Tuesday, 12 January 2016

BIRTHDAY THOUGHTS SLASH BLUES



I mentioned my age to my mother. In disbelief, she asks, "are you?" I think my mother and I just slightly can't handle the truth: we're both getting older.


On my mother's part, the disbelief probably stems from the fact that when she was my age, one of her 'social' activities involved attending meetings of the Parents-Teachers Association (PTA) in the girls' school where I went as a 14-year-old highschool student. Her brood includes my two younger sisters. She co-owned a mortgage-free four-bedroom two-reception two-storey house with her husband of 15 years (my father, by the way) which they had built on a land they purchased, has already left a nursing career to tend to her rascals, has started several businesses and witnessed them fold up, and was happy to bake in the kitchen and cook for everyone's gathering or be invited to do so as her culinary skills are renowned in her small town and within her group of friends. 


My life, at the same age as she was at the time, is absolutely not parallel to and so far removed from hers. I have accidentally taken a different route that perhaps only my open-minded friends, or those who are in the same boat would care to understand. 



Me at 9 months


Then it hits me. It's not about me getting another year older, but about my mother adding up another to her accumulated 60+ years. That for every year that I am living away from her, I am missing out on time we can spend together now in her younger years, if she ever makes it as a septuagenarian or even an octogenarian. In reverse, as a young woman in her 30s, she thought about missing out on mine and my sisters' growing up years while she and my father worked abroad. That fuelled her desire to go back to the Philippines where she became a full-time mother.


Distance and physical separation are recurring themes in my family's life that probably have hardened me up a bit, quickly bouncing back and moving on when life whacks me with vicissitudes of fortune.


Then I think of my father, whose 10th death anniversary will be remembered this year. I'm more than old enough now to have those conversations I wouldn't dare have with him when I was a lot younger. I'm ready for those late-night talks when I would challenge his views on religion, politics, current events, and his professional field of Medicine. I'm now confident to ask him the questions that I've been pondering all my life, to which the answers I would only love to hear from him and not from anyone else. If I get offended or upset, I promise I will no longer storm off and sulk. I would even be the first one to break the silence and apologise.



For every year I celebrate my birthday, I think about my loved ones who have not even made it to the new year. The loved ones who've always made my birthdays special. Then I think about life, and how vulnerable it is, how we can be here now, then maybe gone the next day. Then I am thankful for another day. For another year to fulfil what needs fulfilling.


And that's what we're here for. That's why I'm celebrating another birthday.


It's another year to go and see my mother. Another one to see family and friends that I've been promising to see. Another chance to try again on older goals that haven't come to fruition yet, and work on new ones--the really important ones that I've been putting off as they're too important to me that I'm so scared to fail in them. It's another year to contribute to a life that I hope to give me the least regrets in the future. Another birthday is an additional number to which we attach restrictions and expectations. There are some age restrictions difficult to lift, and then there are some social expectations we personally can't get past. I'm making peace with the ones I have confronted. I celebrate that.


Happy birthday to me!









2 comments:

  1. Happiest of birthdays to you my dear...I hope you have a wonderful time. Many blessings to you xx

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  2. This really made me think! I'm one who dreads getting older, one of the reasons being that social expectation (I'm in my mid 30s with no husband, boyfriend or children by choice); I don't celebrate my birthday but will accept the cards from friends and family if they remember - I certainly don't remind them. However reading this puts a different perspective on it, I should be reflecting on and celebrating the fact that I am fortunate to be alive, to see another year in my healthy body. I hope you had a lovely birthday my dear and connected with your loved ones - here's to another year!! xx

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