At 24 the carpet is yanked from under your feet and for the first time, your sole comes into contact with the cold, hard floor and you momentarily curl your toes and punch your way across life on your heels. You have an idea of what you want to do and be. But that image is misty, like hot breath on glass. What defines your manhood is just beginning to condense into something concrete. You begin to like a certain type of women and decide that weave on women is just not your thing, you lay claim on a favourite author or artist. You start to carve your niche; going round, marking territory where only you will be Mufasa. You begin to learn to be faithful to one barber, edging into it unconsciously. You listen more to your father and begin respecting your mother more. You begin to be more conscious of a power bigger than your existence and you try to commune with Him occasionally, stuttering with requests.
At 24, the wheel of life spins fast. Life happens, and the fabric thins out. Friends travel abroad to different time zones and you don't hear from them anymore. Your other friends get jobs, or get married and you get invited to weddings , baby showers, house warming; and then see their awesome lives on Instagram and it kind of make you think your life is boring and stagnant.
You have dreams and the hunger to have a place at the high table. You are eager, yearning to please the big men in this city who play you like pawn. The pulsating throb of the city moves you, shifting your brain from idea to idea.
And at 24, life teaches you lessons. You lose a loved one and you learn that that loss happens to everybody and death respects no one. And so you have to suck it in and move on. You miss important opportunities. Lose big money in a gamble or important friends through breach of trust. You learn to know who your true friends are: the guys who will always have your back. You learn to treat women with respect, and that playing their emotions is a boy's game. You learn the important place of integrity and trust. You learn to say no, to control your whims, and turn down that temptation because you have a commitment to keep.
You learn to swallow your pride and to say sorry. Not because you are wrong, but because that makes you human. And the lessons never end, because manhood is a journey. You never get to point and say you now know what being a man is all about. You keep moving, keep learning from the creator and keep hoping that one day when you finally hold that fragile human in your arms for the first time, you will be the man for him.