Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Another year older

I turned 36 last Sunday. Rob asked me if I was happy. I could only shrug my shoulders and give a wry smile.

I find it really weird that I always feel melancholic during and around the days that lead to my birthday. It has been this way ever since I was about 10. I have been trying to dig deep down to find out what could have caused me to feel so depressed in the hope that I could acknowledge and get over it. Was it events during my childhood? Is it the anxiety over getting old? Funny thing is, no matter how hard I try, I can't seem to shake it off.

It bugs me because I want to be joyful, I want to FEEL it. It bugs me even more that I have to force myself to perk up because I want to share the joy of my family. But I don't really feel it. Believe me I've been trying. Calling Dr. Phil?...

Could it be a fact of life that birthday celebrations are just really meant for kids? One where you are excited to receive presents, have people genuinely sing the Birthday Song? Feel the magic of it all. Could it be as one gets older, it should no longer be a celebration? A countdown maybe?

No. I refuse to think of it that way. I want to think and believe that it is a celebration of ones milestones. How far you have come. How much you have contributed to making this world a better place. Maybe that's just it. I don't feel like I have done much yet. I don't feel completely fulfilled. Maybe I equate it too much with money. Maybe my idea of a celebration is something I have not been able to do yet. Perhaps I am expecting too much? Expecting something magical to happen. Maybe I'll always be a kid at heart.

Even if I feel so somber, I am definitely thankful. Thankful for another year. Thankful that I can still celebrate it with my family. That I am still here, and that there are people that love me enough to actually celebrate. I really don't know what it would take for my feelings to change. I just hope I can figure it out soon, because I really don't want next year to be just another birthday...maybe I can try a different approach next time. We'll see...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Generation Gap

With all the cold and snowstorms happening above us in China, we have been fortunate that the cold air from up there blows down to us here in Manila. It's been nice and cool lately...the perfect weather for colds and flu. There's this bug circulating in the house. I caught it first, now Alexa has it. Good thing I was able to take some precautionary measures and was able to avoid a full blown cold, cough and flu. What bums me is that I missed Jason's Combo Dance class at my gym this week. It's something I look forward to every week (aside from Sunday basketball).

Anyway, Mom and Aunt Jean flew in from Zambo. We had breakfast this morning and as usual indulged in their usual pastime...talking about other people. It was funny that as I sat there listening and exchanging views about marriage, parenting and everything else, I could not help but notice that no matter how hard we try to bridge it, there will always be a gap that generations just cannot reconcile. It's not that its a bad thing. I guess it's just that each person is comfortable with their own time and experiences that anything different would seem outrageous and extraordinary.

Is it that as we reach a certain age, we stop trying, or refuse, to learn about new things and experiences? We limit ourselves to that which are familiar and 'safe'.

As I listened to my Mom and Aunt react with horror at youth behavior today, I could sense within myself the feeling that, at least with them at this point, the old will stay with the old. I wondered if I will also feel the same about Lex and Rocco once they become teenagers. I mean, I would like to think that right now, I am making a conscious effort to know what is happening out there so that I will be able to understand and deal with it once it starts hitting closer to home. It's a fervent hope.

If I were to compare today to "my generation" a couple of decades ago, there has been so much change...how much more with my Mom's generation? But if I really think about it...it is just evolution. Everything was and is still connected. During my time, technology was just on the verge of bursting out. We didn't have mobile phones or computers, or the internet. But I wouldn't say it was less happy times than it is today(except that we were much younger and didn't have to worry about work and bills, etc.). I kinda liked the idea that we looked forward to going out to play with friends, hours of endless conversation on the telephone, Saturday morning cartoons, etc.

Today, at least for Lex, it's texting or chatting, watching MTV and going to Starbucks (go figure). But I know that in a few months, she will want to start going out with friends, and then--parties. I know eventually I won't be able to stop her. But with all the vices that are becoming increasingly socially acceptable, the only thing I can do is equip her with the knowledge that will allow her to judge and decide for herself. I'm pretty sure I'll still raise the roof now and then, but I guess it's only normal because I care for her. I still hope with determination that I don't cut myself off from the evolving world. This is now the world my kids are in. I can't reject it. I have to somehow find a place for myself in it so that I can still stay close to them and not be relegated to wallpaper. It may be a daunting task, but I have to try. For their sake...and mine.