Dubai Diaries: When age will stop being just a number

anjana@khaleejtimes.com Filed on July 24, 2021

The worry about ageing at my age now seems a lot to do with looking the age.

Who hasn’t gloated over the ‘age is just a number’ axiom as and when it suits us? I have, at least a few times, spilled ink on my few penny worth of wisdom on ageing or rather not ageing. It is one biological process that we all want to kick into a realm of impossible. It is a dark hole where wrinkles, crow lines and fading memory are cursed to die an abrupt death.

We wish them death even before they are born. When did I start thinking about age or rather ageing? I don’t have a meticulously kept diary to cruise back in time and trace my life. But I remember a few weeks ahead of my 30th birthday, having a conversation with my friend who already had that pitstop. “How did that feel? Do you miss being in your 20s?” She said she cried a bucket full on her 30th. “It came sooner than I wanted. In a few years, I would have been ready,” she said. Her candid confession got me in a flap. Who said I am ready? It felt like my 20s just whizzed past me at breakneck speed.

I worried I will be too old. I worried I am not young enough. I worried I will not grow any younger. I spent a few years in the worry ward before I matured enough to accept 30s and celebrate it is the real deal. Alas, 40s showed up from nowhere. Wait! What! But you know, 40s are the new 30s. The worry about ageing at my age now seems a lot to do with looking the age. Does this outfit look too young for my age? Are these sunglasses teen-like?

The other day my besties and I were hanging out and we were yakking away about how we all want to gracefully glide into the 50s. That is in a few years. This time, I cannot complain that I was not ready. There is no age catching me off guard. It is always hovering around, eavesdropping on me. Giving me warning signs when I wake up with a sprain on my back; When a late night Chinese dinner whirls like a hurricane in my stomach refusing to settle down; When an awfully painful headache lingers on after a late to bed night.

And if I want any reassurance that it is coming, all I have to do is pick up my phone and talk to my mom. I have noticed lately that a chunk of our conversation is her talking and me listening. And when I am talking, she is listening, but not hearing. Since the last few months, she loves to keep me updated about a relative who is currently staying at an old age home.

How her life is now and how different it could have been, her expectations and disappointments, what she eats and what she craves on her plate, who is calling her and who is not calling her – my mom does not miss any details. “Why are you obsessed about this these days? Her monkey. Her circus. Why does that bother you?” I asked her casually letting her know that I really don’t care.

“I care. I am in that age. Perhaps you don’t understand now.” her voice trailed off. When you are in your 70s, I guess age is not just a number.


Anjana Sankar

Anjana Sankar is a UAE-based journalist chasing global stories of conflict, migration and human rights. She has reported from the frontlines of the wars in Yemen and Syria and has extensively written on the refugee crisis in Bangladesh, Iraq and Europe. From interviewing Daesh militants to embedding with the UAE army in Yemen, and covering earthquakes, floods, terrorist attacks and elections, she has come out scathe-free from the most dangerous conflict zones of the world. Riding on over 14 years of experience, Anjana currently is an Assistant Editor with Khaleej Times and leads the reporting team. She often speaks about women empowerment on her Facebook page that has 40,000 plus followers.


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