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Thirty Going On Thirty-One | Suama Abiatar On Aging And Expectations

It is 08:28 and I am on my first bus to work, running late as I choose to do every Wednesday and Friday. I am not as young an adult as I would like to think, heading on 31 without a handle on my financial situation or responsibility.  What is sad is I couldn’t give a fuck at all.

I hear everyone think, “How are you not ashamed of yourself for saying that? ” Do you know what? I do feel shame; shame that is a result of what I think you think of me; shame about my lack of contribution to black tax; shame that everyone around me seems to pretty much think I have a handle of my life when I know I don’t.

Can someone tell me what a midlife crisis feels like? I ask because what I feel could pretty much be described as such, except I am not hitting midlife (how dare you say 30 is the new midlife) and what I feel has pretty much been a constant for a good amount of my adult life. I am surrounded by strong women, in my family and in my friend. Strong women who all point out how smart I am, how good I am at this career I find myself in, as if that’s supposed to get rid of the sense of non-fulfillment that overpowers me. 

It’s exactly 90 days until my next birthday, the big 31, and I am convinced that this grown up thing is a hoax, a play at getting your life together. But what does that mean exactly? Should it not be enough that I can handle my own debt, that I buy my own food and that my parents do not pay for my livelihood? The societal expectation is daunting; it used to be enough that you got married and could tend to your own field of Mahangu, but no, that won’t do anymore. I am expected to have the right job, the right friends, the right house and the ever present amount of money that takes care of everyone.  

It’s become so ridiculous that a car has now become a symbol of success. If I got a penny from everyone that asks why I don’t have a car to match my income level, I would be rich off that alone.

I guess they define success based on the boundaries they have set for themselves, admittedly this part of themselves is heavily influenced by the society they grew up in, their parents who despite wanting what is best for them, are really great at stifling them. Their idea of success is influenced by the first success story that they became familiar with, and no I am not referring to Beyoncé and every character you see on TV. For a village girl, success is informed by the people around you that have managed to attain that which you have always aspired to.

Tell me then, what a village girl like me is to do, when my constructed success story is not what my heart longs for? You see, I do not hate the idea of having a family, a home, some kids and a great job as this constructed success tells me I’m supposed to. In fact, I admire those that are quite content with this. What scares me is the idea that when all that is done, then what?  Will it be enough to watch your life in a repetitive motion; being a good wife and mother? And what does it mean to have this one person whom you have revolved your life around, will it not suffocate them much like your parents did to you? That aside, even the kids you build this new life around grow up and leave you, what will you then do with this disrupted life that has become the only one you know?

You see, as I have mentioned earlier, I am a 30 year old going on 31, who has no idea what it means to be grown up the way her people tell her to be. Not only that, I am not sure I want to know. If anything I live on a constant need to move and as such experiencing the world I live in. I am driven by a constant need to learn, to improve and to experience.

It’s not enough to achieve, it’s the excitement that the journey brings. Whatever I touch is only as interesting as it remains fresh and repetition is rather boring and a lifetime wasted in my mind. So tell me; what do you give someone who doesn’t see success in achieving, but doing? How do you accept the life of someone who prefers to experience life more than plan (for) it?

I have become so good at chasing the fresh idea that my family and friends are convinced that this phenomenon is a sign of my ever growing ambition. There it is again, creeping up as a sign of all this boxes society can fit you in. except they do not realise how difficult it is trying to squeeze a circle in a square hole.

I’ll tell you now what scares me most: waking up dead and not having attempted half the things that excite me because I was too busy trying to mould my circle in a way that it fits in a square.  Waking up deprived of the abilities that I do have now, forcing me to live my life out as a circle in this square, but worse yet, bringing someone else on this earth just to have them live my life. So you see, I am 30 going on 31, with none of her shit in the order that society wants it, but I couldn’t give a damn.

These are my last thoughts as I sit and start my busy day; an hour later than I am expected, but a little fresher because I had time to refocus my brain. An hour that I really needed, but was too scared to take.

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Suama` Abiatar

Suama` Abiatar

Suama is an adult interrupted, who has found solace in writing about the confusion.

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Thirty Going On Thirty-One | Suama Abiatar On Aging And Expectations

by Suama` Abiatar time to read: 4 min