• Saturday, May 25, 2024
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BusinessDay

Age is a mindset game

happy life

Gloria sat down and stared with disdain at the women at the party she had been invited to. Her aunty had insisted that she accompany her to this birthday party; one of her closest friends had just turned 50 years and they were going to shut down the town. Hmmm, she had never seen this type of thing before and she certainly didn’t approve of it.

How could all these ‘old women’ and grandmothers be looking and behaving like young ladies, when they should be carrying themselves in a quiet, austere and composed manner. And then their beautiful dressing, gosh! These women could easily pass for women in their thirties, and they laughed so much and had a genuinely joyful sparkle about them.

All of these observations made Gloria feel uneasy. She was 38 years old and had been married for 12 years with 4 children, the last being 6 years old. Her life had literally ended when the children came because that what was she’d seen her mother do. “Old age starts when you have your last baby oh, you won’t have time for yourself anymore because the children are going to take up all your time”, her mother would often say.

That was exactly how she had lived for the past 10 years since she had her first child. Her own life had become non-existent and having 4 children in 4 years made the matter worse. She couldn’t think of a time when she did anything for herself, and stress had become normal for her. She was just being a good mother who was sacrificing for her children, but why then did she feel uncomfortable?

On the drive home, Gloria’s aunty noticed that she was quiet and withdrawn and wondered why. There had been a lot of fun at the party and she’d assumed that Gloria would thoroughly enjoy herself. Gloria’s aunty had always been the fun and easy-going sister, even though she was the eldest child in her mum’s family.

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Somehow, despite having 5 children, she had managed herself pretty well and looked really good. She was meticulous with her self-care including her gym time, clean eating and spa dates, and even had time to go on foreign vacations all by herself or with her girlfriends. She did not behave like an ‘old woman’ at all, and even though her mum was critical of her big sister it was not difficult to see whose life seemed more enjoyable.

“Aunty, your friends are 50 years and above but you all are so youthful and look like you are enjoying yourselves. You are even older than my mum yet she looks at least a decade older than you and hardly even smiles. She has aged so much, and I really don’t want to go her route. It’s not even money that is the problem because I mean, she is better off financially than you yet her life seems to be one of suffering. How do you do it? Please help me”.

Gloria’s aunty chuckled. “Age is a mindset game, my darling”, she replied. “When we were growing up, we were made to believe that after child-bearing a woman’s life was over. We were expected to become aged ‘expired old cargoes’. I heard a lot of those words as a teenage girl even though I did not quite understand what they meant until I got married and started having children. I gave all of the things we’d been taught about womanhood a critical thought and realised that there were better ways of doing things.

I also realised that the way we think about and see ourselves determine the actions we take, so I decided to see myself as a healthy, youthful woman who lives her life joyfully irrespective of external conditions. I also surrounded myself with like-minded friends and the journey has been great so far. You know the good Book also talks about how the righteous flourish like a palm tree even at old age. Having the right mindset about how I want to live has influenced my lifestyle”.

“You just got a new disciple”, Gloria said as she hugged her aunty, deciding she’d live a flourishing life too.