So, yesterday it happened. The day I'd been dreading for a while now. Something that only happens to other people - people who, from the moment it happens to them, become known as aunty, tietie, gogo or tannie.
Yes, I turned 40.
|Image obtained here|
Part of me was excited - I had heard that 40 was life-changing. In return for the newly-emerging grey hairs, rapidly-spreading age spots and impossible-to-disguise wrinkles, one is rewarded with a self-assuredness and confidence unprecedented, a devil-may-care attitude to the negative opinions of others and the thrill of knowing that life begins at 40.
So today, at 40 yrs + 1 day, I sat down by myself, preparing for a session of introspection - curious to discover whether any of these magnificent promises had miraculously come to pass on this birthday, which is meant to hold so much promise and magic.
"Do I feel more confident or self-assured?" I asked myself. Hmm, how would I test this? Then it came to me - I clicked on the link for the magazine journalism course for which I so much want to register, but could never bring myself to do, for fear of failure. My cursor hovered over the 'Register here' button, but a tiny spark of bravery was cruelly snuffed out by my still-very-much-alive feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy. So much for self-assuredness and confidence unprecedented, I thought to myself dejectedly.
As for a devil-may-care attitude to the negative opinions of others, that didn't even require much thought. At 08:37 a.m. I had already spent time and energy obsessing over Aisha (3)'s teachers' opinions of me while we carried our child kicking and screaming into the daycare. "I don't care what any of you think," I muttered silently, trying to convince myself that this was indeed the case, while trying to avert my eyes from the stares from teachers and other parents.
All that was left was for me to consider the final thing which was promised to excited 40-year olds the world over - having the thrill of knowing that life begins at 40. But, sadly, that too had been a false promise, for - since yesterday morning - I have been obsessing about my will and the fact that I had not made any provision for frail care/aged care for my twilight years, which are looming threateningly close by.
So what? No pay-off for the aching joints and deepening frown lines? I still remain as insecure and paranoid as ever?!!! I ran to the mirror - maybe this disappointing revelation meant that, since I was not experiencing the same character development and growth characteristic of other women of my age, perhaps I would be blessed by a physical regeneration instead.
But, there they were, staring back at me - proudly; defiantly - fifteen grey hairs (and counting), age spots and fine lines - which, I have to admit, include laugh lines. Laugh lines, no doubt deepened by the antics of my four kids and quirky husband. Laugh lines, therefore, brought about by the people I love dearly. Lines, which serve to remind me of the blessings which the Almighty, through His Beneficence, has chosen to bestow upon me.
And I realise that my physical 'flaws' related to the process of ageing are testament to a life well-lived; my badges of honour and a constant reminder of the blessings with which I have been showered. I should strive to remember this going forward.