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*Warning: Naughty language ahead.
It was my flatmate’s birthday today. I asked him how old he is, and he replied: “29. Fuck, I’m so old!”
People say this all the time: Damn it, I’m almost 30, I’m so old.
I keep hearing people say that they don’t celebrate their birthday anymore, because “there is no reason.” They don’t want to celebrate being 40, 50, 60, or whatever age.
I keep hearing people make a secret of their age because they are ashamed to be that old or whatever stupid reason they might have. Just remember that me having a guess would probably make you feel worse, so spill it.
I keep hearing people say that they don’t like their age. So if you don’t like being 36, you don’t like being here for 36 years? Really? Shouldn’t you be hugging trees because of the fact that you are still here for the 36th year in a row? A lot of people didn’t make it this far.
The only reason we as human beings don’t like getting older is that we are afraid. We know that the older we get, the closer we come to the phenomenon called death, slowly realizing that it is in fact imminent.
And by the way, we signed up for this shit the moment we were born, even though we are indeed good at avoiding the fact that we will die one day. But until the day comes, we are still here, we still have the chance to live our lives to the fullest, we can still be happy about who we are in this very moment, we can still spend time with our loved ones. We still have all of these opportunities right in front of us while a lot of people don’t anymore.
So here is to the ones who just turned 29 and think they are old:
I had a friend who died in a car accident at age 19. I’m sure he would have given anything to live at least 10 years longer.
To the ones who say, “When I turn 30, my life is basically over:”
A friend of a friend, who had just started to live his dream as a kayaker, tragically died from drowning during an expedition in Nepal at only 25 years of age. His life is actually over, and he hadn’t even reached 30.
To the ones who say that they don’t want to turn 22, 26, 33, 37, 45, 56, . . . 81:
I have a friend whose brother died at a young age from cancer. He didn’t even reach his 18th birthday. He never had a chance to really get to know himself, his family, or the world. He will never know what it is like to be 22, 26, 33, 37, 45, 56, or 81, because he is not here anymore.
So, you don’t want to turn whatever age you’re turning? What are the options? You’d rather die? I don’t think so. Never ever say this again. Your body hears you very well.
To the ones who try to make a secret of their age because they think 48 isn’t a good one:
My uncle died from cancer just after turning 40, and he knew that he was going to die. But he was there, celebrating that he at least made it to another birthday. So be fucking proud every time you turn one year older. Celebrate it. You don’t have to throw a huge party every year. But be grateful and celebrate it your own way.
To the ones who don’t celebrate their birthday anymore after they reach 50, because they think there is no reason, they are too old, and, “it’s only going down from now on:”
I have two close friends who both lost their dads at the age of 54 and 57. They won’t be here walking their daughters down the aisle when they get married. They won’t be here getting to know their grandchildren. Because they “died too young.” That is what their daughters say. Do not say to your children that you don’t want to get older, or turn 60, or whatever. Even if it might be a joke. It isn’t funny at all.
To the ones who don’t like that they are already 80 or above and see the rest of their life only as a waiting room for death:
Let me put it like this: My grandpa died at 75. And you know what, 75 years is still too damn young, coming from me as his beloved granddaughter. You are very, very lucky when you get older than that. If you are still fit, even more fortunate. I always admire old people. I look up to them and think “Wow, you’ve made it. You’ve made it that far already. You’ve survived all the storms that life brought you, and I bet you have a shit load of beautiful memories and good stories to tell.” Make every year count, even every single day.
Because let’s face it: all of us have a deadline, and we don’t know when it will be. But instead of avoiding this fact, isn’t it finally time to accept it?
Perhaps we say things like that because for some reason it was cool a decade ago. Or maybe we try to cover up our fear of death with some kind of humour. No matter what, getting older leads to—and there is no way around it—death.
But, first of all, it isn’t funny. And it is not even fair to say things like that if you think about all the ones who have lost their lives way too early. If they would listen to us saying things like that, they’d probably turn over in their graves.
Second of all, our brains and our bodies can’t distinguish whether what we tell is the truth or not. So it might affect our health if we keep telling ourselves and others that we are already old at 29, or that we don’t want to turn 30 or 40.
And I’m pretty sure that everyone can make up their own sentences because all of us know people who died too young, unfortunately. So, isn’t it time to be proud of our age? Because being proud of our age means that we are happy to still be here.
Shouldn’t we make the most out of this life that is still ours no matter what our number is? Shouldn’t we change our view and practise acceptance?
The older we are, the better. And please, everyone, for all of those precious souls who have lost their lives way too early, be proud of how old you are. Be proud that you are still here breathing. Celebrate every birthday, because we never know if we will have another chance to, right? Be grateful for every day. Be thankful for every time that you can spend time with your loved ones.
And I know that we are not our age, but in the Western world we put a lot of value into this identity, so we might as well be at peace with it.
The next time someone asks you about your age, tell them with pride that you are __, that you can’t wait to celebrate your __th birthday, and that you are so grateful to be here.
Say it with pure honesty and mean it. I bet you will inspire someone.