Like play, old age is coming — Abiodun Kuforiji-Nkwocha

Like play, old age is coming — Abiodun Kuforiji-Nkwocha

I don’t feel old.

I am in my 40s and somewhere tucked in my head is that I am a young person.

But I sort of expected that as one grows older, that voice in your head ages along. But for some reason, the voice in my head sounds the same as it has always sounded. So, it isn’t really a reliable indicator of ageing.

Other things are.

First off, my body for one is almost annoying in how it reacts in certain situations. For the life of me, why don’t I just jump up from the bed and start my day like I used to when I was younger? I wake up and slowly sit on the side of the bed and think about how much I don’t like going out to work. But I am reminded of the many obligations and to be a responsible adult.

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I have no choice but to shuffle to the bathroom. I am ashamed to admit that I groan when I sit down and I groan when I stand up. It is embarrassing and I don’t really think there is a physical reason to it. I just do it subconsciously. I remember my mother doing this and I remember sniggering at it. But here we are today.

There is no proverbial spring to my step. I am not dashing everywhere trying to be a superstar. I do not drag my feet but I promise you that there is some reluctance to how I step. Also, I know that the whole world can wait and that I am not saving the universe. The universe will be fine whether or not I participate.

It is harder to lose weight. I can’t eat the quantities that I used to eat when I was younger. Bread makes me feel full to my throat hours after I have eaten it. There are aches and pains that I cannot explain. I am not sick but sometimes random things hurt. When I started experiencing this, I thought that there was something underlying going on. But after comparing notes, I have come to the conclusion that wear and tear of decades of living is starting to leave its mark.

Another thing that tells me I am going old is that I think about retirement.

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I calculate the years to my retirement and they are less than two decades. I calculate how old my kids will be by that time. But I can confidently say that this wasn’t the case a decade ago. I realize that time is passing quickly and one must think and plan ahead. When I was younger, I would daydream of how I wanted life to be like for me. The future was one bulbous blur and it was so distant and mysterious that I always looked forward to finding out what was waiting behind the clouds.

I don’t wonder anymore. This is the future. All I want to do is to live and function optimally. I want to make good money and have sound investments that will eventually help my children to start their lives on a solid foundation.

Nothing says you are old more than the kind of responsibilities you have. I wrote last few weeks of having to be in charge of sorting out matters pertaining a subordinate of mine that unfortunately lost his life. Being in charge and making decisions and liaising with his family on his burial is such a fvcking grown up thing to do that I know I can’t be  a little girl.

I broke the news with his family, sat and talked with his widow on behalf of where I work. Also, the family calls me with updates. I wish with all my heart that I was a teenager preoccupied with my angst than having to sit front seat in the arena of people’s pain.

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Another thing that tells me that time is passing is how the kids that were kids are no longer kids. I have conversations with my kids in which I have flashbacks of them in diapers just yesterday. I mean it feels like yesterday.  My kid sister and I sang at our uncle’s wedding in 1994. Their son has a master’s degree today. It is like every single time I turn, the kids are catching up.

Or let me put it this way, the kids are no longer kids.

There are full grown adults.

My friend’s nephew was talking about marriage. She was so affronted. How can he be talking about marriage? She baby sat him many times years ago. Then she paused and remembered that he was now in his late 20s. She was so stunned.  He was no longer a baby.

Ultimately, the thing that shouts to me that I am old is when I speak to younger generations especially Gen Z. I understand the Millennials. If I had waited a few years to be born, I would be them. But Gen Z live in a zone that is so alien to me I cannot even believe that we are on the same planet. I started out with trying to correct what I felt was their wrong approach to life. I halted at some point. They are not living in my time. They are going through theirs. But I don’t even understand what they go through enough to try and guide them.

So, I just watch and get fascinated over and over again at how so much as changed. How I became old while they were changing.

The problem is this darned voice in my head. It stays young. It calls me a girl. And it whispers silly things to me that make me giggle like a little girl.

But I am very careful to hide it. Displaying my youthfulness at this stage in my life will just look odd. Like an old woman trying to use colloquialism that young people use now to look cool.

Make I respect my age.

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