Adeboro

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Pressure

Our child is 1 and he has not started walking yet. 

At the crèche, his class teacher keeps recommending various growth boosts and whatnots.

We want to say that we scoff at her as we lovingly carry our baby home,

But in both our computer histories, there’s articles upon articles of research on what we can do to help our baby. 

***

I am 10 years old and I do not yet know my times table. 

All the numbers just roll off the tongues of my classmates like they were born multiplying numbers

I want to say that I clap for my classmates and I don’t feel ashamed when I use my fingers to count

But I cry every day when I get home. And Saturdays and Sundays are my best days because I don’t have to multiply anything. 

***

I am 15 and I haven’t yet seen my period.

According to the books, they say I shouldn’t be worried; some don’t see theirs till 20? But all my friends are already bleeding. 

I want to sincerely sympathise with them when they have menstrual cramps and understand when they borrow my cardigan to tie around their waists. 

But I have deep envy for them and I never want to hear of any of their redventures. I worry I might not be woman enough. 

***

I am 20 and my CV would give the desert some comfort. 

All my friends have gained experiences above their ages and have worked for several companies.

I want to shoki with them when they are called for yet another interview and believe in my bead-making business. 

But I am frustrated at the pace of my growth and I worry that I will turn out to be a liability to my friends. 

***

I am 28 and I am not yet married. 

Most of my friends are married and they seem so happy. I know their marriages are not perfect but they largely have moments of joy. 

I want to join them to plan couples’ boat cruises and truthfully congratulate them on the new milestones they achieve with their spouses.

But I’m too preoccupied with thinking about how very lonely I might be for the rest of my life. 

***

I am 34 and my husband and I do not have a child. 

All the women around me are either pregnant or saddled with multiple children. 

I want to be happy for them when they tell me long stories of their children and how proud they are of them

But my mind can only picture my ticking clock and aging body. 

***

I am 60 and I don’t want to retire just yet. 

All my friends somehow managed to plan such grand retirements that they probably make more money in their retirement than when they did in employment. 

I want to be happy for them and pray for more strength to their bodies

But I can only think about what my meager savings will do for my family when I retire. Who wants to employ an old man? 

***

I am 90 and I am worried. 

Most of my friends are dead and they no longer have to worry. 

I want to be happy for their transition and bliss

But I stay up all night every night thinking, ‘Did I really live the best life I could have? Is this God giving me a second chance to make something right?

••••

Pressure is real.

Although we don’t ask for it, it does not come to us except we let it. 

It is like a low rumbling tummy ache, creeping in till it erupts within us. 

If we have ever experienced any of the above scenarios, we would know that the things we worry about, though may seem mighty in that moment, are very little and unimportant things in hindsight.

Let us then focus all of our energies, not on the things which are not right, but on the things which are. 

Afterall, we cannot add an extra eyelash to our eyes by worrying. 

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