’s share of complaints (a less fortunate person at that).

‘That’s not right!’, ‘I want it, but can’t afford it’, ‘All these cool kids are so pretentious’ (Just cause I’m not one)

In such a situation, I only see things in one perspective, mine. As long as it’s not going my way, it’s wrong. Life is a perfect mix of yin and yang. Alternatively, you get what you give. By closing myself to only one outlook on life, I have ignored many that require my attention. What’s in it for me? For as long as my perfect bubble is intact, all is well.  So to myself (and anyone who wants to listen) I say this, no matter how you feel, get up, dress up and never give up.

Even so, don’t close and size me up in a category just yet. The human nature is egoistic and selfish. It’s all about survival. However, our need to survive has been tampered by globalization’s need for consumption. Clearly I too have been affected by this ideology. It ‘s no longer simply about survival but rather it is survival with comfort. I had an Iphone 5 but as soon as the Iphone 6 was out I wanted it too. Just like everyone, I felt like queuing the shop on release date, but I couldn’t afford it and my parents were not going to indulge me. After extensive months of saving, I finally got it. Although I don’t regret the decision, looking back at all I did just to get latest version of the same phone I already had, I can only laugh about it now; its in the past. Yet I can justify that the experience did leave me with a lesson or two.

Let’s make it worse. As I was complaining the other day, I mention to my confidant that I hate having to hustle trying to convince parents to see things your way when they don’t have a united front. For several minutes I went on, with no feedback until she finally speaks in a monotone and says “at least you have parents to complain about”. At this point, I ventured into new territory. It was a glimpse of someone else’s life, a glass half-empty perspective. I just felt foolish.

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We don’t realize things until they are painted to us in black and white. While at that precise moment my thoughts were ‘she’s such a downer’ ultimately what she said remained creeping at the back of my mind. In this consumption based world, we take many things for granted. We have gotten used and comfortable with material possession and the need for more and this has made us selfish. Our attitudes towards life need an adjustment. The middle class is most notable of this behavior. Children these days no longer feel the joy and emphasis of age limit. For instance, personally my parents would get as a laptop at the age of 15. These days, its child abuse if they don’t have a smart phone in fifth grade. What do you think they’ll demand at 15?

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In the spirit of Christmas, the yin is to share a meal with friends and family. On the other hand, the yang includes all the unfortunate people who have less than their basic needs. So this holiday, I ask everyone to change perspective. Let’s make it a habit never to take anything for granted, not the family, friends and the things we own. For a minute consider this, the 5 pairs of sneakers you consider lacking, in another perspectives, those 5 pairs of sneakers could mean the world to 5 different people. Having a variety of things is not a crime, we simply have to remember to appreciate what we have become not everyone is in the same situation.  On that note, even Kim Kardashian has gotten into the spirit this holiday and is giving away 1000 shoes for charity. The act of seeing someone in need and lending a hand, it’s the greatest gift to the receiver.