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“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”
At certain times, don’t you just wish that time stood still? It may be while gazing at a rosy sunset, taking a stroll down a desolate beach, watching the starry night sky with a loved one, glimpsing a beautiful rainbow in the monsoon, admiring the gorgeous colors of autumn or standing atop a mountain with the breeze in your hair, looking at the wispy clouds below. These are the moments that take your breath away. Unfortunately for me right now, there is one more that decidedly makes the list - celebrating a birthday (the moment which is literally taking my breath away!). As sad as that sounds, it is regrettably true. After you reach a certain stage in your life, you just start dreading birthdays. Not that I ever had dreams of immortality or anything but with so much to see and experience in one lifetime, time just seems to be whizzing by at breakneck pace.
I remember when I was a child, I would look forward to a birthday with great gusto. I would fervently wait for it, marking the calendar as each day passed by (which seemed like snail’s pace at the time!) and begin to plan all the interesting and fun things I wanted to do on that day. It would always be all about the new dress, the cake, celebration with friends, the presents and one full day of being the center of everyone’s attention. Growing older was actually a pleasant prospect at the time! Ah! how wonderful it would be to get back to that phase of life! Wishful thinking eh?
I recently touched a milestone age (okay I turned 30....there I said it!). I was a bit depressed as the impending day approached. To make matters worse, on that very day, I found a strand of grey while doing my hair which freaked me out all the more. I disabled the birthday notification in all my social network profiles so as to not be reminded of the unpleasant reality and pointlessly hoped that my family and friends would suffer mass amnesia. Tough luck there I must say! Most of my friends and family, gave me a lot of grief with a whole lot of ageing/gandma jokes but the others were kinder and comforted me by reiterating ‘age is just a number’ (yeah right!) and ’30 is the new 20’ (and who said that? someone in their 40's??!). It made me think of an episode on the popular sitcom F.R.I.E.N.D.S which revolved round the subject of birthdays and growing older. But as the day went by, my spirits rose and I felt much better about being where I was. It made me think about my life so far and I realized that I had indeed accomplished a lot of what I had always had in mind. A life of love, happiness, depth, contentment, security, adventure, discovery, spontaneity and companionship is what I desired. I do believe that a little bit of self introspection is a worthwhile undertaking. As we grow older and mature, we learn to appreciate so many things we took for granted when we didn’t know any better. We understand much better what we want from life and more importantly, we get the bigger picture of what our priorities should be.
Although I’m still not crazy about birthdays and don't think I ever will be, I can honestly say that I have made peace with time. Growing older is an undeniable reality which will happen (whether you like it or not) and I have realized that it is something that has to be embraced rather than feared. I know that as I’m growing older, so is everyone around me! That can’t be so bad right?. I have so much more to see and do but I know that I still have many years ahead of me and it is up to no one else but me to live my life to the fullest. I’ve always hated the concept of lighting candles (that correspond to a person’s age) on top of a birthday cake and then blowing them all out. To me, it feels a little depressing as if marking the death of all those precious years on this earth! From now on, what I’m going to do is to make a promise to myself on how I am going to enrich my life as I light a candle for every year that I welcome as an older and wiser individual. I'm looking forward to the next chapter of my life with enthusiasm and hope.
As I sign off, I’d like to share with you one of my favourite quotes on growing older
"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away".~Hilary Cooper