On a beautiful Monday last month, precisely April 7, I celebrated my birthday and started on a new day of the 365-day journey. I look back and thank God for the many cycles I have made, and pray there will be many more happy ones ahead. Growing older reminds you that you are growing. Changing. I can see the greys. Each growing day brings wonder that you have never seen before, and you are finally taking the time to notice it because you are older.
Growing older is time to laugh more, sing more, feel more, love more and praise God more. It’s time to stop complaining and time to stop regretting. Instead of wondering “what if?” and wallowing in the mud of stagnancy, it’s time to delight in life’s treasures.
Celebrating your birthday is a good time to reflect on your life. But it is not a time to sit down and ask what you should have done differently. You should not use the day to reflect on your choices, kick yourself for the decisions you didn’t make and the harsh words you spoke to a friend or your spouse.
Your birthday is a time to realise that you cannot change what did or did not happen yesterday, but look forward to things that hold promise in the coming season. It’s time to resolve to live more on purpose, love harder without fear, tolerate mediocrity less, empower those you love, and do things you have only dreamt of doing in newer, more interesting, and more fulfilling ways. No more procrastination. No more hesitation. No more excuses.
Being an older woman has its advantages. You no longer need permission to do what you want, when you want, how you want, with anyone you want. You have earned this freedom through living your life responsibly and gaining trust of those close to you. As you read this piece, God willing, I will be enjoying my birthday gift spoiling myself in one of my favourite destinations in this planet. I will be having my ‘me time’, which I deserve and owe it to myself. Plus, my age allows me to enjoy the little pleasures of life without any guilt.
As an older woman, you understand the value of wisely using your gifts, and you know what can happen when you don’t use them the way God intended. You cannot be my age and not have witnessed friends, family members, or colleagues make choices whose consequences have been regrettable. How, for example, would you explain wasting your life and your gifts and growing old broke, without any friends or family around you? For those of you who are younger and reading this, take my advice, don’t squander your gifts and opportunities. As long as you live, you still have time to make amends if you have made wrong choices. Treasure and value your family, especially your nuclear family, and build bonds that cannot be broken. It would be a sad moment if I woke up on my birthday and not hear those sweet words: “Happy birthday Mummy!”
The other thing you realise, as you grow older is the negative impact of inactivity and procrastination. You have made your mistakes and learned from them, and your experience helps you make better decisions now. You don’t want to grow old and start regretting things you didn’t do when you were younger, as all this will be in vain. Every year of your life that passes is gone and you cannot reclaim it, you can only learn from it and make the year you are at more meaningful. So, whether you are celebrating your 20th, 30th or 40th birthday this year, don’t look back, keep your eyes focused on the future. That is where your life is. That is what matters.
As an older woman you understand honour and know when you give it freely, it comes back to you. You honour and respect those you love, live with, or work and associate with. You also honour and respect laws and authority. You also know when a fight is not worth it and when to let things be. In deed, you endeavour to live your life peacefully and avoid situations that may disrupt your peace.
Age gives you certain wisdom you can’t learn in any university other than the university of life. And best of all, you can pass that wisdom along to younger people. You can give the benefit of that experience and teach them to live a life without regrets. I endeavour to do this each day God blesses me with, passing the wisdom I have gained to young people around me, and particularly my children. It is my wish and prayer to always be their mentor and role model.
Published on May 2014