Wednesday, 16 July 2008

another day older

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.


Deborah said...

All the best people are 42!

I like being 42. I'm finding it to be a happier space than 41. I have found that being a woman of a certain age makes me far less likely to take any sh... nonsense, and I'm far more secure in my sense of myself.

I hope you have had a happy day, that the year to come is a good year for you, and that there are many, many more good years to come.

hungrymama said...

Excuse me - one is NEVER too old for birthday cake with or without candles.

Have a wonderful day.

Julie said...

I'm looking forward to being 42, it should surely be the year in which I uncover the meaning of my life?

Happy birthday Anjum, I hope you have a lovely day and that someone sneaky makes you a cake :-)

Deborah said...

I'm looking forward to being 42, it should surely be the year in which I uncover the meaning of my life?

Hmm... I haven't noticed that happening yet. Will keep you posted.

Ruth said...

Happy Bday - I'm a couple of years older than you. I used to fret over aging, but got over it. Each stage of your life has its own rewards.

Anna McM said...

I hope you'll be burning angry holes in the computer for years to come - many happy returns!

stargazer said...

thanx everyone for your lovely comments.

one is NEVER too old for birthday cake

ah, but i've moved on to cheesecake. much more decadent, mmmmmmmm.

the year in which I uncover the meaning of my life

i guess if you haven't uncovered it by the time you hit 42, you do at least figure out it's not worth uncovering! confusion is not always a bad thing...

Violet said...

I'm all for birthdays; they are for celebrating that you made it in this world another year.

Ari said...

Wearing your age with pride is definitely a good idea. :) Aging is nothing to be ashamed of- it just means you're more experienced than the rest of us. If birthday celebrations help in that- people should feel free. I can certainly understand the rationale of refusing to perpetuate western/colonial though, too.

Regardless- congratulations on another year, and I hope it was a happy one. :)

I'm looking forward to being 42, it should surely be the year in which I uncover the meaning of my life?

Would it be appropriate to award you 4.2 internets for that observation? :)