The one thing that, even if you whine and cry and refuse to eat and sleep all day, will never change, is the passage of time. The clock will keep ticking. The sun will keep setting, and those quiet grey hairs will keep waiting till the day they can sprout with joy and never look back.
When my friend Gabriel said he dozed off on the car steering on his way to work this morning, I felt a strong mix of apprehension and hilarity.
Gabriel, a young man in his late twenties, is already facing mid-forties problems because he couldn’t get seven hours of sleep!
Who can blame him?
Our generation has it differently. The whole process has been sped up. What we have always known as mid-life crisis really has upped its ante, attended branding school, and has now become the 30s malaise.
The 30s malaise essentially states that the moment you hit your thirties, you begin to experience everything…but harder. (Don’t look that up, I came up with it.) You would feel sadness more sadly, stress more stressfully, anger more angrily and tiredness more tiredly. You would have moments of real worry for something and nothing at all, moments of high hopes rudely interrupted by moments of sharp fatigue, with bubbling questions about the point of this trouble that is life visiting you while you sleep.
It’s why I immediately started to argue with Gabriel that maybe he had altered his age like many Nigerian footballers are wont to do.
“Tell me the truth, are you sure you’re not thirty-five? I promise I won’t tell anyone.”
But Gabriel would not confess, and that’s fine. I know, you, my dear reader, now know, and the Lord who made us all knows that the only reason anyone would be sleeping on their steering early in the morning is because they have the 30s malaise.
Fine, I’m kidding.
But I can’t help but wonder at how quickly time is passing, and how older we are getting. I know it isn’t just me who thought I’d be a teen forever. There are days when I honestly debate within myself if I didn’t get stuck in that phase in my head, while the rest of my body grew because I do not feel old. I do not feel old at all, and when my nieces and their school mothers call me “Aunty”, I sometimes do a double-take like “You can’t possibly be referring to me, kid.”
I admire people who look forward to getting older. I admire their enthusiasm about life, about where next it leads them, and their patience with it to take them there. I admire the photoshoots and public declaration of new chapters with genuine excitement.
And it is not that I don’t feel those too, I sometimes honestly do — I mean, when I finally clocked 18, I wanted to throw a can of red paint at the world to announce my arrival to the good life.
But I guess I am one of those people who are fascinated by their grandmother’s photos when she was young, who read up biographies and watch old movies and wonder what those people were thinking when they were my age, and because of that, frankly, I do not want to grow older.
I want to stay young and here to watch the world as it unfolds, as trends come and go and life gets warm and cold and warm again.
Alas, wishes aren’t galloping hairy things. And at least, I can find comfort in the fact that I am not alone. We are all growing old.
And we will all die one day.