It is someone’s birthday today. The fourth of May was cause for celebration of 4 friends and almost every day I get a Facebook reminder of whom to ‘help’ celebrate their day. The overall year of my friendships has October containing the most birthdays and April the least. The more friends I acquire, the more responsibility I feel to share good tidings with as adult life can be cruelly unreflective of the fuss made of you as a child (unless you have particularly thoughtful event planners in your vicinity). This is not a rant about birthdays by the way. Birthdays signify a passing of time, which is what I am particularly keen on exploring.

We are obsessed with age and the process of aging. A recent Microsoft facial recognition application has surged in popularity because of this, with colleagues and friends alike seeking affirmation or feeding insecurities through age estimations. Whilst this is simply a digital ‘oracle’, that harnesses data for free as we test various photographs through its app, it is yet another reminder of how much we want to defy our inevitable decline. Various factors prolong our existence and it is perhaps these details that we tend to focus on (increasingly), as the years go by. We change lifestyles according to doctor’s suggestions, we improve our diets and we exercise more. We use various potions to seal in lipids that preserve plumpness (in the correct areas) and we cover up aesthetic indications (those pesky single grey hairs) to maintain the illusion that we are as young as we look. Aging though (according to the Scientific American) is a necessary trade-off between reproducing and staying in optimum condition. Our chemical make-up must allocate energy to certain activities and as a result, over time, the balance shifts in order to maintain some form of working order. When our cells are over compromised through years of damage, they will, quite simply, die.

Our eternal obsession with aging though has meant that more efforts have been put into the possibilities of preservation, versus actually achieving infinite life (which is not necessarily impossible as we gain some form of immortality though our genes being passed on through reproduction). In the Western civilizations, we are living longer, healthier lives, which is nothing to scoff about. This is a good thing as we have more time on our hands to appreciate our bodies. Typically though, we only tend to come to this realization later in life after we have strained ourselves through work stress, relationship incompatibility or existential crises. Would I even be raising this subject if I were in my twenties? Of course not! I was too preoccupied with self-image and acquiring a decent salary. What has affected me since these more innocent years is simply LIFE. Significant events, a detachment from ego (looking to be part of the world rather than against it) and intellectual stimuli have surfaced more clarity, which I encourage as ultimately this enables us to truly be in the moment.

Death is something we cannot outrun on a treadmill, so rather than try to gain speed; it might be wiser to slow down. Mindfulness and meditative activities have become the sanctity of modern life, as we increasingly maximize schedules and minimize personal time for ourselves or with others. It is no wonder that our bodies are rebuking this methodology, having witnessed younger counterparts suffering breakdowns or physical standstills because they decided against listening to that (hesitant) voice in their heads, to take time off or focus on themselves. I do empathise though, after all, bills need to be paid and families need to be supported but this should never be to the detriment of overall life satisfaction. I have heard a few friends of late that have been hesitant to act upon their core passions through work or play, all based on risk and the fear of being unsuccessful. Understandable arguments but it is this hesitation that perturbs me daily. Carpe diem has been a long-standing motto that I sometimes struggle with, not for my own attitude but for others. Whether it be that person you hold strong feelings for that are never revealed or upheaval in lifestyle (career or location change for example), I am never-endingly perplexed on the procrastination of SO many because time is finite.

Conversations are frequently had that one must be ‘patient’ and things should not be rushed, however this can be applied to the process of learning or when anothers actions may need to be waited upon, however if you can and do have ownership of a situation, what is preventing you in seizing it? I wear a ring that states ‘Demain est un autre jour’ which translates that ‘tomorrow is another day’. This is my reminder, that if fate favours me, tomorrow is another day and if I do not action thoughts or feelings today, I shall do so tomorrow. We all need a mantra that works and I can think of many, however do not put off productivity because of a nonchalant belief that tomorrow will come. The reality is that life is what we do from the moment we wake up, to the moment we return to our pillow. Make it ALL count; your genes will thank you for it.

 

 

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