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50 Years Of Living

Updated: May 27

I was 50 a couple of days ago -  Wednesday, May 8.


It was beautiful and loudly quiet. There were no gilded invitations, no bright lights, no loud 90s disco music, just reverberations of love in the air.


I choked up on the many beautiful messages from family and friends.  My husband, who I have known since I was a naïve 16-year-old, huskily repeated his all-time bedroom rap in the presence of my family “If I hadn’t married you, I would have been a single Kofi Apeagyei”. Weak at the knees, “I have learnt what life’s about by loving you through the years” , the  lyrics of “Kenny Rogers‘ 80’s hit single “Through the Years”, mushing  my mind.


My AB & David family literally drenched me with love. From the royal welcome when I stepped into the office, to the balloons, to the confetti, to the food, to the hugs, the kisses to the warmth, to the “I love yous”, to the “Thank yous”. And  to  the  very special gifts - a glass jar filled with 50 singular messages written by my  colleagues on what they love about me, and a hard copy compilation of all my blogs resting in a barbie pink box, with a reminder that, it has been 363 days since my last blog post. Share in the moment https://bit.ly/IBat50.


So today I write in celebration of 50 years of living.


For the last couple of months, I had been trying to find my own voice amidst the sea of excitable voices on what turning 50 should mean for a boogie down, for my undulating hormones and for my joints. Nodding to all the well-meaning effusions of love whilst my mind played hide and seek, consumed by my deepening crow feet, no longer tip-toeing, but boldly settling in, the creaking sound in my knees and the ebbing away of youth. But the pain of loss will jolt me and slap this superficial “nonsense” out of my mouth, and I will taste the sweetness of being and living.  I am excited to be alive. Happy to have lived “my life” with all its highs, lows and cliff hanger moments.  


Life is a precious gift we all chorus, but it often takes great loss for this truth to be seared in our minds.


I lost two dear ones this year, my brother in-law, Chief, and my good friend, Nana Serwah. They were amazing people. People who loved life and gave off themselves and their heart generously. It didn’t seem fair. My coping mechanism – “God knows best”, “God, gives and God takes away”- a momentary panacea for the pain, but yet still, a lingering aftertaste of hopelessness.


Then my husband leaned in to encourage me not to see death as it is -  morbid, but to see  his death and my death as the philosophy to truly living. That utterly agitated me and only made my pain fester. It was too agonising to accept the obvious - we die because we lived. But somehow in this journey of healing, I have learnt that indeed to “embrace” death is to embrace life. And now, I am thinking of all the things I would love to do differently if all I had was one shot.


Just pause and think about it. If you didn’t have the luxury of a “do over”, what would you do differently ? Would you still be too proud to say I am sorry, too sore to say I forgive you? too hesitant to say I love you? too intimidated and afraid to take that bold step?  Would you break the heart of the one you love?


Here is to life’s lessons from 50 years of living, I won’t be quick to forget.


~Speak life - it can bring down the walls of Jericho~_


A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit” ( Proverbs 15:4 ). We have all seen and experienced the power of words. Words are life. It can break the spirit literally, or it can liberate and  empower.


Sometimes, our words are caustic enough  in themselves,  and then  we inflame  them  with  our tone, our shrugged shoulders, our raised eyebrows, our stoic look, our pursed lips. We are too wrapped up in the rightness of our emotions, so we ignore the slumped shoulders, the resignation, the combat ready trigger that our words invoke. Speaking life is not about patronizing, it’s not about condoning mediocrity, deflecting accountability or feigned diplomacy. It’s about making a choice to hear and speak a little more empathetically than we would want to.  


Yes, indeed, sometimes the tirade is so well deserved, but am learning that no one is worth denying the world of the lifting of your tongue.  The words  you speak  chisel you beautifully or  reveal  a contorted sculpture.


Let me  tell you about my special relationship with Matthew. Matthew is the security man at AB & David. You can't help being charmed by Matthew’s inflated cheeks adorned with the imprint of a traditionalist’s knife, the endless smile coursing through the gap in his incisors, and the firefly in his eyes. Matthew is the only person with inexhaustible faith that one day, just maybe, I will be able to tuck my car tyres neatly within those two white lanes on the AB & David car park.

