Time was when birthdays came and went with dreary regularity like the passing of years and the passing of seasons. You marked it by sitting down to eat a cake and moving on; but there comes a time in a person’s life when birthdays come precious and each one is a pleasant surprise. You treat your new age with a reverence that would have been laughable when you were young. There was a time when I couldn’t wait to get older, a time when I would write letters to myself to be opened in five years’ time, eager to find out what the future held in its claws for me. But now, I have not that luxury. Each day becomes as precious as a year for me now.
And so I reach a major point in my life, a landmark year. Tomorrow is an important birthday for me and I ponder, I ponder and reflect. Whither have I wandered in my journey so far, what have I become along the way, what do I see looking back and what does the darkness ahead hold for me. This looking ahead, I do with a certain amount of circumspection unlike the eagerness I showed when I was young. But judging by my past I am hoping for a continuation of peace and contentment in my life.
The contentment comes from the fact that I have left my struggles behind. The searching for a career, the searching for money, the searching for quite literally, food, the daily worries of family, the responsibilities, the struggles at work and at home, the need to placate that consumer dragon we all have within us; all gone! Suddenly like a waft of good wind which carries away the fluff and dust, all that debris that filled the air around me is gone leaving a clear vision, allowing me to reflect on my life so far and on my life right now.
I do not want to sound too presumptuous when I say I am content so far with the way my life has progressed. I have no regrets and I have much to be thankful for and the much of it is my beloved children who I nurtured to the best of my ability. I see it in their eyes, the reward that I seek. That is a far far better thing than that much coveted ‘Oscar’ or the million £s or that mansion or that position of power which for most people is a sign of life fulfillment. I can safely say from my position of wisdom, that it was a foolish waste of time for me to chase those ephemeral things. I am right now in the process of de-cluttering my house and getting rid of lot of the things I once coveted and considered precious. A cupboard full of symbolic ‘Oscars’ would just be more clutter I would have to get rid of. Imagine me carrying a large bag full of those banal Oscar statues to the charity shop!
On balance I like to think I have done more good than harm, I have not walked over bodies to achieve my end, I have followed the old hippy principle of “do not push, do not pull, just go with the flow”. I know this does not tie in with the achievement culture that now predominates. But I have always been lucky in being a low “achiever”. In fact, all in all, I have been very lucky with my life. I have not been put in situations where I had to abandon my principles; life has always provided a cushion for me, whether it be in the form of relatives or friends or kindly other persons.
So tonight, on the eve of my birthday I go to bed with a certain amount of peace and tomorrow my children will probably make a fuss of me and take me out to dinner. Being a father, you are seen to be always in control of situations and my children respect that position. They will arrange my birthday with consideration and I am happy to let go and be pampered for one day in my life.
May the next year of my life be as good as this last year has been and may I wish the same to you all.