Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Aging and Another Birthday

birthday Study: Death Visits More Often On Birthdays
Another year; another birthday
I will be turning a year older pretty soon, and have decided to commemorate the event by writing about a few observations I've made over the years. I've never been one to celebrate birthdays (no, I’m not a Jehovah’s Witness) simply because I cannot stand the glaring attention. Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate the well-wishes, however, strange as it may seem, I’m very sensitive to the spotlight which is the reason my birth day on Facebook is hidden. For me, it’s more rewarding to spend my birthday in a contemplative mood, rather than partying and painting the town red.

I still cannot believe I’m almost 30! No, I’m not turning 30 just yet, but I’m inching closer. How did the 80s and 90s move by so quickly? I’m still in shock! What’s even more of a shock to me is selecting my age bracket in forms - it’s moved from 21 – 25 to 26 – 30. Very soon it will be 31 – 35!! Oh gosh, I am getting old! Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful to God for having lived this long on earth; it’s just that I’m in awe of how the years have gone by…so quickly.

There are so many people who would have loved to be 10, 15, 20, or 40 but never made it, and it is disrespectful to both the living and the dead to bemoan living another year on earth. The way I see it, there are more advantages in aging than disadvantages: you’re wiser (mostly); you become more independent; you’re less prone to peer pressure, and you care less about people’s impressions of you; and more importantly (how I can’t wait to be 80) – you lose the ability to self-censor – you can express yourself the way you want and make no apologies for it. And the most beautiful part is that no one will give you any grief for it! In my opinion, except for a few outliers, no one gets to be wiser and more sophisticated without cutting a few teeth and winning a few wrinkles – which is say we should embrace the aging process wholeheartedly.

We tend to die a little death inside whenever we turn a year older because we feel we can’t do certain things after a certain age. The thing is most things in life aren't meant to be rushed, neither are they age-restrictive. Age shouldn't be about how we look, but about how we feel. Moreover, age doesn't prevent anyone from doing anything; our prejudice does. Who’s to say a 90 year old shouldn't run a marathon just because they are 90? If they feel like they’re 40 years old and their feet can lift them up, then who are we to assign a chronological age to them?

As I get older, I've come welcome each birthday as a sign of growth – spiritual, personal, intellectual and physical growth. Each year comes with its own distinct experiences that have made me into the person I am today, so I won’t want to subtract any year from my life as I did as a teenager. 

Aging is a journey of self-discovery and acceptance, and as I get older I’m amazed by how much tolerant I am of people’s views. I've also come to fully accept the fact that I’ll forever be an introvert. After reading Susan Cain’s book on introversion – Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – I embraced my introversion 120%. Prior to reading her book, I knew I was introverted and wasn't bothered by it in the least, but reading it helped me understand myself even much better. Finally, I understood the reason I was (and still am) more expressive in my writing and less so in my speech; I could explain my dislike for small talk, or my reason for shunning the limelight. Reading her book made me feel like part of a much larger community as opposed to being a member of a sub-culture.

Each passing year brings with it its own share of friendships – you add some to your life, maintain some, and let go of some. This is all part of the aging process and there’s nothing wrong with losing old friends or building stronger ties with new ones. Some friendships can last a lifetime if all parties evolve at the same rate, or pursue similar interests and goals, while some last for a brief moment. And however sad or painful it may be to lose a friend, I've learned that these "short" friendships shouldn't be mourned but celebrated. 

I’m of the opinion that every friendship teaches us about who we are, what we can and cannot tolerate, and reveals an undiscovered world we were unaware existed in us until that friend came along. Essentially, I've gained from all my friendships and regret none for they've opened my eyes to many experiences and allowed me to view life through a different pair of eyes.

As I continue on this journey called life, my prayer and wish is that I get to know myself much better, embrace new experiences and friendships, continue challenging myself to be a better human being, remain healthy… and remember to keep fighting fat - they say age has a way of messing up with one’s metabolism.