Writer: Jadwong Innocent Oketcho
Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. ~ Mark Twain
As I grew up it was always clear, implicitly or explicitly, that age was a sensitive thing for some people. There was an unsaid rule about not asking a lady about or for her age. The assumption and consolation, as if life is physics, was that ladies lied about their age, so have a +/- 5 allowance for whatever answer you got.
I am rebellious as you know, which explains why I challenge every…well, most ideas, traditions, cultures or truths that are presented to me. Or as a friend puts it, my “contempt for society, will be the death of me.” Talk about being a Gen Y. Always asking why? How come? What if? Safe to say, I never believed in the do-not-ask-a-lady-her-age line! Or Oscar Wilde when he said, “One should never trust a woman who tells one her real age. A woman who would tell one that would tell one anything.“
In 2018, I had to challenge yet another issue in my life related to age. Men, having to be, older than their better halves! As if that is a guarantee for a successful and sustainable relationship. I think that when she told me how old she was, it was a tactic to deter me from pursuing her. I give her an A-minus for effort. All of this for me was just evidence that it wasn’t just me who was falling head over heels.
Job writes, “Wisdom belongs to the aged, and understanding to the old.” So, I reached out to people who were ahead of me in life and relationships, especially marriage. Some of the reasons I got were valid but debatable. Some were just plain BS, for me at least. I needed to know that I was being objective about the whole situation. With it being my “first real” relationship and wanting to settle down, I wanted to do everything to make it work. It was us against the world. Like Sarah Reeves, “we went against the odds“, or at least attempted to, and tried to fight for our “greater love“, light up the dark we lived in, after all, “every real friendship is a sort of succession, even a rebellion.” It was “a rebellion of serious thinkers against accepted claptrap.“
For the time we were together, I understood A’s fears and insecurities. Reminding her how we complemented each other. There were things she would and was good at because of where she was in life and the same applied to me. My spirited carefree nature matched by her cautious nature. My hope and certainty matched by her fear of our future.
Though the relationship didn’t work out as I had hoped, in the words of Paul, I am glad it happened. It had to happen. I learnt a lot about myself in the process and believe I am better because of it.
A group of friends recently answered how young, a girl has to be, for her to be considered dating material for me. I won’t lie.
For me, it is not really about the age but the maturity (independent-minded, intellectually challenging, assertive and vulnerable), wisdom and the priceless value of experience in the age. And this goes for both sides of the aisle, men and women. I have met sixteen-year-olds who to me were way more mature than some twenty-eight-year-olds. And vice versa. “Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.” as Chili Davis put it.
P.s to ease your curiosity, the age difference between A and I was only seven years.