If you are reading this, then it means God has kept you alive and well and that you actually got to hit sixty. It’s safe to assume that Trump didn’t win the election and didn’t destroy the world in a bloody blitz of a zombie apocalypse in a Dawn of the Dead-esque fashion. I’ll admit this is a bit awkward. I’ve never written a letter to myself before. You know me; I’m too lazy to do anything. But it’s one of the things you get to do when you have a blog. I’ve decided to write to you, my sixty year old senior self. It shouldn’t be weird to hang out with my futuristic geezer alter ego is it? I bet the age comes with such flattering and colourful and flattering names like ‘mzee’ ‘baby boomer’ or ‘fogey’ and even ‘elderly’, and ‘fossil’. I envy you. You don’t buy that? Well, it’s good to know you still appreciate sarcasm; always breaks the ice.
See the thing is, I’ve always found thinking about the future to be a daunting task. There’s something sombre about the future, and it exacerbates my morbid fear of oblivion, of never amounting to anything. This is not one of those of cute fears like a woman’s fear of rats and spiders. It’s sort of destructive because it made me to not actually live to the fullest, because, fear. I was afraid to peep into the looking glass because I wasn’t sure I would like what I was going to see. Would the picture be that of someone I would be proud to be? Would it be what anyone else would want to be? I mean, would there be a little kid somewhere who will say, “When I grow up, I want to be Aress.” Besides, I know very well that foresight is an exercise in probability, not prediction. I can’t even predict how things will look like tomorrow, let alone three and a half decades from now.
But lately I’ve had the courage to reflect on the future. May be it’s just the camel milk. Maybe it’s a sign of getting old. I acknowledge that old age is inevitable; and it sneaks up on you. It never came beating drums, never announced itself. These days I gaze (See? even my choice of words are from the outdated section of the dictionary) into the future and I see you. I imagine you are a cranky old man who complains about back pain and wears his belt somewhere around the Superman logo height. I see you sitting in the rocking chair out in the garden, cigar in hand, listening to Sinatra or Samatar, telling the grand kids, “You hear that? That is music, not that crap you listen to.” I can imagine a night out involves sitting out in the patio. Remember how I used to have an unhealthy relationship with the dirac (dera for my non-Somali friends), boob tattoos and twerking? I hope I am not over that.
My deductive reasoning tells me that there’s a lot that hasn’t changed, even at sixty. I bet you still watch Bond and De Niro movies, though I’m sure they don’t make them like they used to. I bet you still listen to Dylan and binge–watch Family Guy. I know you are probably still silly and trivialize everything. I’m positive you still have the afro, though it must be thinning and grey now; the Somali Morgan Freeman look is not so terrible by the way (I hope the look also comes with the voice. That’d be cool.) I imagine you still seem calm and “chilled out,” like you have everything figured out. But I’m guessing you are more thoughtful and contemplative than I am, like all old folks are.
Man, I have so many questions to ask you. Tell me about midlife crisis. Did you go back to wearing skinny jeans? Wait, did you ever stop? (You know it is not befitting of an old man.) Did you start a band? A Somali one perhaps? Or did you elope with a sixteen year old? Did you finally figure out how to dance? Please tell me you’ve at least mastered the two step in the last three and a half decades. Do Sauti Sol still remove their shirts? Is Nerea now a grandmom? What about Njoki Chege? Has she finally found a husband? Did Arsenal ever win a trophy? Also, please tell me that chicks have stopped saying “Lol,” or “Duh,” or “I was like..” or “I know right?” I know you might have strangled a good number for saying them. Like duh! Eye roll.
Let’s talk family. How many wives now? You only have one? Dude, you are letting us down here; are you sure you are Somali? How is the Mrs. by the way? And the kids? They must be all grown up and have their own families by now. I hope they turned out well because that means you didn’t marry a socialite, so I can rest easy.
What about writing? How did that go? Do you still have the blog? What do you blog about these days? Let me guess. Rearing Camels 101. How to dye your grey hair with henna: a comprehensive guide. That moment you receive dowry and realize your baby girl is gone! These should make for an interesting read. Did you publish those three volumes of the treatise about boobs and twerking? Send me a signed copy. Right now (also include Kanye’s new album). I’m glad you did because these are topics that scholars have not touched on enough. I hope you answered some of the most fundamental questions of our time; you know the obvious, like where do boobs come from? What makes them tick? Do they see eye to eye? Do they give each other the nod when they pass each other? Do they become breast friends? How come they always win? Ok, I like boobs. Or rather my writer alter ego does.
But jokes aside, I have some hopes and wishes for you. I hope you are happy, successful and content. I’m still trying to figure out what it actually means to be happy or successful. I hope that you don’t have a lot of regrets. That you spent your time on things that are meaningful. I imagine, even at this age, that you still have a thing for that sweet adrenaline rush that makes you feel alive. But at the same time, I hope you always put God and family first and found a balance between doing what you have to do and pursuing your dreams and passions. Because at the end of the day, a job is more than just a paycheck; it’s about dignity and respect.I really hope that you’ve tried to repay mom and dad for all the hard work and sacrifice over the years, and that they finally got to rest and enjoyed life.
That you paid attention to the little things. I’m sure there was a number of big moments in your life, but I’m more interested in the little ones. Like that first time you took that old Jeep in your garage for a spin; how the engine hummed for the first time; or how the scent of the steel and the leather felt. Or how you felt when you shipped in that executive writing desk for your study; the feel of the dark coffee bean brown surface or the scent of the books around you as you sat there on that desk for the first time. Or that surreal feeling you experienced when you first held your new born babygirl in your arms. I’m told it’s indescribable. Or when she first said your name or took her first steps. Dude, if you cried, I don’t know you.
And I hope you don’t say age-inappropriate stuff like “’Sup” or “I’m chill” or “Hottie” (unless you are referring to that convertible Audi, in which case I’m chill. I’m allowed to say it.)
I hope you found a girl who gets you and was crazy enough to spend her life with you. I hope you checked her mental health when she agreed. *slaps knee* I hope she has and continues to build you and make you a better person. That she respects and listens to you but challenges you when you are wrong. I hope she’s given you beautiful babies and I hope you didn’t spoil them too much, especially the girls. I also hope that you spent time with them whenever you could.
I wish that you managed to make some sort of difference in the world. Am I naïve? Because you are looking at me like I have no clue about the world. May be I am. I guess there’s much you don’t know about the world when you are transitioning from law school into the job market. Still, I hope you managed to tell all those stories you felt you needed to share and published them for people to read and relate; and became a great writer and photographer like you’ve wanted; that you made the world a better place than you found it. I hope you have lived a good life, and got to see Muqdisho, and Makkah and New York, and traveled the world.
I hope to be you.