When I turned forty, millions of years ago, my daughter said to me, ‘Mummy, you’re old…Who will take care of me?”
My son affirmed, “Yes, you’re really old and your skin is old.”
They were both under 10 years at that time, so I understood their fears. However, I didn’t let their grief get to me. Instead, I looked in the mirror and thankfully, I didn’t see ‘old’. But I didn’t see young either.
I saw determination, I saw ambition…waiting to be fulfilled. Also, I saw an anxious me willing the clock to slow a bit so I could pack in as much as I could into the years. After all, life begins at 40…
My body started to have a mind of its own as I approached mid-forties; and stared late forties in the eye. I couldn’t believe that jogging was being crossed out of my exercise routine when I expressed a desire for it. I used to run for my house in secondary school. Somewhat, I still believed I had the same strength to do same, effortlessly.
I mean, in my mind, I would be running, doing the 100 metres dash and cresting home with laurels… Perhaps, it was still because I deceived myself so much that when the invite came on my old girls’ platform; about Usosa in Lagos Walk for Life, I immediately jumped in.
The walk held last Saturday at the National Stadium in Surulere. At the registration point, we had to write our names, schools and set; that is, the year we graduated from secondary school. I was suddenly reminded of my children’s words when I saw the other names listed.
So and so- set year- 1992; So and so- set year- 2001; and…So and so- set year- 1995. Then I had to write my name, Peju Akande- set year-1986…My kids word came ringing in my ears once more and I finally admitted it…Menh…I am old.
But not to be daunted, I whipped out my camera and took a selfie.
That’s paper, let’s see who is old, humph!
I was heartily consoled though because there were several other names; with 1978, ’81 down through the 80s as their set years; so I was in good company after all.
We started off with a bit of aerobics before setting off. Despite the fact that the Lagos Women’s Marathon also held same day and were running into our route; which had to be tweaked a bit to help ease traffic on the roads; it turned out to be a fun walk-jog-dance with music blasting off old skool tunes.
After about 2 hours 30 minutes or a little more; we assembled back at the stadium for more aerobics before we all departed happily.
I felt good and not a bit old. It was child’s play to me, a mere walk in the park…Until I got home, showered, had a meal; slept and woke up to a body that refused to respond to ordinary ‘shift’.
What happened to me? It took me a bit of time to realise why my thighs, my knees, my arms, my…everywhere ached.