 

It’s another morning and Matthew’s face is glistening from the sweat of the scorching morning sun. He watches me intently. Willing me  to do it this time. I meander my way between those stark white lines, I feel compelled to get it right, not because I particularly care but because his optimism won't allow me to do anything less.

 

Finally, my two front tyres are sitting like elf ears looking away from each other; Matthew continues to smile, "Madam, today small and you would be in the line!” Do I feel patronized. No! On the contrary, I feel energized by his simple faith in me, albeit to do the mundane. Imagine the world of difference to your own spirit, your child, your partner, your colleague, your supervisor, your subordinate, your student,  the waitress,  because you chose to speak life in that moment.


~ Your Perspective Alone Doesn’t Make the Tapestry ~


Sometimes, I look back in amusement at the things that used to frustrate me as a younger married woman. I was so consumed with the need to be heard that out of wifely rebellion, I failed to listen myself. I wanted my husband to see my perspective, to understand me, to agree with me. Basically, I wanted to be the reflection in his mirror. But what a 21-year marriage and 34-year-old relationship has taught me is that it’s great to have shared values with your partner, but it’s the different perspectives, ideas and opinions that really complete you. So don’t be so immersed in your own emotions that you can’t hear and comprehend.


Truthfully, I am still work in progress. That 30-something old woman is still very much alive. But I tell you, it’s phenomenally liberating if you are able to make that mind shift even just a little bit. We may just discover  the amazing partners in our lives  if we begin to  loosen the bridle on  our emotions and our perspectives just a little.


~ I wish I could promise differently, but pain is a certainty. ~


Pain! It will come. When it  touches you  don’t waste it. The pain of death, of betrayal, of ingratitude , of being misjudged, misunderstood, the pain of being cast aside and ignored…... Understand that there is a purpose for that pain. Don’t let it bury you, let it grow you. Be better because of that pain, be bolder, be kinder , hit the gym, change your fashion style, be that side of you that has always been dying to erupt.  And, if you are the pain bearer, like all of us have been one time or another in our lives, don’t be emboldened by your own mistakes - let it transform you.


~ Living Fully~


In my 20s, 50 seemed like centuries away. But like I always say, a hundred years in another hundred years will be but a moment. There is still a chasm between who I am and my God destined purpose. So, the possibilities are endless and that holds excitement for the years ahead. Thankfully, I already have a 50-year lift in the game.


I keep thinking that  If we lived life like we had only one shot even 50% of the time, we could condense the next 10 years in 5 super enriched years. And if we really pushed, then maybe in cat-like manner, we could live  9 lives in one lifetime.


~ My Birthday Wish For Me~


On my  50th, I pray for God’s wisdom to live fully the years that God will grant me on this earth, to love deeply, to listen and to hear , to lift with my words, to blossom into a cross breed of “Tina” and myself,  and to leave the best part of me on the stage, as the credits roll.

 

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7 則留言


Auntie Nana, you amaze me with your writing and I admire you.......to write and express yourself with such Frankness! Its inspirational Yes! Truly 'Frank' and honest. I have always admired you, even when you were just a shy, naive young girl and now transitioned to such a phenomenal woman. You are just too cool and I want to be like you if I come back to this world. Congratulations!

Please write more

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If only you would write more Isabel - many more of us will have a good chance at being touched by your God inspired words and become better people, and we will make our world a better place. Isn't that what life is all about? Thanks for writing and please keep writing......

按讚

Wow what a write up. Couldn't put down my phone once I started. Perhaps you could consider getting to write novels or features.

Happy birthday Isabel. Wishing you Godspeed and divine health.


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Rachel Dankyi
Rachel Dankyi
5月25日

Love this! My favorite part being “Speaking life is not about patronizing, it’s not about condoning mediocrity, deflecting accountability or feigned diplomacy. It’s about making a choice to hear and speak a little more empathetically than we would want to.” Thank you, IB, for sharing.

按讚

You are exceptional and your self reflection is beyond measure. May God grant you more wisdom as you age gracefully and thanks for always being an inspiration. Best wishes 😘

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