Today I'm celebrating my age. Not only will I celebrate each of the years that I have lived on this earth, but to show my appreciation to Almighty God for the gift of life, I am going to give an offering, with $1 for each year. If I could, it would be $100 or 1000 or even 1000000for each year lived, but for now and today, $1 will do.
One may wonder what triggered this. Well, today, someone tried to insult me using my age. I thought it was senseless, but it got me thinking about age in general. Why are we so averse to aging? Is it because we treat the elderly so badly that we do not wish to be among them, or is it because it brings us closer to the reality of our mortality?
Every moment, second, minute, hour, day, week, month, year, we add to our years. Growing older is a natural part of life, so why is it so difficult to embrace? This is particularly the case for women. Being called an old woman is supposed to be an insult. On the contrary, age in men is celebrated. When a man's hair greys, he is referred to as stately, yet women somehow are not expected to age. As a result, we buy all sorts of creams and undertake all manner of treatments to perpetuate our youth and run away from age.
The society we live in sadly encourages this perception. It literally kills the potential of so many women by prescribing what they should be doing at a certain age. Where I come from, at a certain age, a woman must have given birth a certain number of times, must have no ambition, should not dare to dream, must have stopped living for herself and should be living for her husband and children. Anything outside this is "abnormal."
Well, I choose to defy that "norm" for the mere reason that it is oppressive. In spite of my years, I am not done with the business of living. I have dreams to fulfill and potential to use up. Life has so much more to offer and there is still so much to look forward to. I cannot afford to die while still living. I'm alive and every year added is a privilege not a burden. The scourge of our society, in my view, is that some people age in their minds and die while still living and society has actually normalised that. I refuse to be among that lot. I will not allow anyone to steal the gift of life from me just because they think I should stop living.
Today, I made a decision to celebrate every moment that I live. No-one remains the same age for life! Anyone who thinks acknowledging that other people are growing older is an insult must realise that we cannot defy nature.
I choose to celebrate my life. I choose to make a memory of every moment that I have lived and make the most of every breath given to me. I will celebrate my age and embrace the changes that come with the natural process regardless of society's perceptions. I love life, it has been good and has gotten better with each year so I will not regret not being perenially young. I will take each day as it comes and ensure that every moment is memorable.
What's more, I will not be a sorry sight because some years have been added and I should be living like a "hag." I will take good care of myself, love the person God made me, embrace myself and enjoy being me. I will not let society decide what is best for me because of what they think women my age should be doing. I will live life to the fullest and enjoy it according to what I think is best for me. Let society make plans for other people by branding them as old but not me. Sadly, old age is associated with being unproductive, but I refuse to let anyone cap my potential because of their upbringing.
I have decided that this is a quality life that must be lived and enjoyed in totality. I am the chief executive officer of this life and what I say goes. So, the final decision is to celebrate life, enjoy being me and make the most of every moment lived.
There are just too many reasons for me to celebrate life. I have passed average life expectancy for Zimbabwean women and God has blessed me with a great life. Every year I have lived has been better than the last, so I cannot help but look forward to the future to see what is in store for me.
So let the party begin because this life shall be lived to its fullest and the celebration starts NOW!!!
To all the women out there, don't let anyone decide what's best for you based on your age. You are the decision maker for your life and you have every right to live it the way you want.