Everyone gets older. It’s one of the most unequivocal facts in life. Time goes by. You change; physically and mentally. And every year there is that one special day that marks another year of your life gone by. When you’re younger your birthday is the most exciting day of the year and you look forward to it months in advance, counting down the days until you can wake up and say you’re a whole year older than you were when you went to bed. But as soon as you hit a certain age it all changes and it becomes a whole new different story.
Despite what many people may think the age at which birthdays go from being an eagerly anticipated event to being a dreaded day of mourning is not 30. It varies from person to person. There are those who will go wild, partying the night away and joyfully blow out their 85 candles and there are those who will mope around, moodily ignoring the fact that they have reached the age of 16.
According to the 2010 Bupa Health Pulse, a 12-country survey by the British health care company Bupa, women around the world seem to worry about aging more than men do. But is this really true? It certainly isn’t the case with the men in my family. Today is my father’s birthday and he has turned 42. That wouldn’t be a problem if it wasn’t that he has been turning 42 for the past few years. He is always turning 42 and seems to be struggling to get past that age. He used to claim 25 but that no longer works as his shiny jet-black hair with its betraying grey roots says otherwise. This is a characteristic shared by my maternal grandfather who is always turning 76, leading me to the conclusion that men are just as scared of growing old as women are.
As for me, I see ageing as a part of life that can not be avoided and must be accepted but can be mourned over and celebrated at the same time. As I reach another milestone in my relatively short life (this Wednesday),I am grieving over another year gone by that can never be relived and also celebrating the beginning of a new chapter that will hopefully contain more action, mystery and romance than the previous. And if all fails and I still feel down in the dumps, then I remember that I am one year closer to retirement.