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When it’s wise to look the other way!

By Bunmi Sofola

RONKE is nobody’s wife. She has never been married and     doesn’t want to get married. She always insists that she is not a wife material. She has her hands in several businesses including ordering items on her label abroad to be sold here in the country. She lives next door to a young couple and her two kids eventually brought the two families together.

“Actually, her kids are a little bit older than mine,” explained Jemilat who is Ronke’s neighbour.“But they are cute and well behaved. Ronke is a caring mother and her children never want for anything. Naturally, my kids like the company of Ronke’s children because they have a lot of fun in their house. My husband and I aren’t so lucky, wealth-wise.

“Anyway, as soon as I saw some of the things Ronke had to sell, I approached her that I would be interested in taking a few items to my office to see if I could get buyers and made some pin money. She said she did mostly wholesale but agreed to give me bits and pieces. You will be amazed at the type of money people have to buy silly things. Expensive plates, coolers, and mugs were snapped up cash down when I took them to the office.

“I was making good money, more than my salary and happy with it. Last year my first child was ten and we had a party for her – we could now afford to Ronke was her generous self and gave her a big expensive cake. I was really happy during the party. I went to the kitchen to get a few things and Taju my husband and Ronke were conversing in the corridor. Taju playfully tweaked her nipple through her dress and she laughed mischievously. I was shocked.

“I left the kitchen without taking the things I went in there to take; I was still in shock. They never even noticed me and my first reaction was to challenge her but an inner voice called me to order when I saw the wonders in my daughter’s eyes as she looked at her cake. Then, I quickly reminded myself of all the good things we have enjoyed from Ronke. So what if my husband was screwing her? It was little price to pay for all the good things she has done for us. She is a successful woman and nearing fifty. My husband is not even forty yet. Marriage for both of them is just out of the question. He is so randy anyway that he needs another woman to satisfy him. He’s had a lot of casual flings, why not this one that should  benefit all the family?

Why 60 is the new 40

LIFE coach and author Butwell is appalled by the way anyone over 55 is considered over the hill. According to her: “As soon as I turned 50, I started getting junk mail about warden controlled accommodation. I was stunned and offered. I don’t think 60 is what it used to be. Most of my friends are the same age as I am and none of them plans to slow down any time soon. But not every one has caught on to the fact that 60 is the new 40. Recently a book came out on how to use the internet aimed at the over 50s that really made my blood boil. I don’t know of anyone my age who doesn’t use the internet a lot. Then there’s the way TV soaps only show old people as being set in their ways.”

In reality, people are always likely to seek new experiences when they reach retirement age. Retirement is probably the first time in life when you don’t have anything mapped out for you. You’re free to do whatever you want. But younger people think it’s all about money. Pensioners are either seen as poverty stricken because they can’t get by on their savings and pensions, or filthy rich and spending all their money on travelling.

“You don’t hear much about the in-between, which is the reality for most people. For many, the worst part of being over 60 is being treated as if they’re dim. I find that I’m being talked down to, especially by pharmacists. They talk to you as if you’re 12. They have to ask you if you’re over ’60 so that they know if you’re entitled to a free prescription. And if you’re over 60, they start explaining how to take the medicine very loudly and in great detail as if you’re completely stupid.”

So why do we seem to find it so difficult to stop treating pensioners as old fogies who don’t count any more? One reason could be that we’re afraid of getting old ourselves. The reason age discrimination is not going anyway is that we all know we’re going to get old and we’re scared. We don’t want to know about it. Because we’re scared, we pigeonhole older people and tend to think that they’re not so valuable. It’s foolish because if we embraced and celebrated old age, by the time we became old ourselves, age discrimination would be gone. For more of Janet Butwell’s view, visit her website


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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.