This column is structured as a conversation I have with myself, in various forms, about life. Follow me on this journey as I reflect on what I’ve learnt as I’ve grown, and share it with myself. This should be fun!
You’re getting old. The never-again-shall-you-live-free-of-any-worries stage has swiftly approached, set up shop like a squatter, cracked open a can of beer that is currently resting on its big round belly, and is here to stay. Your current schedule does not include walking down the aisle, and you have no foetus growing in your belly. The dread. The horror! You are doomed…or so everyone says.
If there is anything my almost-27 years of life have taught me, it’s that we have been worried about the same thing for almost 27 years. Remember when you were worried that you would look like a boy forever, because you were a bit of a late bloomer? Remember all those days you spent pleading with the boob gods to oblige your desires ever so slightly? WELL… let’s just say if I could go back, I would cut out your tongue, you wench. The afflictions I now face are unimaginable, never again able to keep my balance and having to always strike deals with gravity.
Our birthday is fast approaching, and this coupled with the not-so-subtle remarks from people concerned that our prime years are quickly passing by have conditioned our sub-conscious to be in a constant state of panic and anxiety. The closer you get to the big ‘30’ especially as a woman, the more frequent remarks like, “So when will you get married?” and “You’re getting old!” are. Sianka, the only suitable response to these remarks is a Bruce-Lee inspired drop-kick to any such propagator of fear and dread. They asked for it.
Yes, growing older inevitably ends our lease in the nest and thrusts us into the greedy, eagerly awaiting arms of this thing called life, and responsibilities pile on so fast we begin cursing the days we thought being an adult would be fun. Questions like, “what did you get upto on the weekend?” are immediately followed by sweaty palpitations as you realise you literally have no idea. Because you are never at a loss of people telling you how old you are, your brain now believes it and is at zero functioning capacity so you do what any twenty-first century person would do…you log onto social media in a desperate attempt to silence the mind, but quickly realise this is not possible because the first thing FaceBook asks is “what’s on your mind?” Even social media is against you. Once upon a time the only thing of consequence we saw on Facebook was birthday reminders and people trying to master the art of what is now called the selfie. Now, we are barraged with pictures of shiny diamonds and delicate ultrasounds and other such life-changing announcements, when the biggest thing we accomplished was trying to go a whole weekend without chocolate. Have you seen our high school buddy? The one who already has two kids and another on the way? Panic.
Sianka, relax. We no longer need to plead with the gods to provide instant relief to all our so-called woes. We are actually doing very well, you would be very proud. I think we would accomplish a lot more and be happier for it, if we made simple, conscious decisions. A wise man once said…ok a friend of mine offered me some very basic advice last week: He told me to write down my goals for the week. I did. He then told me to make decisions that will lead to the accomplishment of those goals. Pretty simple right? And yet the most under-rated and effective way to ensure self-satisfaction, which is all that matters at the end of the day. Marriage and kids are wonderful, and will happen in the time God intended, not the time prescribed by society. Write down your goals, oh ye of your late twenties. Make conscious decisions about how you will achieve your goals, and let that be your focus. Anything else is outside of our control. Most adults who are married and appear to have it all together are also just fumbling through trying to make the right choices so they don’t end up catastrophically ruining the lives of their two children and another on the way. At the end of the day, the struggle is the same for everyone, at whatever stage in life. Bad hair days don’t spare the engaged or the married. Worrying about finances is not unique to the single. Supermarket trolleys will never go in a straight line, for anyone. You are not the only one who spent way too much money that one weekend, or forgot to attempt the assignment due on Monday only to realise at approximately 6pm the Sunday before it was due, all because you were very busy over the weekend doing…oh that’s right, you don’t remember, remember?
Sianka, do something today that you will be proud of tomorrow. If you stumble and mess up along the way, learn from it and when you do, teach someone not to make the same mistake. Yes, you may have achieved a lot more if you started earlier, but the pages of the past have already been turned. Tomorrow is up to you, the rest of your book is not yet written.