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Life begins at 40... Really?

09 July 2015, 18:58 Shakila Alivitsa

Nairobi - In 1955, Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell played in a film adaptation of a play known as The Seven Year Itch. Generally, it was just about how you are prone to cheat after a couple (seven in this case) of years in marriage. We always talk about cheating until it gets boring, so I will adapt it to something else.

If you are open-minded you will see that the film was not about highlighting that one issue but generally dissatisfaction with your life. This kind of dissatisfaction does not happen in your 20s or 30s; then you are content to earn your small monies, build your average house, have a regular family doing regular things and waiting for retirement.

So many people like lying how life starts at forty. I do not know who came up with this one but I will assume that it was a cougar and a man experiencing mid-life crisis. How are you going to lie to people like that? We all know when you hit forty, fifty, and sixty…. You are closer to deaths door than you are at obtaining your youth. Yes, you make mistakes and you make foolish decisions but it is an experience you can never get back. I will also assume they were a couple of divorcees who were done raising the family and were now ‘free’ to do as they willed. But life does not start at forty, you were just slower in catching on.

I will also assume that the seven year itch happened to the same people after the following took place. I am saying this not for them but maybe for you who might be experiencing it and do not know. Or you who is like me and has a chance to make better decisions before the time runs out.

We will start with marriage because the play was about marriage anyway

Wrong partner, wrong choice and worse life experience

No matter how older I get with each passing year, everyone getting engaged and having weddings and settling down, I will never settle with someone whom I cannot see me taking care of when they are old and grey. I do not romanticize some things and this is just one of them. They look good now, are doing well now, healthy now but what about 20 years later. Will you still like them? If they break their back, get disabled or have a runny nose and they cannot take care of it themselves, will you stomach them? That to me is what causes the seven year itch- becoming dissatisfied with a partner that you chose early in life. The worst thing that can ever happen is dedicating your life to one person year after year, and in no time it is twenty years later and you are asking what did I do? I could have done so much better, or they were just not meant for me, or maybe we rushed it-if we had just waited. KK got divorced after 72 days, it looked bad then but at least she did not waste away her life because that is what a lot of people do. It is years now but later it is a life you have wasted.

In your job/ career-were you just born to pay bills?

Civil servants in Kenya retire at around 50-60 years old, I am not sure; and then your pension rolls in. But let us come close, you are 35-40 now. All your life or since you started working let us assume in your 20s, you have always had an 8-5 full time job with the extra Saturday. You do nothing else. Leave for work, go back home and Saturday you might leave earlier, go back home after grocery shopping. Go to church on Sunday maybe and the cycle begins. Now just imagine you have been doing that for 15+ years. Aside from your leave, what else have you done? You look good on paper but when you hit 40 you start asking yourself what you have done. Yes, you fed the family, sheltered and clothed them but were you born to just pay bills? In your parents’ house you had no money, you got into your house and now you had bills. You have never enjoyed anything.

If you are thinking about your local, that is not enjoyment! I am talking about vacations, travelling (not travelling to your rural home but even Zanzibar, start small) and doing things out of your comfort zone. You look at your marriage you cannot even have fun with your partner. You are just grumpy and it is so cold.

You decided you want to stay single

Just like people rush into marriage, there are those who lie to themselves that they will love being single.

Stop playing and stop lying. Being single is good, I can admit that. You have no spouse to report to. You have no children to make demands on you or your money. You can do what you want and when you want. But….BUT

You hit forty and maybe your parents are no longer here. Your siblings are living their own lives with their own families; you cannot encroach on that. You have nobody! No children that will take care of you in your old age and no spouse for companionship. Marriage is built on one thing that people forget, not your children or the many years that you spend raising a family. When you grow old you have someone to share that with. They take care of you and you them. Someone to sit by the fire with or the bare chimney in your Runda house and just be silent but you know you have someone. They can die before you yes, but you will not be afraid of death when it comes for you because you shared it with them.

Or you can travel with them and spend that good money with them, or you think you will keep asking your friends to come with you? You can pay someone for that companionship but that is time, money and effort and you might end up not enjoying that company or jump from agency to agency and person to person looking for someone who will ‘just get you!’ That is the seven year itch for single people.

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