I have a friend who is so secretive about her age that she would rather you plucked out her fingernails one by one than reveal exactly how old she is. It is that bad.
To be honest I, too, have lied about my age on one or two occasions, (OK, several times) but don’t ask me why because I’ve got no reasonable reason.
I just found myself shaving off a couple of years off my actual age and praying that the person I was fibbing to would never get hold of my identification card.
Why is it that we, and I’m talking about women here, are so terrified of growing older? The irony is that when we’re younger, we can’t wait to grow older and will declare without batting an eyelid that we’re 25 when we’re actually 15.
Maybe it has to do with an impatience to do all those seemingly fun things that older people do, like dancing (and drinking) the night away, and finally moving out of our parents’ constricting and killjoy homes.
Need I tell you that it is only when we start to live on our own that many of us begin to appreciate the perks we hardly noticed while living under our parents’ roof? But that’s a story for another day.
We women are pretty liberal with our age when we’re in our 20s. “Oh, I’m 22 (only),” we’ll reply sweetly should anyone ask.
As we approach our late-20s, however, we begin to get suspicious of anyone who wants to know how old we are, and will snap, “Why do you want to know?”
Many women approach their 30s with trepidation maybe because, at 30, you’re officially an adult and are expected to have accomplished some “crucial” milestones — such as get married, have a stable job (whatever that means), and have a child or two. And not necessarily in that order.
When I was in my 20s, I considered anyone who was over 30 ancient and never imagined that I’d one day find myself in the 30s bracket.
That is why I froze in shock that day, several years ago, when a tout referred to me as “mama”.
I was 22 or thereabouts and was rushing to board a matatu to college. This tout saw me crossing the road and shouted, “Dere, kanyagia ubebe huyu mama”.
I had to stop and look around me to see who else was waiting to board the vehicle. It was just me.
When I went back home that day, I took a long look at myself in the mirror and decided that I’d never wear the clothes I was wearing that day again, never mind that they had been a present from my mother and that it was the first time I was wearing them.
It is in our 30s that we start to use the overused and insincere phrase, “Age is nothing but a number”.
I say insincere because with age comes many gradual changes that we’d rather do without: insufficient sleep thanks to demanding babies, teenagers who think they know more than we do, and later, wrinkles, aching joints, constipation, brittle bones — need I go on?
However, I also read somewhere that growing older also brings with it its own advantages, such as (I’m quoting from a self-help book) self-confidence, wisdom, and financial freedom. I thought this list was too brief, so I decided to Google “advantages of growing older”.
I came across some hilarious entries I can’t resist sharing with you: in a hostage situation, you’re likely to be released first; you no longer bother to hold in your stomach; and, your secrets are safe with your friends because they can’t remember them either. See?
Growing old isn’t so bad, is it?