29 Candles

Anne Hambuda

As I write this, I am 29 years and two weeks old.

I spent my birthday having dinner with my parents at their house. The three of us talked and shared, and they wished me well for the year to come. It was a lovely occasion and honestly one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had.

To have reached this age is such a blessing, and it is not lost on me that many others do not get to commemorate this milestone.

It doesn’t feel like I’ve been around that long (I still feel like a newborn baby) but I can’t help but notice just how many lessons I’ve picked up along the way.

I have always believed in living life to the fullest and chasing your dreams without fear. I’ve tried not to hold back or to change who I am to placate others. This hasn’t always worked out and I’ve made mistakes and I’ve had regrets of course, but I’ve also seen and done some spectacular things that I would not trade for anything. I’ve accepted that life is not a straight line at all, and I’ve come to a couple of conclusions about how things work and where I fit in.

Firstly, the big thing that has been ringing in my head for about the last year is that my mother was right about most things. I know when we are young, we hate to admit that adults actually might know better than us.

I guess we are all doomed to only realise how true that is when we get older, but I really should’ve listened to her a lot more.

She was right about school and the value of education, she was right about keeping the right friends, she was right when she said parties would always be there, and she is right every time she tells me to drink more water.

Because truthfully, no matter how much I gulp down, I know I’m just not getting enough hydration. But it also took me being nearly 30 to finally figure out how to make sure I get enough glasses a day.

I really should listen to her more.

Other things my mother always tries to get me to do is exercise, wake up early and enjoy cleaning.

This first I do easily because I do not have a car, so I’m forced to walk everywhere every day. I usually track my steps on my phone and I think if I keep going the way I am, I will be a relatively healthy-ish pensioner some day.

Waking up early comes naturally to me now. Not too long ago I had some sleep issues and I would find myself being awake for more than 24 hours at a time.

I wasn’t out clubbing or watching the sunrise or anything cool like that, I just found it difficult to put my phone or laptop down and close my eyes. It was great for my productivity, but terrible for nearly everything else.

Gone are the days of sleeping into the afternoon. I’m quite proud to say I’m usually asleep by 22h00 and up by 07h00, though it varies.

Sometimes I’m up before the sun to get work done, and I must say that is the next frontier. The next goal I want to accomplish is joining the 05h00 club. Although, if it doesn’t turn me into a millionaire CEO, I’ll be pissed.

With regard to developing an appreciation for cleaning, I’m not too sure I’ll ever be able to make my mother proud.

I recently spent a few weeks living with her and I cleaned the house and cooked dinner the majority of the time.

As a child, you would have to beat me into being such a diligent person, but now I didn’t mind at all.

I think it just comes with understanding my mother a lot more. Either way, as soon as I moved back to my own place, I saw myself slipping into old habits.

I found myself looking up the number of the lady that cleans my flat sometimes, I saw myself avoiding using the kitchen so I wouldn’t have to clean it later, and I saw a mountain of clothes growing on the chair meant for sitting.

The thing is though, my mother didn’t spend years lecturing me about life for her sake. She did it because she wanted me to be prepared for the world I would go into on my own.

I’m not a complete hopeless case, but as I inch closer to being 30, I can’t help but ponder on all the ways I made my own life difficult by learning certain lessons or developing habits when it was too late.

At 29, I want to tell 19-year-old me to listen more, but I can’t do that. There is no time machine to take me backwards. So the next best thing I can do is try moving forward.

I can try to do and be better.

– Anne Hambuda is a writer, social commentator and poet. Follow her online or email her annehambuda@gmail.com for more.

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News