My thirtieth birthday/ Edith Ohaja
  My thirtieth birthday is round the corner. So I was brutally reminded this morning by my thoughtless younger brother, Fred. He posted on my Facebook timeline, "As you are about to mark this milestone, (your 30th birthday), my wife and I send early felicitations". While I was fuming about that, he posted more: 
      08:02 a.m.  My elder sis is growing older and wiser. Love you loads.
      08:45 a.m.  THIRTY YEARS is not thirty days. #respect 
      09: 52 a.m. Tomorrow, we shall have a blast. You're only 30 once.  
By then, I'd had it and unfriended him without delay. What right had he to announce my age repeatedly on social media? Like he had nothing better to do. Like he was commissioned to ruin my day and trigger this melacholic attack I am suffering right now. 
      I've warned Fred repeatedly about his morbid habit of announcing that I'm his older sister at every opportunity. Why does a man who is married with kids feel the need to introduce a single girl that way? And why this attempt to rub in the fact that my years are piling up? He was obviously opening me up to ridicule. For example, one of his friends commented on the last post above, "She needs to, cos after dat, evrythn goz downhill". I imagine there will be some other snarky remarks following each of those posts. I'd best be deleting the lot as soon as I can. 
      And I'm placing a moratorium on every social media interaction. It's just too depressing for now. People are graduating from school, getting married, having kids, travelling and what can I report? My business is stagnant, I have no money to further my studies, no bae (hate the sound of "boo"), no fancy ride, no posh crib, nothing to display. "Count your blessings ...", the popular song rings in my mind. "Pleeease!", I counter. I'm just too upset to attend to any client today, so I shut my office and go home for a pity party. 
      As I undress, I look with disgust at the cellulite on my thighs. I lift my arms and hiss at my close-to-flabby upper arms. I stand before the mirror, turn around and shake my head. I really must hurry and snag myself a man before I develop chicken wings and a massive behind. "Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done", plays in my heart. "Abegi!* Count my blessings, right? What do you think I've been doing? Stagnant business, no money, no bae ... my blessings are conspicuous by their absence",  I respond to it.
      The song refuses to let up and it's messing up my routine. My pity parties usually start with bawling my eyes out the moment I get home. After which, I stuff myself with comfort food. I guess I can skip the lachrymal phase today and move straight to the food. You can't have a decent party without serious food involvement. I go to survey what's in the fridge. "Count your blessings, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done". Really! Now, I'm angry and slam the fridge shut. "Since you won't let me eat, I'm not just going to count them orally, I'll write them down - that is, if there's anything to count".
      My phone rings as I rummage in the handbag I came in with for a notebook and a pen. I find both and take them to sit on my bed as the phone rings again. It's my parents - the cutest couple on the planet if you ask me. Super healthy and active in church, very caring (dad's a teacher, mum's a nurse), with a sense of humour to beat AY, Basketmouth and Clint the Drunk put together. Money's tight at home but they laugh through their hardships. "No stress and no sweat" is their motto. 
      They always call me when I'm in the dumps. The timing never ceases to amaze me. Must be divine inspiration. They normally put the phone on speaker so they can both converse with me. One of today's hilarious tales by Dad was about how he nearly got killed recently by a machete-wielding husband when he went to settle a marital dispute and ran so much he was in the next village before he had the presence of mind to stop. I told him to quit exaggerating. My mum teased that she had no idea he loved his life that much. They usually leave me with "Jesus loves you, dear", after I nearly break my sides with laughter. And of course, "Praise God, our King is coming soon!".
      By the time the call is over, I feel so good and I'm still laughing, picturing my dad running for his dear life and not looking back. I look at the notebook beside me on the bed and feel very foolish. Count my blessings! How could I have forgotten that my parents, in fact, my entire family including my loquacious younger brother, are such a delight? Some people have no family, some families are torn by strife, some are far from God. I am blessed in having a family like this. I kneel down and ask God to forgive my constant indulgence of moodiness and comparing myself with others, rather than appropriating His perspective in assessing my life.
      When I get up, I continue to count my blessings.  On a personal level, I have a lot to thank God for. I have no physical or mental deformity and I've always had excellent health, not even malaria and typhoid fever attacks as most people here are prone to. I may not be super-model thin but I'm sort of pretty, some even call me beautiful. I can tone my body if I eat right and exercise, not a big deal. Even if after trying, I still remain plus-size, I'm sure there'd be someone out there who will be willing to love me. 
      I have a good first degree and I started an event planning business by myself. Location, location, location, experts say, is key to running a successful business. I need to move to a city where things are constantly happening rather than stay in this obscure town. And I should be more aggressive in publicising my business: nothing wrong with exploiting the social media. 
      I have a singing talent too. I am one of the solos in my church choir. I need to groom myself in that area and see where that leads. I have a functional car, no temptation to robbers, though, which is therefore a merit. I live in an efficiency apartment. Won't qualify for MTV Base's My Crib but it meets my needs now. I can go on and on. Wow! I feel a lot better and look at all those ideas on how to make my life better that came as I recounted my personal blessings. 
      My anxiety about my age as you have noticed is because I'm still single. I have casual male friends and suitors I detest, like the insurance salesman who wears the same suit and tie everyday under the blazing sun. I guess I feel my time is running out. But will isolating myself get me the bae I long for? (Make that husband, I have no patience for romantic relationships that are not heading straight to the altar.) Is it even wise to hang all my hopes of happiness on having one? The right guy will find me in "due season", as they say in church. In the meantime, I should be grateful for what I have. The song has won after all!  I should count my blessings often and believe God for what's missing. And what better way to do that than celebrate my thirtieth? I still shudder at the thought. Thirty, THREE ZERO ... where did all the years go? But I choose to  be brave and call Fred to see how we can have that blasttomorrow
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Ⓒ  Edith Ugochi Ohaja  2015 (Facebook: /edithugochi.ohaja  Twitter: @EdithOhaja)
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"Abegi" is pidgin for "please" with a sneer attached.