My ‘Rocking Chair’ Test
You reach a certain age and suddenly, as if a blinding veil has finally been lifted off, you start seeing things more clearly.
Say I am 80 years old, right? Work with me here…I am 80, I have no teeth. A wrinkled face is definitely inevitable – forget what Nivea have been trying to sell to you – the wrinkles are all there! We are talking hearing aids, toothless grin, hunched back and all the tribulations that come with living to an advanced age. I am frail. Throw in a cough for good measure. A persistent dry cough. Hair is all grey. Am I in dreadlocks still? Probably not. That would be weird. I probably shaved them off in my mid 40s? No, make that 50s. Or thereabouts.
I am sitting on a rocking chair, outside on the porch. I am surrounded by green vegetation. Remember my True North post? In the bush? Yeah. That kind of setting is what I’m looking at. I now reside in the cold green farms in the Valley. I rock my chair back…forth….back…forth….
Chances are, I am reading a book – oh, wait my eyesight must be giving me grief. I can only read with glasses now? My eyes tear up when I expose them to books? Sema book allergy! One never forgets how to read though, do they? Maybe reading at that age is too farfetched? I don’t know…I have never really thought about this. Fine, scratch the reading; I am listening to music then? The oldies maybe? I wonder whose music will qualify as oldies at the time; Rihanna’s? Chris Brown’s? Beyonce’s? Bieber’s? Or we could pick a song and artist more believable like… ‘Incredible’ by Celine Dion? Now there’s a song to listen to in your old age!
As I nod my head to this beautiful song (grandma nodding her head, really Renee?) my mind wanders. It goes back to my heydays. Back to when I was young and vibrant. When I had the world, my life and a myriad of choices ahead of me. I think of the choices I made. The path I chose that led me right here, where I am now, co-existing with the evergreen tea plantations. The sacrifices I made, the mistakes I made. My successes and my challenges. This reverie takes me back to the beginning while Celine and Ne-Yo inspire me to ask myself “Was I incredible?” Was I?
Being who I am, I want to believe that I strayed off the beaten path. Oh yes, I definitely did! It’s the only way I could have remained true to myself.
One memory that will sure make me proud is if somewhere along the line, as I navigated through this life of mine I managed to pursue my passion. I will be glad to remember a day when I woke up and searching my soul, I asked myself; Woman, what maketh thou happy? and went ahead to do exactly that instead of giving myself a pep talk every morning that went very much like “This job pays the bills. Writing won’t put food on the table…blablablabla” I sure hope that somewhere along the way, I grabbed the bull by the horns on this one. I must have taken that leap of faith at some point. I surely must have!
I know for sure that the best memories will be those of spending time with my family especially during annual celebrations like birthdays, Christmas, Easter and the likes. Precious moments will include the moment when I came home after a hard day’s work. The affectionate hugs and kisses I got from Hailey and Heidi, the sheer excitement, shrieks of joy and laughter that my arrival elicited from them which always left me at the verge of tears. The love. My goodness, the sheer, complete, unconditional and heartwarming LOVE! There is nothing quite like it I tell ya. Nothing!
I won’t forget the simple pleasures that we indulged in like baking, where Hailey helped with adding the milk into a bowl of flour, while Heidi put in the sugar. We stirred the ingredients in a bowl and together we watched the cake rise in the oven and marvelled at the work of our hands as it turned golden in colour. I will remember the day we stuffed our faces with Cinnamon cake and after a generous serving for the girls, we watched as Heidi’s body started to swell; face, legs, hands.
I won’t forget how I panicked and rushed her to hospital and how we, on that fateful day, stumbled on the discovery that Heidi is in fact allergic to Cinnamon! Though ok after medication, the swelling took some time to go down and Hailey took every opportunity to poke fun at her sister’s ‘fatness’ – “Mum, Heidi ni mfat!” she would exclaim from time to time before going into a feat of laughter. This memory will make me nostalgic to no end.
The biggest contentment while rocking that chair will come from being a mother to my children in every sense of the word. Should I succeed in making my voice permanently instilled in their heads, having it ingrained so deep that the world will have a tough time leading them astray, I will bear a huge toothless smile on that chair.
Part of that smile will be from the joy of publishing my books, one (or a few – a girl can dream!) of which will earn me an award. MUST earn me an award. My heart will swell with pride at the thought of having influenced society on various issues affecting women.
I might carry some regrets on that chair. I might regret not saying ‘No’ enough times. I might very well regret not getting another child. Tic….toc, I hear that biological clock ticking away.
Who knows what the future holds? I choose to bless my path with my words anyway. I hope that when I eventually sit on that chair years, many years, from now, memories of my life will leave me with a toothless grin stretching from ear to ear.
I will henceforth wake up every morning with the intention of remedying the foreseeable regrets and making the dreams come true. Whatever the outcome, I want the 80 year-old me, to describe her life using one word: INCREDIBLE!