I woke up that morning with nothing on my mind. Night shift is starting in a few hours and I need to get some sleep.
I had watched Black Panther, Avengers End game and a couple other movies that week just to see Chadwick Boseman.
If for a second I had known that he may have been taking his last breath, could it have been different?
I get to work and start my night. I decide to take a break a few hours later, the n95 mask was suffocating me. I sit down at the table in the staff break room, after rummaging the fridge for sandwiches. A post on whatsapp gets me…’the Black Panther is no more’ crying emoji.
Obviously I think its a joke. Every year people always trying to get clout with one actors death or another. I did not want to check Twitter because I was low-key afraid it might be true. Its not something that just pops out of the blue. I mean why would anyone want to make up a story that Chadwick Boseman passed?
60 the new 20, I open the post and the first thing I see is a tree, this girl is crazy.
How old do you think the tree in that picture is? Obviously older than you are, and it is still rooted there strong and sturdy. It has withstood all forms of weather and still shaded people and animals, aging yes…but still alive. Maybe it is still there because it was not cut off by some human,(thank God) or maybe because it chose not to wilt away. Whatever the reason it is here now and it is here to teach us a lesson.
How old is too old to be able to do anything? Am I too old at 30 to still be in the dating game? ‘go settle down’ ‘you are irresponsible’ ‘you need to build a family’. Am I too old at 50 to have children? ‘your ovaries are dried up’ ‘you need to relax and enjoy your grownup kids’ ‘all your friends will have grownup kids by then’ ‘your time has passed’ Am I too old at 60 go to a bar or dance? ‘go drink oolong tea in your backyard grandpa’ ‘your bones are dead’ Am i too old at 70 to wear a bikini? ‘your skin is wrinkled mama,cover it up’ ‘accept that you are worthless and move on’. Am I too old at 80 to enjoy sex? ‘eeww, how can that happen?’ ‘That man surely takes viagra’
Older men and women go through this everyday, slowly killing their drive to live another day. The feeling that they do not have much physical or mental strength as they used to, the fact that they have to retire from their regular jobs , the constant reminder that they are old and everyone feels sorry for them from the pitiful looks on the faces of youngsters who are flaunting youthful skin and running on strong legs. At the end of the day is age actually just a number or is it a state of mind? Just like the tree in the picture knows what it has to do , it deepens its roots further into the ground to be able to withstand each season and still serve its purpose in every age. Be like the tree.
Society has set its timelines as to when everything is supposed to happen in our lives, and it is up to us to make changes and stop sheepishly following the crowd for fear of being left out. In a world like ours, it is generally not easy moving on your path because of the heavy pressure asserted on us by family , friends and the society in general. Plus in a place like Cameroon where you will need a job, and money and connection it is not as easy as I say it. Most people have had an encounter with disappointment so great that every dream they can conceive is contaminated with the toxic anxiety of failure. S for the rest of their lives they prefer to always play safe.
I have been swayed left to right before and having kids does not make it better but you need to keep fighting for you. Nobody wants to be seen as odd or uncultured. All parents want their kids in the same spheres as their classmates, and children start feeling unaccomplished when they have no job at 20,are not married by 25, no kids by 35, no house at 45, and to crown all that with what nobody actually cares about is sense of self. At 80 or 90 when all is said and done, you look back on your life and is that a tinge of regret I see? A stain on you presumed perfect life? You followed the crowd and they left you on the sidewalk with nothing but your damaged core they took and played around with. You woke up from your slumber 30 years too late.
I have friends who tell me they cannot wear certain clothes because they are parents now. They cannot do certain things because they are spouses now. We are the ones who end up setting our own limitations. Your mind is not free and you are trapped in this prison of guilt when all you are truly afraid of is what someone who does not even care about you will think of you.
How many times in your 20s or 30s or even 40s did you actually choose to put effort in something you wanted to do? How many times did you put something off because you thought you were too old? Your sex, or marital status is not an obstacle. You are the one using it as an excuse. You are older now and you feel old because you have never renewed your mind and thought process, you have given in to your fears and you know that you had the chance when you were younger but you just did not take it. You have refused embracing change. Society’s dictates had their way.
Glenn Close,an American actress just received a Golden globe and she said this “…I’m thinking of my mum, who really sublimated herself to my father her whole life. And in her 80s she said to me,’ I feel I haven’t accomplished anything’. And it was so not right and I feel what I’ve learned through this whole experience is women,we’re nurturers-that’s what is expected of us. We have our children our husbands…but we have to find personal fulfillment.We have to follow our dreams.We have to say ,’ I can do that . And should be allowed to do that.”
In Cameroon we had old people over 90 that were riding bicycles and going to the farm and people will say that their children were probably not taking care of them. *LAUGHS* When your mind does not constantly renew itself, no matter how educated you get,or how much money you make , the different aspects in life will never be in tune with each other because of the internal conflicts you have everyday with yourself in your little cocoon of pretense and role playing.
