What you need to know:
- You will realise that once you stop performing for everyone else, their lives move on to something else.
- And I also assume that you've grown a spine, at some point in your adult life to make your own decisions and that you left group-think to the people buying into multi-level marketing scams.
- If you're going to learn one thing, this entire period, let it be how to live within your means.
One of the most interesting observations I've made over the past few weeks is how the things we thought were important, really weren't. What are some of those things to you? You know those things you thought you would die without but haven't? Mine is going out. Who knew that Fridays could be spent indoors watching movies before you get to 40? Miracles.
The other day an employee of a Nairobi cafe-bar and cocktail franchise restaurant chain, told it all. He revealed that among other things, high-end bars are buying cheap alcohol like Meakins, Kenya Cane and Konyagi and rebottling them in exclusive alcohol bottles and passing them off as the originals, to make higher profits. This when before the latest directive banning the sale of alcohol in the establishments.
I listened because I've done cocktails a few times at the place and got cocktail-goggles drunk and almost fell into the wrong bed but was saved by the power of a near accident. A story for another day. Anyway, the discussion online was around how everyone felt short-changed, which they rightfully feel but an even more interesting angle to the discussion is how the place suddenly lost its allure. Not because people didn't enjoy the drinks when they were having them but because the place lost its elegance because the drinks they thought they were consuming weren't as exclusive. Suddenly they were at mwananchi level and were equal to the downtown pub drinkers.
It's fraudulent but the reactions were an interesting sight. Since the quarantine, the Instagram timeline hasn't been as entertaining. A chat with a friend who owns a few wines and spirits joints around town confirmed a thought I had. Sales of higher-end drinks had plummeted when the medium cost ones, which are my normal, sky-rocketed. So it seems that no one drinks Hennessey if it doesn't come with the bottle sparklers and fanfare by the waitresses. Add on to that the shouting at the waitress to bring the PDQ machine, from across the bar while loudly buying a bottle for your rowdy friends so that they know that you are doing well.
Behind closed doors, people's expenditure changes significantly. They are finally themselves and those Sh1,000 bottles of alcohol are consumed in peace. Suddenly those expensive and shiny store buys aren't there on the social media timeline anymore. It's almost as if people were making big buys as a performance and when the stadium is quiet, there's no point in frivolous spending.
Many men are talking about how Covid has changed their lives and how they've learned to value the little things. I think one of the biggest things men need to ask themselves is how much of their daily lives are dedicated to showing everyone else that they're well-heeled by going to the extent of doing what they don't enjoy. Alcohol is the easiest example to pick but there are plenty of other things that could fit neatly in that box.
Do you like going on those road trips? Do you like going to that bar opposite Safaricom House that serves you five chips and three ribs on a wooden board and serves white people before you? Do you like shopping at that clothes store which stocks shirts which make you look like a dollar store mannequin with those ugly checkered shirts? Do you enjoy flying on those rickety tyre-burst prone planes to Diani to get sunburnt, sand up your rear on a groupathon beach, and swimming in salty water which makes your eyes hurt?
I'm all for fun experiences but let's ask ourselves the hard questions. If you do not derive pleasure from that thing that you do, outside of the price tag, the social capital it may afford you and the fact that it looks really good on IG, quit doing it.
If it isn't as attractive when people aren't watching, then perhaps it doesn't make you happy and it isn't necessary. What are the things that you saw people doing or which you used to do, which you realised were more for other people than yourself? Are you just pausing them because you're broke and at home and will subsequently resume them after your bank account grows after Covid?
You will realise that once you stop performing for everyone else, their lives move on to something else. And I also assume that you've grown a spine, at some point in your adult life to make your own decisions and that you left group-think to the people buying into multi-level marketing scams. If you're going to learn one thing, this entire period, let it be how to live within your means.