In life, every phase deserves a celebration. It has always been about communication between body, mind, and soul, from the baby steps to the pain in the back after playing squash, and then getting up from a chair. Young at heart, falling apart as the years go by.
The lines around the eyes and the lips are symbols of a life of joy, experiences, love, strength, and all the obstacles to a better future. Working, studying, being good, and being responsible are heavy hurdles to chasing the purpose of becoming a good example to the family and society. Not that I haven’t made mistakes; I have made both big and small ones.
I am celebrating life, my life, because wonderful things happened to me despite a childhood of poverty and being constantly reminded by working parents that the only way out of impoverishment was to study. Perhaps, lately, things have changed a bit with social media, but study and knowledge will never be obsolete.
As part of my determination to look at life as a fabulous gift, I also have the motivation to avoid being a grumpy person. Why complain about health issues, retirement, the cost of living, or the government? These only make one bitter, and nothing will change except a faster health deterioration.
However, three situations deserve examination to gain a deeper understanding of what life is about. The first is a visit to a hospital. It is when we can appreciate that nothing is more important than having good health. In my teenage years, I went to play with long-term hospitalised teen girls. Later, I went to a hospital for visually impaired people to read to young indigenous Amazonians.
The second is to visit a prison, where we can learn that one of the most precious things in life is freedom. I visited youngsters spending time behind bars for being involved in crimes. The third examination is to visit a cemetery, which I have visited a few times. It is a place in which we can learn that we are equal; the ground we walk over today will be our roof tomorrow.
There are also lessons from some of the saddest sights I have ever seen: homeless young and old, men and women living in inhumane, squalid conditions as a consequence of drug or alcohol addiction. No dignity or emotion. People, if we can call them that, would commit hideous crimes to satisfy their dependence. The profitable money-making business of drug, human, and alcohol exploitation of people’s vulnerabilities is becoming a global reality.
So, I look in the mirror and see a nice-looking, cheerful face and a healthy body and mind. I will look again in the mirror tomorrow and the day after tomorrow until I am permitted to do so. We can be superheroes, but in fact, we are just a candle in the wind.
Even my wrinkles look beautiful in the mirror. The lines tell me that I have the responsibility to keep my body operational, my mind sharp, and my heart capable of loving all things. These days, when social media is setting beauty standards, looking younger or prettier is almost a must, but it comes at a high cost. One of the famous quotes of the Roman emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius says,” how easily we love ourselves above all others, yet we put more stock in the opinions of others than in our own estimation of self”.
Within this celebratory mood, it helps to understand that everything has its time. The sunrise and sunset, the low and high tides, all follow nature, and so do we. The best part is that we can pen it down and, in this particular case, share it with you, the person reading this. Despite the laughter lines, I will keep smiling.