I am genuinely scared of ageing. I stopped caring about my birthdays after I turned 16. When I was 18, my brother threw a mini party for me, inviting some of his friends. I was grateful for the party. However after everyone had gone home, I bawled. I cried so hard because it dawned on me that I was now an adult. I was now responsible for my decisions. I was now expected to be smart in my thought process / decision makings and would not be given the pass of being a kid anymore.
I traveled to the US after my 18th birthday. When I arrived in the states, I became an automatic adult. Not just by age but by responsibility. I had been sheltered and pampered all my life (and still turned out right) but traveling made me in charge of every decision about my life. I had to figure things out, make money by myself and teach myself how the American system worked. I had to learn about taxes and investing. I also had to assimilate and adapt to the American culture and nothing prepared me for the difference between the US and Nigeria. In addition, I realized that the older I got the harder it was to make friends. I had only two close friends in the states and even though we were close, there were several things I would not discuss with them.
Now, although I was not a fan of birthdays, my birthdays were always lonely. Did people post me on their status? Yes. Did my family make a huge deal and talk about how their ‘baby’ was all grown? Definitely! Did friends try to force me to go out and have fun? Surely. But, that did not stop the loneliness. It took me some soul searching to realize that I was lonely because I did not have someone I was truly open with.
The Reason Behind The Fear
My fear of ageing came mainly from the society. The American society glorifies youth to a fault. Not just USA but the west. When applying for Canadian express entry, you begin to lose points if you are 30 and above. 30, the dreaded age. 30, the age you start to lose your ‘value.’
The society declares a lady ‘useless’ and less desirable when she turns 30. There is the Netflix show about figuring out your 20’s. Young adult groups in church are mostly only for the 20’s. Even an article by Independent talks about why ageing could be considered a disease. Our society is obsessed with youth. There is a book (which I actually recommend) called ‘The Defining Decade — Your twenties and Why they matter.’ Heck even your body stops developing and your muscles starts to deteriorate from 30.
I once asked people on twitter to be honest with me. I asked that those who were 30+ tell me the changes their bodies went through when they turned 30. I did not like the responses. Everyone both male and female talked about how they could feel their bodies get weaker. They talked about how they are storing fat in unwanted places. They spoke about how their body is not able to fight sicknesses are it used to. They however provided a solution for this — Dieting and eating healthy
Little wonder now why I am scared of ageing? When I was 18 I wanted to remain 16 just because I didn’t want to become an adult and become saddled with responsibilities. Now I am in my twenties, I am scared of aging, not because of the responsibilities but because of other aforementioned reasons. As a lady in her twenties, I feel like I am running out of time. I believe by now I should be engaged (if not married), have 5 streams of income and achieved quite a lot.
I know I am right where I should be as ordained by God, but that does not stop the societal pressure from getting to me. I long to be 16 again and then be stuck at that age. I long to be free from the pressures of society and the obligations that come with adulthood. The sad and annoying thing with all these is that even though the society abhors ageing, even though we are scared of getting old, even though we all want to be forever young, NO ONE WANTS TO DIE AT 29.
Dear friend, I honestly hope you enjoyed this newsletter today. I cannot wait to send my next issue. I also want to know if you are as scared of ageing as I am. If you are, please respond to this newsletter and tell me about your experience. Thank you for reading, and please consider sharing this story so that others can subscribe and join the family!
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