Wednesday, June 29, 2011

AGE IS JUST A NUMBER, IS IT?

Numbers affect us at different levels. If we look at the numbers in prices of commodities, high digits make us scratch our heads because of probable budget constrain. If we anticipate the result of a health test, high digits recorded as measured in the standard or normal rate would definitely make us worried; that's because a healthy lifestyle is needed to remedy health hazards. And when we speak of numbers in our age, we sometimes tend to either feel blessed because another year has passed or a bit worried that as they say, getting old just makes us closer to our end. Nevertheless, numbers affects us in different ways.

Last Saturday, I had the chance to play around with a myriad of people who care less about getting old. I was invited to attend Ms. Joanne's Birthday bash. Topped with scrumptious home-made Filipino cuisine and loads of chances to showcase one's talent over the magic sing, I was appalled to write an entry on the irrelevance of digits as we age. Is it that irrelevant or are just in denial that we're getting old?

There is something special on how Filipinos celebrate adult birthday parties. Apart from the delightful dishes on the tables which radiate an appetizing stance and the presence of Karaokeing, the cake of an adult celebrant does not have the number-figured candle. While the candle does not only stands for the culmination after the loud and jolly singing of Happy Birthday, and the candle also represents the age of the celebrant, in adult celebrations, the absence of the number candle adds to the excitement of the party. Such absence of a candle brings in a stretch of questions on, how old does really the celebrant. A mystery that sometimes does not need some cracking.

Age is just a number. I totally agree. Just two weeks ago, I turned 29. Yes, I am 29 years old. As most of my friends asked me, so how does it feel to turn 29? I answered them: "Really, there's not much difference on turning 26, 27 or 28." However as I came to reflect on my age, age is not just a number. It's actually more than a number that we carry in 365s days and which we change after.

Age kicks us and most of the time, slaps up in haunting reality. Some factors that would probably make you feel your age is as follows: your experience, your investments, bills to pay, having a kid, getting the signs of aging, and how your body clock reacts on past activities that you usually do. While I can say now that there's no difference on turning 29 as compared to turning 26. Still, a movement of digits which is mostly referred to calendars exudes a shift. As some joke, turning 29 or 30 or 31 is unique experience because your age soon goes off the chart. 

Age is just a number. However, in reality, our body changes as we age. For girls, hitting 27 above on a single status could be alarming especially on the aspect of having a family. Some doctors advise that ages of 26 until 30 are the best ages to conceive and have a healthy boy. On one hand, for boys, there's just the magic of taking the bachelor's lane which attracts most young girls. This is the reason why some boys, as long as their package works for them morning til night, prefer not to settle down at an early age and opt to go on living a single life. Whether you are a girl or boy, a lady or a man, or whatever you brand yourself, age punches a reality.

In a birthday celebration, it is atypical for guests to ask how old is the celebrant. Well, it depends on the context and the sensitivity to the celebrant's character. There's just sensitivity on throwing that "How old are you" question. That's because sometimes, there's a misreading on the intention of the guest by the celebrant. A celebrant may be offended if he/she's too sensitive or probably would just get off the question if he/she feels comfortable with an addition to one's age. Bottom line, whatever could be the impact of questions, a guest would rather play safe and simply party to not ruin the celebrant's mood.

From the above imagery, it seems that we doesn't care much about our age. Interestingly, we care. It affects us. It runs in our mind.

Yes, we care much on our age. With what we see on magazines, our stellar culture, and the great pressure on looking young and belo-like, we find ways on battling our age. The most particular example is on how we invest on our physical being. We don't want to see those bulging bellies. We want to have six pack abs that sometimes border on androgynous images. We get rid of those sagging skins and even wrinkles through the wonders of science. And with high level of vanity, we defy our age with eating right and exercising or religiously going to the gym. For whatever the price we pay, high or higher, there's just too much concentration on developing a sense of uniqueness and freshness on being young which conceals the real age.

There is nothing wrong with beautifying or improving oneself to defy one's age. However, what's alarming is to  deny the reality of getting old. And in today's era that defines age based on one's capacity to use and manipulate social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter or whatever, plus the pressure on changing profile pictures that appeal best to generating more online friends or being branded as hot and young, factors like these somehow psyche users to the illusion of a never ending quest or in a human social understanding, eternal youth. 

Indeed, age is just a number. However, on our quest in this ball game called life, age may be arbitrary, but we give meaning to our age. And on that quest, motivations brings sets the parameters and standards. When you were young, birthdays are fun to celebrate because you know that you're gonna get that big toy car or that posh Barbie Doll in a nearby shop. Moreover, you were excited to blow your cartoon character themed cake as everyone cheered a happy birthday song. The moment was perfect as you stepped up and enjoyed your day with other kids. But as you age, there's still the cake, the people and the party. However, but what changes is the realization that you are getting closer to getting old and (oddly) death. Realizing that there's an end on this world somehow makes you  motivate yourself to live and enjoy each moment. As the saying goes, live each day to the fullest.

On a bright side, an addition of another year in one's age is a blessing. Indeed, another year has passed and challenges have been toppled down. This varies to people who are recognized by the digits they live by. For a kid, to play on summer time is what they aspire the most as they grew. For a teen, they look forward to relationships, experimentation, and graduation in highschool. For a college student, there's an aspiration to work. For a young professional, an ambition for career growth topped with getting into serious relationship gets in. For married couples, it's a wish to have kids and employ better education for a child's future. For retirees, there's just too much on enjoying a work-free life as relative to seeing one's children and the growing grandchildren explore the world. In this context, age serves a tracker as well of where we are at our life stage.

Indeed, age is just a number. However, life stages give meaning to these numbers. That at specific age, new challenges unfolds and prospects blossom. 

Age is not just a number. It is a number that we adore and hide. It is a constant reminder of how are we leading our life. It is not simply digits that we put on filling up application form or something that we celebrate on birthdays. It is a reality that somehow lets us reflect on the beauty and eccentricity of life.

THE BIRTHDAY BASH PICTURES! Thanks to Ms. Joanne and Sir Egay for the Invitation. I am wearing that pink polkadots polo t-shirt.

Group Picture with UP Friends!

Ma'am Betsy, videokeing!

With the FAB girls!

With the Birthday Celebrant, Ms. Joanne and my gift, a canister!

Ready to blow the cake!

Ms. Lea and Sir Joey!

Singing a song!

Don't I just love that "KOREAN" hand sign?

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