What I would've said at my soiree, budget permitting

08 April 2019 - 09:07
By Thabiso Mahlape
Image: iStock

Tomorrow is one of my favourite days of the year, my birthday. I turn 35. I know many people for whom birthdays are just a day on the calendar, but for me it's an event.

Growing up, my dad made a fanfare of all our birthdays. We always had our parties. And this is a tradition I have carried with me, except this year adulting has hit me hard and there's no money for a soiree, and so because I don't get to make a speech at a party, I'm going to reflect here.

First, where the hell did time go? I swear I was 25 just the other day. Sometimes I look at my child as she calls me mama and wonder when all of this happened.

I don't have nearly half the things I thought I would have by this age. I started my schooling very early and had everything gone the way I had initially thought, I'd be on my third property now. But things didn't go as per my vision and expectations. My life has been a series of so many plot twists that even I have struggled to keep up sometimes.

My father asks me all the time why I don't go to church. I have never really given him an answer but it's because I don't believe in the structures and systems that make up churches. What I do believe in, though, is divinity.

I believe, with everything that I am, that there is a higher power than all of us. And this is one of the things I know for sure at my big age. With the life I have had, something must have been keeping it all together and it wasn't me.

I used to be a friendship junkie, I was addicted to having legions of friends around me. I outperformed myself when it came to keeping friends. But now, because of the immense work I have had to do on myself, I know what parts of me I was desperate to fill.

When I stopped doing friendship gymnastics, the friendships that needed to fall off did so; some were painful and others were easy. I have gone from having a large group of friends to a handful. And the strength and maturity of age says this is fine. This is one of the biggest things I choose to take from my life.

Hard work doesn't always pay off. I am learning not to fall apart when it doesn't and try instead to be grateful for all the times that things came easily to me. And plenty of things have been so easy I am tempted to believe in magic. I remind myself daily to be grateful for everything.

Life truly is what happens when you are busy making other plans. In my line of work, we try to plan meticulously for a book release. Yet all it takes to send every bit of planning off the rails is an author falling sick or being struck by tragedy.

Plans are cute and they are great if they work out, but life has taught me not to hold on too tightly to a future I can't guarantee. Life demands that we stay rooted firmly in each moment.

The things I have learnt about men and sex are a whole new column in a publication my father doesn't read.

I have never been so excited about being older. Excited to see what the next 35 years have in store for me and you will know because I will write about it.