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Mr. Dele Onifasan is my 58-year-old neighbor who retired 2 years ago.

Since his retirement, he has been on a relaxation and fun frenzy. I mean, when I’m rushing out of the house every morning just to get to the bus stop in good time, I see Mr. Dele either coming back from his morning run or doing some form of yoga on his verandah. He even lifts weights from time to time. He is older, yet younger than me in that regard.

He seems to like me because each morning, just before he opens his gate to go in, he gives me a friendly smile and wishes me a great day ahead. I’ve also come to like him and look forward to his good day wishes.

Mr. Dele seemed to have it good. Having lived with my parents in GRA Ikeja for a long time, I have watched Mr. Dele and his family since they moved in to their house 4 years ago. I admired them. Somewhere along the line, when I returned from NYSC, my dad told me his wife had passed. I went over and offered my condolence to him.

His two children have also moved out and moved on with lives. Mr. Dele lives with his gardener, gateman and a middle-aged help. He has been retired for two years yet, his lifestyle remains unchanged. If anything, he is even more happy and relaxed than before.

Last week Saturday I bumped into him on my way out and he said he wanted to speak with me. I was curious but maintained my cool.

I gently followed him into his home and we sat under the guava tree just near the gate. He looked at me with smiling eyes before telling me how he has watched me over time, seen my strength and sense of responsibility especially after my dad passed – he admired the man my parents raised.  I felt my head swell a bit. “Thank you, sir,” I responded.

He nodded before continuing “Feyi, I want to extend an invitation to you. I want to invite you to a mini marathon I’ll be attending on the 14th of April at LTV Agidingbi.”

“Me? Marathon? Ha sir, ermm I don’t know about that” I stammered as I dropped my head to avoid his intense gaze while staring at my protruding belly. See how this older man is looking like a model and me at just 26, I have allowed myself to get this big and shapeless, I thought.

He gave a small laugh, then he said “Feyi you see, preparation at every stage of life is critical. If you want to be strong and healthy when you get older, right now is the time to build your fitness and clean up your diet.

Likewise, if you want to retire in comfort, now is also the perfect time to start planning your retirement. I don’t know your fear concerning this run I’ve invited you to, but I want you to know that I’ll be there with you along with hundreds of others. It will be fun. It can build a good foundation for you if you wish to stay fit and who knows, you might even meet ‘the one’, if you catch my drift.”

While he spoke, all I could do was smile and nod in agreement. I had always wanted to ask him the secret to his early retirement, better life and fit physique (which I sort of already knew) despite his age – now he was freely sharing it. What could I do but soak it all in.

Two minutes later, Mr. Dele had whipped out his phone, typed in , asked for my email address and registered me to Run for My Future. I just sat there admiring this man who in just a few minutes had become my mentor. We spent some more hours talking, though it didn’t feel like it.

As I walked out of his gate, I was a changed man. He had given me the keys to a better life, my tomorrow, career success and relationships. I would definitely be coming back for more.

For now, I’ll just go buy my workout kit and look forward to my run with my mentor.



You too must have registered to Run For The Future right? If you haven’t, register now and do so quickly 😉

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