"The Golden Lion"

"The Golden Lion"
The "Golden Lion" ("Gouden Leeuw") on the IJ at Amsterdam, 1686

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Norwegian Independence Day

Are birthdays becoming obsolete?

Of course, all the good wishes I received on May 17th (my birthday) from family and friends and acquaintances both near and far made my day. It was touching to realize so many people cared to think of me …. on “my” day.

Nevertheless, when your birthday roles around, congratulations are in order: you have been metaphysically doused with a cold bucket of water.

The older you get, the more you realize you’re approaching your “scary age.” Your “scary age” is the age in which you feel you have arrived, i.e. you are no longer a “youth” (a term which, ostensibly, must and is defined differently by each and every individual). You no longer have the benefit of feeling your life is ahead of you, but you still aren’t more at the end of the line rather than in the middle.

You suddenly feel more in tune with your own mortality. You start to feel more than ever that this life is definitely temporary. And it goes quickly. Very quickly.

Word of advice: You better start getting in all those things you wanted to do sooner rather than later.

You notice facial features which weren’t there before. You have to work out more frequently to maintain your “32” waist. It’s more difficult to stay up as late as you used to. The average age of the clientele at your typical Happy Hour is younger than you are, and you can’t help but wonder you are now at that certain point in time you thought you’d never be at … ever, because time would continue to stand still. It wasn’t moving. Things were happening all around your so-called life, but since your life was levitating or hovering more than it appeared to be moving forward, you took no notice of it.

From this day forward, welcome to the age of introspection!

The dictionary currently offers the following definitions for “age.”

Age: Noun. 1225–75; (n.) ME < AF, OF aage, eage, equiv. to aé (< L aetātem acc. of ae(vi)tās age; aev(um) time, lifetime + -itās -ity) + -age -age; (v.) ME agen, deriv. of the noun.

1) a period of human life, measured by years from birth, usually marked by a certain stage or degree of mental or physical development and involving legal responsibility and capacity.

2) the length of time during which a being or thing has existed; length of life or existence to the time spoken of or referred to.

And my personal favorite:

3) the particular period of life at which a person becomes naturally or conventionally qualified or disqualified for anything.

Translation? You’ve arrived at that period in life where:

1) you are conventionally qualified to dole out advice to those who care to listen (I don’t tell anyone who doesn’t listen to me how things are going to turn out for them, mainly because, well, they don’t listen);
2) you are naturally qualified to sit on the sidelines rather than participate fully;
3) you are more often than not disqualified from being carded (the ultimate insult).

What’s the message here? The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.
– C.S. Lewis

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