GETTING OLD IN UG: While we were young, we looked forward to growing old but no one ever warned us about the frustrations that come with age. There are characteristics that define a typical Ugandan who is coming of age and much of that is frustration and endless whining.
Growing old is a feeling that becomes truer with every passing day, it becomes evident in your actions and new life preferences. It is manifested in the simplest of things, things such as hating on Subaru drivers. That is a sure sign that you are growing old. Why would a man burning with vibrancy hate on cars that are obsessed with flying? But there is more to growing old.
It could be that growing old comes with more responsibility. One begins to feel the weight of this responsibility on their pockets. They become the new financial analysts of this country. When someone begins calculating the number of beers in terms of potential bags of cement, know for sure that is old age wearing them down.
Old age means that you begin to have a disliking for the ‘expensive’ things in life. You find all reason to speak against fast foods. You cannot stop praising the delicious local food. You keep forwarding cancer awareness messages to friends as a way of driving the point home about fast foods.
Old age is evidenced in one avoiding the trending hangout spots, preferring the Friday night at home or at a kafunda. One will be full of praises for the many insightful conversations at the kafunda aka developmental ideas.
Cost of things
You know you are growing old when you start asking about the cost of an acre. You are filled with energy to establish a farm of sorts. You know the corporate trend of having a ‘weekend farm’? It builds an illusion of meaning in their lives. For many, it is the closest they have come to doing something serious with their life. Two or three years down the road, most of these weekend farms are nowhere to be seen.
When you begin talking about the good old days, be certain old age is upon you. When the musicians of today pale in comparison to the musicians of your times, then old age is talking. Every generation thinks their art and culture is superior to that which follows.
Old age is hidden in one’s inability to take criticism and challenges in a positive way. It is when people insist on having all their titles on business cards. They take it personal when one fails to address them by their titles. We know you have worked hard to earn the titles. But addressing you as professor will not make the world discover a cure for corona virus in an instant. Calling you professor does not diminish the size of your achievements. Anyone who finds titles very important must be over-compensating for their esteem issues.
Because of old age, people find it hard to let other road drivers perform a lane change or even join the road. Old age has beaten them into resisting any form of ‘bullying’. They consider it a crime for one to change lanes. Old age is about driving bumper to bumper, every minute begins to count.
As you get older, you begin to compromise on the ideals of your youth. The man who dreamed of marrying an hour-glass figure with a master’s degree will soon throw all that out of the window. He will now settle for one who can cook and clean. He stops demanding for much.
The lady who saw herself getting married to Idris Elba, finally accepts that even Fresh Daddy can do. If he can show up for the traditional wedding, and the Church ceremony, then she will make the compromise. Age is when one learns that in theory, practice and theory are the same, in practice, they are different.
Old age is learning the fact that we all won’t be billionaires. We all won’t start the next big business. That life may be about force-feeding in the morning, struggling in the grid-locked jam, playing ‘yes’ to your boss, and hoping that you can get a pay rise equivalent to the annual inflation rate. Old age is realising that not all your dreams are valid, some were mere wishes. It is realising all this and choosing to go on with life smiling.
Old age is you searching for simplicity in life. Knowing that even a Corona will do for a car. That living in Kiwatule, Nansana and Matugga does not hurt that much. It is realising that your children will not be going to the Smacks and Gungas of their days, other acronyms can still offer a good education.
When you begin ranting about the electricity usage at home, the water bills, the food waste, the children banging doors, pause a minute, it is not the bills, it is the old age. If you need someone to explain a joke before you get it, again, it is old age.
And not to say that old age is a crime, it is a price we all pay for living on this earth. It is simply to say, when you notice the symptoms of old age, be sure to seek medical attention and peer support from fellow sufferers at the helm of this country. In case, this does not help, you can always check out those in vacation such as Piira Ssematimba for extra support. Surviving old age could be about washing your face 10 times a day, and having your village in Los Angeles.