Sunday, August 23, 2009

My article in this sundays edition of THE GUARDIAN


A friend sent me a text on my birthday last weekend. It read, “You know you are growing old when the candles are bigger than the cake”. I thought the bigger test was, whether or not you were able to laugh at the joke.
I half laughed, which means i am one leg in, and one leg out.

While only three people know my true age, it is fair to say i might be ticking the other side of 21. You know those boxes that give you options which go from 21 – 29, to 30 - 39, to OVER 40...
as if being 40 and over was some incurable disease.
Irreversible, maybe, but when did getting older become such a chore and bore and fear?

I remember growing up and wishing i was older. Back then, i would laugh at those who said, “A woman never reveals her age”, saying mine proudly! I thought it was silly to celebrate your 21st six times... I mean! Your age didn’t matter that much did it?

Wrong i was again.
Now i understand everything, even as i struggle with a reluctance to admit how old or young i really am.
The truth is, our ages may not bother us personally, but it sure bothers society, and they are determined to put us in boxes according to our age. Not personality or ability. But age.

You can’t get into school before a certain age, you cannot work in a bank after a certain age. If you are a certain age, you should either be married, or at least, suitably upset that you are not, and when you are a certain age, then you should face your studies, and not members of the opposite sex! In some countries, permission to drink is granted based on age, and others determine criminial responsibility based on age. Here in Nigeria, as at when i was in Law School, anyone under the age of 7 could not be prosecuted for a crime because they were not seen by law as able to commit crimes!

For those in the entertainment, fashion and beauty industry, the rules are tighter!‘Old’ is not when you need to line up for pension. Old is when you count in two digits from 25.
I remember a certain audition i did not go for because the person had to be under 21. I later found out half of the people who auditioned had lied about their ages, Who knows if the winner gave their real age. I realised i should have just lied jo! But i have not had cause to again... yet.

So here i am. Grateful for the extra twelve months i marked. The new experiences learnt, the mistakes made, the pain and love shared. But worried that, i could be deemed irrelevant. Not because i no longer think or function like i used to. But because i now tick the wrong box! Poor those who attempted to find out my age. I either eyed them, or told them i was the same age as my tongue and a little older than my teeth. And poor the dude who saw a picture of mine from last year and said i look older and less innocent now. His ear-drum must have healed by now... i hope.

In the end, i look to His word for the comfort.Nay. The race is never to the swift. Time and chance.
So i will cut my next birthday cake with grace and smiles. But no candles. There’s no need to go there jo!


  1. lol i stopped celebrating after my 21st. and who ever invented the candles on the cakes anyway??!!

  2. love this piece oh tosYn!
    lmao! People hardly believe when I say my age so what's the point?

  3. Hehe! Nicely put. Happy belated bday.