today i'm 42 years old. that's right it's my birthday, and i would have said that i'm another year older, except it's not really true. i'm only another day older really. another day wiser? i hope so, but who can tell.
in the culture of my homeland, this is a day of celebration. a day to receive gifts, phonecalls and good wishes. it's a day when i get to be treated as special for a while. i'm a bit too old now for the associated rituals of birthday cakes and candles.
in the culture of the country in which i was born, birthdays used to not be marked in anyway at all. in fact, 20 or 30 years ago, many people didn't know the actual day they were born. they might remember the year, if it was associated with a particularly memorable event. but generally, the day of your birth was not something to be commemorated in any way at all. however, with increasing globalisation and westernisation, that has changed and now birthdays are celebrated with the all the associated rituals.
in terms of my faith community, there are those who think birthdays should definitely not be celebrated. mostly as a form of resistance against said globalisation pressures, a way to remain fiercely independent by refusing to take on customs and practices that are alien or foreign. besides, these sheikhs will say, what is there to celebrate? that you're older, another day closer to your death? hardly anything to be joyful about.
typically, i try to find where i fit between all these different views (the story of my life, really!) one thing i do know is that i wear my age with pride. i hate how women of a certain age - and i'm pretty sure i'm at that age - are supposed to hide how old they are. as if aging is bad thing.
well it is really, in our current culture. young and energetic is in. and hot. women can get away with being older, as long as they're hot. as long as they hide the sags and the wrinkles, and have bouncy, perky breasts. but remember to be coy about your age!
i hate how older women presenters get taken off the news (bring back judy bailey!! and kim hill!!!). i hate, as meryl streep does, how few good parts there are for older women in film. and in television for that matter. i hate how the older you get, the less value you seem to have a person.
OMG, i'm only 42 and already raving about this stuff. just wait til i'm 82, i'll burn holes in your computer with my outrage. but in the meantime, i'm happy to have been on the planet for 42 years. i think i'll just celebrate that.