by Nkem Ndem
On the first day of November every year, my mother calls to remind me that my birthday is just 9 days away. I don’t know why she does it, but it has since become the tradition. Just as it is a tradition that she reminds me every 10th of November, when it actually is my birthday, that I am destined to birth her granddaughter – seeing as she only has “grandsons everywhere”.
At first, it was cute and I actually would secretly pray that my siblings keep producing sons and leave the mother-given-destiny for me, but as I have gotten older and my mother has become more desperate and tired of waiting for me to fulfill this destiny she bestowed on me, it has become slightly annoying.
As expected, she called on the 1st of this month. Surprisingly, the call sort of took a different and interesting turn. As usual, she asked what the plans were for my birthday and I mentioned a possible Dubai trip with two of my best female friends Uloma (who is also celebrating this November) and Ijeoma.
Then, we somehow drifted into a long gist of the male attention I have had in the last 10 months. I mentioned to her that I recently met a guy who is 50 years old and we are gradually becoming friends. Surprisingly, she went deathly quiet. It was new for me as she almost always praised any male being I mentioned to her and encouraged me to “show him, love”. To liven the air, I went on to say to her that he did not look his age and he did not act too old either. She asked: “Is he married?” I said: “No” then out of the blues, she said: “Don’t marry him.” It was shocking. First of all, I had not mentioned anything suggesting that I was in a relationship with the man, so how did the idea of marrying him come to play? Again, isn’t this the same woman that wants a granddaughter as soon as possible? Oddly, I was in the mood for her drama and was interested in understanding her train of thought, so I asked: “Why?”
Her reasons included the following: at his age, was too old and marriage with a much younger woman will not work; he must be a terrible person to still be single at 50; and most hilarious, he could be my daddy. It was funny because, when I was dating a person I was very slighter older than, she had also complained that the relationship was not fair to me, as he would cheat on me with younger girls if we got married.
Our society, I guess, holds a negative stigma regarding age differences, which causes people to obsess over it. It stipulates that people of a certain age range can only be with people of a certain age range based on their sex as well. We now feel guilt, shame, and disappointment in our selves when we consider the possibility of dating or developing feelings for people outside the indicated age brackets. You are called a ‘Cougar’ if you are 40-year-old woman dating a 25-year-old male; a ‘Sugar daddy’ when you are a 70-year-old man dating a 22-year-old girl; a ‘Runs girl’ or ‘Golddigger’ if you are 17 and dating a 60-year-old man; and a ‘Sugar boy’ if you are 27 dating a 50-year-old woman. The backlash is so strong, it feels out of this world to suggest that such a pair could be bound by genuine love. Somehow we have given ‘age’ more meaning than we should, and we let the number control our existence.
Age, simply, is a number record we keep to remind us of the length of time we have existed. It does not define the reality of who we are or our destiny in life. It should not be this prison it has become, created by our society to deprive us the freedom to do whatever we want or be with whoever we want whenever we want to. If you see yourself happy with someone, do you really think age should be enough justification to re-evaluate what you have or even take a different path? People can wake up any morning and say they are a different age if they want to, and they won’t necessarily suffer any consequences. That is how powerless the number can be. Actually, people have been doing it and getting away with it for ages.
Perhaps she is with an older man because she finds him simple, patient, and easy going, or maybe he is with an older woman because he finds her super brilliant and very caring. Sure, age may affect how physically active we may be with time, but essentially mindset, faith, commitment, and perseverance are the things that actually determine the success of our relationships and life in general. Age is an illusion that does not have any impact until we give it power. We only start limiting ourselves and our happiness when we let age interfere with our mind.
About Nkem Ndem
Nkem Ndem is a dynamic freelance writer and editor who can be reached for content creation(web, T.V, radio), writing and editing (blog, magazine, text), screenwriting, ghostwriting, copy proofreading and reviews. She has had stints with Jumia and SpiceTV Africa e.t.c. Now she works at Glam Africa as Online editor, BellaNaija as Features writer, and ‘Pillow talk with Abbi’ at ClassicFM as Content Creator. Check out her Instagram: @kem_dem, twitter: @ndemv and Snapchat:@ndemv. Email: [email protected]
All Is Not Well With Nigeria — Atiku
Atiku Abubakar, former presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says all is not well with Nigeria.
In his 59th independence anniversary message on Monday, Atiku said the judiciary is under attack while activists and youths are being intimidated.