My mother whom I love so much is never afraid to be who she is. She wears mini skirts and goes for meetings and after the meeting she becomes the topic for next meeting on dress codes, and guess what! She goes to the next meeting in a shorter annd tighter skirt. It is who she is and what she loves and if you are uncomfortable then that is your problem to deal it. She will not change for you. Why do old people frown? Someone said they are just angry for being old, angry at the young ones perhaps, gravity. It is not true, they are angry at themselves because they did not have the courage to do what you are doing when they were younger and they still do not have the courage to do it now!
For time immemorial, man has been known as always ‘wanting’ and insatiable. The search for something new, different,exciting and attention-grabbing never evades us. The constant desire for power keeps the world feeding us with all its material possessions keeping our minds fascinated with acquisition,because we have equated worldly things to reputation. What you own equals who you are.
By nature we are materialistic beings, I am materialistic to be honest. I want to own everything, I just feel I need everything(which I don’t), it might make me feel better or worthier, even when I KNOW I CANNOT AFFORD it. The problem I have about materialism is the extent of attachment to the luxuries. Let us define attachment for a moment because it is a whole concept which involves psychological stuff in relationships between people that we cannot delve into in one post. In Buddhism it is referred to as Upādāna which compares it to ‘clinging’ or ‘grasping’. Most definitions of attached include having strong feelings of affection(emotional), and as human as we are we usually let our emotions override our better judgement. Our relationship with stuff starts as early as two, when a child can grasp onto the idea that he or she can possess an object,though their understanding of it does not breed evil as it does in adults.
Feeling angry because Grinch has what you do not have and you will do all in your power to acquire it. Should we honey glaze it as ‘positive competition’? Or is it just downright jealousy or envy? There is a difference between liking a dress on a friend and getting yours and wanting the dress all for youself,nursing feelings of hate and disgust as to why the person owns it and you do not. Beautiful things are good, gold,diamonds,silver,pearls,silk,lace,cars,shoes,art, etc and we eventually turn into HCHs (high class hoarders). Over 70% of the world have things they have not used in over two years and they are still keeping it for ‘a time might pop up’ moment when they will need it. I so believe in minimalism and how they live, by trying to give meaning to every moment of their lives and throwing out objects that do not serve them daily to be able to dedicate more time to actual people.Another thing they preach is gift giving. In order to reduce this surge for giving stuff which occupies space and will not be used,why not gift memories? A vacation, a visit to the less privileged, anything that will not collect dust on a shelf. this is a link to their site and what they preach
It is obvious why everyone wants recognition through property, when in real life someone wearing Alexander McQueen, or using iPhones makes you seem more reliable than someone else. Ladies as well as gentlemen will usually flock towards the flashiest thing, and if that thing is in the hands of a person, that is where they will go. People that own ‘nothing’ are considered unworthy alliances. Do not judge people for who they are from what they look like. Studies have shown that as we age our possessions start acting like a crutch for all self issues we might be dealing with. We lean on them because they give us temporary spikes of pleasure and feelings of reward. -you have worked hard enough;you dererve it;spoil yourself;reward yourself;selfcare- all the ways society tries to draw you into the whirlpool of constant consumption. You do not want to be left out because your agemates are presidents and you do not even own a Rav4. “The goal is to be rich, not to look rich”Moosa Rahat.
One last thing i want to talk about that we hold onto unknowingly which I am a victim of are Memories and the things that come with it. In Cameroon I had friends who had pictures that were faded and molded but they would not throw them away, even when you could only identify the shoes of the people in the picture. When someone dies, we hold onto almost all their stuff as if it would bring the person back. The earth cannot hold you as long, why do you hold onto material so? Imagine if the earth held onto people the way we hold onto material things, Jeez my great-great-great-great grandfathers great-great-great grandfathers great-great-great grandfather…I am sure you see where we are going with this. Sometimes people use pictures and things to justify what you did with or for another person. The true question is ‘Did you do it with your heart?’ With no desire for self-glorification or return? With pure joy knowing you might have made someone happy,no matter how slight? Let go of those things we cling onto, hoping it will keep the memory alive forever. It is not all memories that need to be translated into objects. As a mother, we have the tendency to want to keep our babys pictures and everything, but you need to let all that go and enjoy your precious moments with your child for most of the most precious are those unrecorded. That goes to for other relationships especially friendships.
Estimate how materialistic you are in all aspects , including emotionally and physically, and see how you acan improve and better your life, and those you serve. Jesus said to follow him we must leave everything behind…if you are too attached to material, this will be a hard one for you. What if disaster hit you like in the areas of fllood,tornadoes and wars where people lose everything? Will you rise and start over or will you dwell in your past sucking up remnants of a time lost?