Island Soul City Dreams

I love New York, but my heart has a Caribbean beat. It pulsates to the traditions of my people. Attuned to the rhythms of this City, I stay West Indian to the bone. I reflect. I analyze. I speak my mind. ~ I Keep it Irie ~

The Anniversary of My 25th Birthday – The Sequel

Ever since I turned 25 (about a decade or so ago), I have been in denial about aging. For sure, I am grateful for life and every year as January turns, I get excited about not just new beginnings, or the uncertainties that lie ahead, but about the celebration of my birthday at month-end. My birthday is made all the more special because I share it with my younger sister, Sancia. No other birthday gift has been able to surpass that beautiful bundle of joy my mom brought into my life the day I turned four. That was a long time ago. Still, because I don’t feel a day over 25, I started calling my annual birthday celebration, “The Anniversary of My 25th Birthday.” This year, I added to that “The Sequel.” But having recently watched an episode of The Dr. OZ Show where he said that it doesn’t matter how old a woman feels, her eggs are still getting older, I got into a slight state of panic. Here I am 10 years (or so) after my 25th birthday and I am still unmarried, still childless and still having a hard time accepting that I’m getting old. There, I just said it.

When asked, more often than not, I readily admit my real age. Every time it’s the same response, “No way!”, “You don’t look that old!”, “You look great for your age!”, “For real?” I have been hearing these sentiments for so long, I’ve ceased to be flattered. But not unappreciative. I always thought that by this age, given that from my late teens to mid-20’s I was in a long-term committed relationship, that I’d be married with children by now, living in my picket-fenced house, dark brown Labrador Retrievers etc. Apparently most of my friends and relatives thought the same. So every year when I return to Barbados on vacation, I’m bombarded with the questions, “So are you married yet?”, “Where’s the husband?” ,”Where’s the boyfriend?”, “Do you have any children yet?”, “When are you going to give your mother another grandchild?” (My sister has a son). For a while, these questions had no effect on me. I was too caught up with furthering my education and pursuing my journalistic career to be “side tracked” by starting a family. Over time, the persisting questions started to get on my nerves. I wanted just to tell people off for asking the same annoying thing every time I went home. But my sense of  humor got the better of me. I found creative ways to respond; that made none wiser, but left all laughing. I’m at the point now where I’m neither bothered by such questions nor focused on their real answers.

January 2012 rocking it on a beach in Barbados two weeks before my birthday.

I have come to accept the curve balls life throws at us. I have accepted that no matter how well-laid my plans, God can make a joke of them and alter as he sees fit. Just as importantly, I have come to know me, to make me a better me: spiritually; emotionally; academically; professionally; domestically; physically – in every sphere of my life. And I have learnt how to love me. So while for a fleeting moment Dr. Oz made me doubt my path in life, I’m reminded of Jeremiah chapter 29 verse 11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I take confidence in this.

As I’m writing this, my mother calls from Barbados to follow up on her early morning wishes, to see how I’ve spent my birthday. My sister also comes on the line and we share the highlights of our birthday. She then hands the phone to her son, whose sweet singing voice rings through my ear piece, “happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy dear Auntie Maquita, happy birthday to you.” At the end of his song, like any other 9 year-old, he asks “how old are you now?”

I answer, “I am 3* years old today, Nicholai. Do you think auntie is old?” He replies, “No, but we don’t say we’re getting 3* years young.” We both laugh. “That’s right,” I say, “I am 3* years old and exactly where God wants me to be.”

~ I Keep it Irie ~

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