Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Existential Crisis!

Last week the bulk of my week were spent getting quotes for several projects hubby and I still have to complete around our house. Phase II of our renovations is about to start and I am looking forward to it with as much enthusiasm of a prostitute about to catch crabs for the 40th time. Don’t get me wrong, I am looking forward to the end result but having gone through this less than four months ago, the fights with contractors and the mess they make while working are still very fresh and somewhat raw in my memory. As the quotes started rolling in I was shocked not only at the prices but the fact that the warranties and guarantees on services and products reminded me that I am getting old(er). On the precipice of a full blown existential crisis about ageing, I had to make myself stop and ask, is growing older such a dreadful thing?
Presently I am slightly sensitive about the “ageing” thing. You see on Thursday I will be celebrating surviving another trip around the sun. Yes, it’s my birthday and I shall be celebrating my 31st birthday for the 3rd consecutive year. Normally I don’t dread my birthday as I quite enjoy the attention, the gifts, the phone calls and the potential fire hazard of the ever increasing number of candles on my birthday cake. But this year it seems there are constant reminders that I am hurdling towards the wrong side of thirty. In just a few more years I shall be sliding down the slippery slope to 40. Soon I’ll be 40 and middle aged!
Not being an advocate for self-torture, I horribly disappointed myself the last few days as I was doing exactly that. To the great annoyance of my husband, every time we received a quote or made a new purchase I obsessively checked the warranties and guarantees. Then compulsively made my calculations to determine when a certain product would need to be replaced and then, to both our horrors, calculated our estimated ages at that time. “These lamps have a 3 year warranty so I will be 36 and you 37 when they start giving problems. The light bulbs have a 8 year guarantee so they’ll keep until I am 41, the sails have a 15 year non-fade guarantee so that brings us to 48 and 49 respectively when they’d need replacing”. With each agonising calculation the inevitability of father time’s persistent pursuit of pilfering my “youth” became more terrifying.
Before reaching a full blown existential crisis about my mortality, the cruelty of nature and the toll gravity is taking and still will take on my body; I forced myself to take a mental “time out” and stopped my silly pre-mental-breakdown. “So what? I am getting older, so is everybody else! What am I so damn afraid off?” After some self-resentment and allot sulking for being bitchy with myself, I realized I am not afraid of growing old, after all I will be doing so with my husband and we will be gay, grey and crumpled together. So why then am I so emotional about this birthday?
Celebrating my birthday reminds me of all the wonderful years I have had on this lovely planet earth and the many more I hope to still have. I am reminded of all the good times and also those bad times some of which I often rather would want to forget. Sadly, the last few years my birthday also reminded me of all the marvellous people I had in my life and later lost. You see, for many years on my birthday the first phone call I would receive was from my grandmother. This would always happen just before six o’clock in the morning while I would still be fast asleep. I use to find this irritating, but now that it no longer happens I miss it. The second phone call would follow shortly after my granny’s wake-up call and it would be from my mother – her voice now too has faded with so many others and this birthday reminds me of all of them and how exceptional they were and how precious life truly is.
Every couple of years I experience a nostalgic spell brought forth by some minor incident causing me to wonder down a labyrinth of remarkable memories, most of which I will cherish for life. This year the pending and lasting renovation that we have done and are yet to do evoked a sense of fleetingness. We are making permanent and positive changes to our home that will outlast both of us. In the coming years and birthdays I shall see the plants and trees in my garden grow and flourish while watching our home evolve as we mature. More voices will be silenced with whom I would have loved to share more special moments. Old phone calls on my birthday will be replaced with new ones and I will treasure each and every one of them. Old memories will be amassed with new ones, as time and life goes on.
Thursday is my birthday and I will be turning 33. This will be a very special birthday as I have so much to celebrate and be grateful for. In the last few years I have learned many important and also some very entertaining lessons. The most important one being that life is something very complicated, very special, very unpredictable and constantly evolving. We are only here for a brief period of time and we should revel every moment, seek out every joy, love every person and never take it or ourselves too seriously. In a few years I will be forty and middle aged, and that is ok! So here’s to celebrating another successful round-trip around the sun with all I hold dear and for many more journeys to come and loads of more stories to share!
Till next time.

Roseanne Barr And Jackie Beat Make Up Diva


workinghard said...

I remember being your age and wondering was the end near. Now, being my age, I realize how young I really was. My daughter told me when she was 13 that age was just a number. My response to her was "and you don't have enough". Well time changes and sooner or later we all get enough numbers. Choice do we angst about the numbers or enjoy our season.

You writing seems like you are having a frustrating time but also a great time. Life is so fluid I would savor the great and the frustrations will past. Contractors are a pain but take a deep breath and one day your home will be your dream.

Clueless said...

Well, you managed to make me feel old! :-) When I hit 30, I actually was excited, but I somehow my memory slipped as I kept having to use my fingers to figure out my age...it just didn't come naturally anymore. My body also started to make changes and my bedtime became earlier and couldn't recover from a late night as quickly as I used to. However, I married when I was 30...hooray!!

Now, that I will be 45 in a few months. I am really feeling older...it just sounds old. My body has changed quite a bit just due to age and bedtime is even earlier. I too miss my Grandparents calling and friendships that have grown apart...but, like you said I have a new set of people calling.


Pierre said...

workinghard, I agree age is only a number and I am sure accumulating them now. But I must say I am enjoying getting older, gaining more life experience and hopefully also attaining some "wisdom" in the process.

The renovations and the resulting contractors is a pain in the ass, but every time I get frustrated I just tell myself it will all be worth it in the end - one day when it's all done whenever that day will be.

Pierre said...

Clueless, 45 isn't that old, now that I am on the verge of turning 33 LOL! It truly is funny how our priorities and views change as we "grow up". At 23 I thought 33 was really old, now not so much anymore.

At the moment my bedtime has not change much but I must admit the recovering from a late night out did significantly.

The Suburbinate Housewife said...

My major meltdown was at 30! Much to my surprise, 2 years later.. I'm still alive and kicking and haven't gotten decrepid yet! LMAO!
We are all due to go through that before our birthdays, so when the actual date comes.. we can truly enjoy it!
Happy Birthday, and many many more to come!!

Pierre said...

The Suburbinate Housewife, LOL, you are so right and thanks. I plan on enjoying today and it already had a great start thanks to hubby. 33 isn't that bad ;-)

Sprismatic said...

I so enjoyed this piece. I felt your pain and loved the way you talked yourself up again. Maybe ban yourself from working out your age when guantees expire ... ah but it made me smile. I shall read this again when approaching my next thirty-skip-a-few-and-the-rest-add-one birthday, just incase I'm having a wobbly that "Well being another year older is better than the alternative" won't settle.

Pierre said...

Sprismatic, glad you liked it. It's my mission in life to make people smile! The next big birthday is the dreaded 40. I am crinching just thinking about it.

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