By John Kabagambe
Joan Collins stated that,
“Age is just a number. Its totally irrelevant unless, ofcourse, you happen to be a bottle of wine”
Well, it seems the words, “age is just a number” were taken quite literally by scores of senior civil servants in Uganda’s public service who have applied to “reduce their age”
Here, we pause abit to let that sink in. Yes, you heard it right. Seniors (I mean some aged civil servants) have even dragged the public service commission to court demanding that their age be reduced!
The reality of age-phobia is quite real. I guess public service commission needs to high a battalion of counsellors to confront this age-phobia disorder that is disturbing over 1000 age-reduction applicants, but before we take leave of that, how does one even go about applying to have their age reduced? Who has the power to reduce your age, if not only God? Are people even thinking about the meaning of the words “reducing age?”
If your age is cut short, isn’t akin to asking God to die untimely or prematurely? So, just because you think age is just a number, you think you can just subtract afew years, divide or pass off using the lowest common multiplier (LCM) or square root of your age rather than your real age! Putting aside the mischief of playing arithmetic with senior age, should the attempt be at “reducing age” or proposing to increase the age limit or remove the age limit for good? Do we not have a precedent of the presidential age limit removal, complete with a constitutional amendment!
Hold up, before you accuse me of being flippant. Man, age-phobia ain’t only afflicting ‘senior citizens’ in our civil service, it’s a clear and present danger akin to an epidemic that has spread to even women in their prime! Guess what, according to the state owned The New vision newspaper of 23rd November 2021, many women are silently terrified of turning 30 years old, to the extent of some of them even battling depression over that, due to unfulfilled goals, society expectations (a job, a husband, starting a family etc) A word of advice, rather than courting anxiety and depression over age, ‘sala pureesa’ or quit pressuring yourself. Your life won’t end when you clock 30 without a husband, a job and a family. So, think again before you jump in bed with some good for nothing riffruff because he wears trousers, just because you are pressuring yourself and giving yourself deadlines over your life.
Back to our civil service ‘seniors’ who are running riot due to that fast approaching retirement age, which to them, looks as frightening as judgement day complete with angels blaring horns heralding the end of time. As George Burns put it;
“You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old”
The point here is that, plan your retirement. There should be life after retirement and outside civil service. You shouldn’t view retirement as if it were a death sentence. Change is a factor of life, and the only thing you can be completely certain about life is just that; change. So, take it in your stride with a positive mindset. Plan ahead for that bankable occupation that you will devote your time and energy to in the twilight of your civil service career.
To the public service commission, the despair and desperation of “age reduction applicants” is quite telling. It’s a symptom of a serious matter that you must urgently address. Train prospective retirees on how they can live sustainable and productive lives after retirement. Get them investment and financial coaches to guide them on prospects out there, get them into financial schemes monitored by trained professionals who can turn retirement schemes into lucrative retirement ventures that can pay regular benefits to retirees.
On the flip side of this age-phobia should be the realization that the children of our ‘seniors’ who have been educated by the financial sacrifices of our seniors currently resisting retirement, need jobs. Perhaps it’s time for the parents and grand parents in civil service to give way to the vibrant young job seekers to have a chance to serve their country, much in the same way the prospective retirees were given the same chance.
Ending on the hilarious words of Mark Twain (one of my favourite authors);
“Age is just an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter”
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