It’s the end of the year. For myself, this also means that soon another year of my life will come to a close. In a few weeks, I hope to reach the significant age of twenty-eight years.
It’s the ideal moment for friends and family to tease me with relentless jokes about the increase of my life-span. As though ageing were avertible, and I simply failed in staying young.
Every year, they congratulate me sincerely, but secretly can’t wait to start bullying innocently; ‘Ha, almost thirty, grandpa!’, ‘Say, are those grey hairs?’ But some take it to an earnest level and still expect a sensible answer; ‘So how does it feel to be kind of old?’
As a consequence, the cheerfulness connected to birthdays might now be circumscribed with a rather cheerless edge. Just another year older. A year further away from my highly praised youth.
Fundamental to these rather arbitrary jokes, lies the more serious implication that ageing after roughly the age of twenty-five is equal to downright regression. Although birthdays are genuinely a celebration, they are inasmuch as likely to become shrouded under a layer of sadness. With each consecutive year onwards, the birthday celebration is experienced more and more as a burden. An unwanted formality to be avoided when possible.
Over the years, birthday parties consist majorly out of mocking and teasing the defenceless birthday boy or girl. Adherents sharply point out the unpleasant aspects of ageing, using a dark sense of humour. Which may though, on itself, be quite harmless and even disarming; ‘How’s the retirement home application going?’
But amidst all the comicality, people forget to celebrate something valuable: the survival of another year of existence. Surrounded by true hazards, a life full of realistic dangers, which uninterruptedly threaten our vulnerable and humble human existence. Misfortune is lurking around every corner.
There are plenty of reminders that disaster can strike at will. Frequently, we are confronted with news reports saying that a contagious epidemic had nearly wiped out an entire village. That a merciless tsunami had taken the lives of hundreds or perhaps thousands of people. Or, that an unlucky young fellow died, after a brook fell on his head while cycling. And way too often, news travels to us about the incurable illness of someone we know.
Considering these gritty statistics, I perceive it to be rather miraculous to soon have survived almost three decades on this planet. Twenty-eight years. Many of us weren’t that fortunate.
© Stefan Hoekstra/The Social Writer, 2019. Unauthorized use/and or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full name and clear credit is given to Stefan Hoekstra and The Social Writer with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.