The project attempts to take you on a journey that is planned around how the life of a man is at different stages of his life. We use the lives of different men, some of which are intertwined to paint this picture. The stages are in ten-year intervals, hence the name project name.
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It’s funny how most of us have opinions about things we’ve never experienced. You know how you always say you can never stand to watch while someone you love gets hurt, or how you just know you can never fall for a plus-size woman talk more of getting married to her. Well, I never thought I’d ever have to tell a story like the one I’m about to tell you.
The moment the words escaped her mouth, her lips, everything changed.
“Benjamin. I’m 3 months pregnant”.
As if to further complicate things, she added:
“I’m not killing my baby. Our baby.”
The name is Benjamin Williams and this is my story.
My life started at 22. Well, that’s what I like to think. Before then I was a shadow. I just existed. Living every single day as it came. The ideal citizen. The poster child. I was born into a middle-class family. Father was a disciplinarian. An idealist whose only blemish was the fact that he married two wives. Of course this changed things in the home-front. As much as father tried to make everyone believe we were possibly one of the happiest polygamous families existing, we all knew better. Mother was the first wife; she had just my younger sister and I while the other wife had four kids. Three boys and a girl certainly ensured she got a lot more attention.
My family setup pushed me towards my realist mentality. I accepted the fact that I had no control over the family I was born into but what I could change was me. My life. My future. I started out on my quest early enough. Father made sure we had very good education and for me, this meant exposure. Exposure to the world; exposure to history, exposure to experiences of several men who had at some point also set out to leave near-permanent footprints in the sands of time.
In my first year at the University I discovered the solution to my puzzle. The simple concept that was going to help me fulfill my dreams. I realized the two things I needed to do to become relevant; to have a voice in the over crowded market we call life. Independence. Delayed Gratification. Those were the two strangers I needed to befriend and boy, did we become friends. To be completely independent, I needed to acquire skills. Skills that could stand the test of time. And to multiply whatever I got as a result of my acquired skills, I needed to delay gratification.
Poster children hardly ever discover half of their talents. They just focus on the ones their core sources of influence highlight. The first day I picked up a guitar, music evolved from a distant concept to a private location I could so easily lose myself; the kitchen became my studio and the sauce pan was my canvas whenever I cooked. But my true love, I found in Interior décor. My first year in the university, I lived in the library. I ate books and drank the Internet and by my third year, I set out to test the new me. I registered my company, an image consultancy, which became an instant success. Well, successful enough for a 21 year old, successful enough to gain my independence from my family, from my father.
Money they say has many friends. My network expanded significantly. New friends, new girls; yes, I was well into phase one. I just needed to hold things shut – delay gratification. By my final year, I moved to an apartment outside school. One bedroom. I was making a decent amount of money and I could afford so much more than I had. I continued acquiring knowledge. I learnt a second language, learnt to play the piano and my network got wider but I kept my distance from the women. I remained a virgin but no one could tell.
I graduated at 23; breezed through NYSC and setup my office consulting for some of the prominent medium sized organizations in the country. I had never set foot in an airplane not to talk of leaving the country but no one could tell. My clients sought my opinions on all subjects and this helped me move up the ranks easily. I was almost there and I just needed to acquire a few more skills. Still living in my one bedroom apartment with no car, I decided to probe into the world of women. I picked my preys carefully. I started with the little fishes testing my conversation skills and wooing them with my many talents. I moved up the ladder quickly and this was solely as a result of my diverse talents. Then came the so-called big fishes; daughters of reasonably wealthy and very influential men threw themselves at me and I ensured my stint with each victim was attached to a lesson; conversation skills, relationship skills and ultimately, bedroom skills.
At 26 I was no longer dealing with mid-level employees, my meetings were with CEOs over golf or at exclusive boat clubs and it was at one of such clubs I met Chief. Chief was one of those men people easily summarized on the outside – Stern. Disciplined. Wicked. Some of the words used to describe him. However, my broad knowledge allowed me win Chiefs trust and respect quickly. He saw in me, the man he secretly wished he was. A man who had life figured out. He tried to be that man but somewhere along the way, he lost it. Fifty-nine, with four gorgeous daughters from three different women and an empire worth well over $100 Million, you’d think a man would have no regrets. That wasn’t Chief. Chief never hid his hatred for women; he loathed religion and any form of association to any supreme being perhaps because he felt nothing but betrayal from that being, if ‘he’ exists. How could he have been blessed (not his preferred word) with four; FOUR daughters from three different women. Those beings he completely objectifies. Those beings that are only useful for the occasional purpose of dishing out pleasure to men.
Life had dealt Chief an ironic blow because if there was anything he loved, it was himself and as a result, he was forced to love his daughters – to death. He gave them the world and expected it back from them. They were his soldiers, his army. The outliers among the female gender and he made this clear to anyone and everyone. Chief and I had a strange friendship. To many on the outside, he had taken me under his proverbial wings and was grooming me as a prodigy. If only they knew. Chief saw so much of himself in me and he was bent on living the life he had always wanted through mine. Trust was the easy bit. Once successful men find enough reason to like you, it automatically comes with trust. I had access to everything. Chiefs offices, cars, jets, houses. Everything except his daughters. Not because they weren’t good enough, not because they were his daughters but they were his soldiers, the ones he had spent his lifetime grooming to liberate other women and as a result, they were sacred. Elizabeth, Nefertiti, Venus and Athena were 22, 23, 24 and 25 respectively. All younger than me and well within my dating age range but I had come to accept Chief as a vital asset in my life’s quest. He definitely could make things move faster for me so I made-up my mind to resist the temptation; to look away from his daughters and focus on the future; focus on the goal and I succeeded in doing this.
For three and a half years I stayed away from temptation and my profile soared. I became possibly the most sought after bachelor in the country and I had my pick of any woman but little did I know that delaying gratification was easier than resisting temptation. Resisting a woman’s temptation. Elizabeth. No, it was Athena. When envy rises in an extremely wise goddess, mistakes are bound to occur. Elizabeth was her pawn but I was the prey. I fell flat on my face and here in my arms is the result. David Ajifolawe-Williams. The bundle of joy that is also life, or perhaps, God’s way of bringing me down to humble realization.
SO THANKS FOR READING AGAIN. I GUESS IT BEGINS TO GET TOUGHER TO RELATE HERE BUT WE’D LIKE TO KNOW WHICH DREAMS KEEP YOU GOING? WHAT THE HUSTLE IS? WHAT MONEY MEANS TO YOU? WHAT THE PHILOSOPHY IS? WHAT MISTAKES YOU’RE SCARED TO MAKE?
A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS?
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N.B. The project still goes on for the following five days. Tomorrow we have The Fourth Decade by @ekwem.
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