Something I’m finding to be quite interesting about human behaviour is how most adults – more so in the Nigerian context – become sneaky when asked a very simple question: how old are you? In this short time I’ve spent in medical practice, I’ve had quite a few people tell me all sorts to avoid divulging their real ages; statements like the infamous ” I’m in my mid-thirties” or “well write that I’m 40 but my real age is 52”.
I think a lot of us have harboured a weird relationship with age since we begun to understand how the world works. Gosh, we are so adamant about “staying young”, which – on deeper thought- is a ridiculous notion. Aging is an inevitable process all humans go through on this earth. We will age. You will age. I will age. We all need to get over ourselves.
I insert myself in this directive because I admit, I’ve caught myself once or twice these past months planning to “do it all before I get old”. By old, I meant thirty-five. How weird is that? Thirty-five and old is an incorrect statement, because thirty-five is not old. We really need to stop all these bantering about how every hurdle must be crossed before the clock strikes midnight on the eve of your 30th. Especially as regards women. I see Twitter accounts posting amazing women in their thirties and titling them with statements similar to “look how good she looks! And she’s over thirty!” How is that a shocking piece of information? Is she meant to shrivel like old yam because her age how has 3 as the first number?
It’s this undue anxiety about aging and the implications that one thinks it has on people’s perception of them that forces many a hand to make horrible life decisions, ones they won’t have even thought of if they weren’t so hot and bothered about ticking certain boxes before a certain age. It’s like using your own hand to put hot pepper in your eye.
One thing I’ve learned about this life I that many things only as big as you allow them to be. Weddings, for example, can be as small as 5 people or as big as 500, depending on what the people involved want. There is no right number for a wedding party. There is no ‘right’ time for any milestone, be it in work, relationships or otherwise. I’m learning that all the unnecessary pressure we put on ourselves is a huge disservice to our health, because it is really not that deep.
Make decisions for your life because they truly are aligned with your purpose, because you know that’s what God would have you do at that point in time. Train your ears to tune out the voices of age-related anxiety and comparison, and focus on your lane. You life and heart will be much happier for it.
These things are only as big as you allow them to be. Remember that.
With love always,