I was recently asked by someone about how life is when one is in their 40s. Are there lessons I have learnt that I can share? My initial reaction was there was really nothing big about being in the 40s. Granted, one’s perspective about life is different when you are 48 compared to say, 25. Priorities and responsibilities change as we go through life. But is that not true for each stage in life?
The question got me thinking. One thing that stands out to me is how comfortable I am with who I am. I am comfortable with my background, my roots, my past experiences, and my current lot in life. I’m comfortable with the person I am inside and outside. I have a sense of harmony in the person that I am in thought and the person I manifest in action. I do not purport to be perfect. Far from it; I am perfectly imperfect. I am comfortable with my physical self – height, shape, size, weight (though my scale lies!! haha), race – name it.
There is something very liberating about not having to think (or care) about what anyone else thinks. Like thinning hair or a receding hairline. I have always thought that it is a cruel joke that life plays on us. Just when you have found a hairstyle that you can live with, your hair starts to thinout! Being older too means you can wear an outfit that was fashionable thirty years ago, because it is yours and you are comfortable in it. Too bad if the world and your kids do not like it!
Older also means you are able to stand for what you believe in. By this time, you have been confronted with every possible set of opposites and alternatives. Is there life after death? Is global warming real? Should you or should you not care about baby polar bears hanging on the last block of ice at the Arctic circle?
At the same time, you have developed enough tolerance to gracefully listen to and accommodate opposing points of view, without raising your blood pressure. Well, at least not significantly. You can have civil discourse with someone on the opposite side of the spectrum and still be friends. You recognize that at core, we are all human and that fact should be held as sacred at all times in spite our differences.
You have also perfected diplomacy – that art of telling someone to go to hell in such a way that the person looks forward to the trip ( I forget where I first heard of that expression..) Earlier in life, in your twenties and thirties, your place on the food chain is near the bottom. Your response to almost anyone shouting jump is to jump and ask questions later. With time, you learn to ask how high. By the time you are 40, you know ten different ways to push back, without appearing to do so.
I have thought of writing a blog for so long, but kept putting it off. What will I write about? Who will read it? What if no one reads? What if I run out of stuff to write about? Does the world really need one more blogger?
But here is one more thing that I have learnt. Often times, we start off in life running in other people’s race. We want to excel, not for ourselves, but in order to compete with others. We want to do better than others. Or to please others. Until life eventually teaches us that we are not in a competition.
I do not need to have a better house or better car than my neighbour. I do not need one simply because my friend has one. My kids will not have comparable achievements or experiences with my neighbours kids. Each of us is in our own timeline. It is like participating a marathon with thousands of runners. When you get to mile 20, it is never about who is ahead of you or who is about to overtake you. The only goal is to cross the finishing line. You encourage those running alongside you. You high-five total strangers. At the finishing line, everyone who participates is a winner in their own right.
That is what this blog is about. Being in Njeri’s own timeline. Sharing my thoughts, musings and thoughts – not in competition- but along side those of others. There is not better time to start than today. So welcome to My Comic Relief!