The former vice-president added that we all have to defend the constitution so that the ideals of Nigeria’s founding fathers have been would not be set aside on the altar of tyranny.
He said: “On October 1, 1960, our nation’s Founding Fathers could never have fathomed that 59 years after birthing the largest black nation on earth, we would be facing a situation where we do not have a free press, our judiciary being under attack, and our youths and activists, who should ordinarily be the future of Nigeria, would be facing the very real threat of arrest and intimidation should they speak out about the state of the nation.
“I could call for prayers, as others would indeed call for today … but I am mindful of the fact that the time for rhetoric has long since passed and now is the time for all lovers of Nigeria to take concrete steps to aid Nigeria’s progress, by not just praying and showing understanding, but also to take democratic action to ensure that the ideals of our founding fathers – Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress – are not set aside on the altar of tyranny.
“All is not well when judges are persecuted for enforcing the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human rights of Nigerian citizens.
“All is not well when Nigeria is now officially the world headquarters for extreme poverty and out-of-school children, yet the cost of maintaining those in government continues to grow, while the needs of the governed are not being met.
“And certainly, all is not well when the media cannot freely express itself without the fear that those who wield the big stick would use it on them for saying things as they are.”
Atiku, however, urged citizens to work for Nigeria’s betterment, and “to insist that no one in Nigeria, no matter how highly placed, shall be bigger than the laws of our land.”
He said Nigeria should be the beacon of hope, democracy and freedom, to not only the African continent but to the black diaspora the world over.
“And to ensure that this becomes the case, we all have a duty to support and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria against all enemies, foreign and domestic. And this we must do, so help us God,” he added.
Scientists Reveal Secrets Of Sex-Changing Fish That Transforms From Female To Male In Just 10 Days
An international collaboration led by New Zealand scientists have revealed, for the first time, the secrets of 500 species of fish that change sex, which remained a mystery for decades.
“We may take it for granted that the sex of an animal is established at birth and doesn’t change.
“However, about 500 species of fish change sex in adulthood, often in response to environmental cues,’’ Geneticist Jenny Graves, one of the co-lead author of the research published in Science Advances said on Thursday.
“How sex can reverse so spectacularly has been a mystery for decades.
“The genes haven’t changed, so it must be the signals that turn them off and on,’’ said Graves who has followed the bluehead wrasse for years.
Bluehead wrasses live in groups, on coral reefs of the Caribbean.
A dominant male, with a blue head, protects a harem of yellow females.
He said if the male is removed, the biggest female becomes male, in just 10 days.
She changes her behaviour in minutes, her colour in hours.
Her ovary becomes a testis and by 10 days it is making sperm, according to the findings.
Using the latest genetic approaches, high-throughput RNA-sequencing and epigenetic analyses, the researchers discovered when and how specific genes are turned off and on in the brain and gonad so that sex change can occur.
The study is important for understanding how genes get turned off and on during development in all animals, including humans, and how the environment can influence this process, researchers said.
“We found that sex change involves a complete genetic rewiring of the gonad,’’ said Erica Todd from the University of Otago, the co-lead author.
Kanu ‘Has Touched The Heart Of God’ – Ooni Of Ife
The monarch, who made this declaration at a reception for Kanu and his entourage at his palace in Ile-Ife, said the two-time African footballer of the year award winner had extended genuine love to many indigent people who otherwise would have died with their heart ailments.
“God is love and anyone who is able to show love to humanity has touched God,” he remarked.
Accepting his appointment as patron of the Kanu Heart Foundation, Ogunwusi said he had followed the pre- and post-retirement lifestyle of the former Arsenal playmaker, saying he had been impressed with Kanu’s resolve to give back to the society.
“That is the purpose of God bestowing wealth to people in order to help the poor,” he said, as he relived some of the magical goals that made the former Super Eagles captain a brand around the world.
Kanu, who commended the monarch’s gesture, said he was also impressed by the warmth that was accorded his visiting team.
“I will always remain grateful for your humility and open mind, Kabiyesi,” Kanu said.
Coordinator of Kanu Heart Foundation, Onyebuchi Abia, said at the reception that the foundation had carried out 562 open heart surgery since inception in 2000.
About 12 troupes of traditional dancers welcomed Kanu and his entourage at the palace, after which they were taken on tour of some historical and traditional sites in the ancient city.
Meanwhile, chairman of Alliance in Motion Global Nigeria Limited, Emmanuel Akpawu, who was part of Kanu’s entourage, said his company has partnered with the KHF to help the less privileged in the society.