This is just a quick insight into a little event that happens regularly among people.
Not so long ago, I attended a family wedding. There were many people that I had not seen for many years, in fact some 30 years or more. In passing it is quite something that you meet old acquaintances only at weddings or funerals. Normal, you might say and it happens all the time.
When you arrive and see all these faces and everyone is impeccably dressed for the circumstances, you wonder where you stand and who are all these people. Most of us in our late 60’s and 70’s. Even family members seem so distant and you try to put a name or recollect who they are now. Or rather who they were then. I stand for a while a little lost trying to figure out this face or that. But nothing comes to mind and names are so far away in your memory that all the searching does not bring anything back. Dozens of people are in the same predicament as I am, that is sure. Finding a name or a face or some vague memory of where did I see them last. What do they look like now? Yes, what are they now that is what matters after all.
After re acquainting yourself with faces of so long ago I hear this sentence frequently: ” Gee you have not changed at all”. Really, I asked myself, if that were the case why is that I do not recall any of you…but that was an internal remark. Do I play the game and say ;” wow! neither did you” You look exactly the same, you have not changed at all. That would be really telling a fib I say to myself. So I reply;” I don’t think so, surely I am not the same as I was 30 odd years ago…I have more wrinkles, my hair is whiter, I wear glasses I exclaim laughing.” The other replies:’ yes, it has been quite a while and what have you been up to”. Internally, I muse and say to myself, where do I start? So, I say:” it depends where you want me to start from”? Cheeky, unnerving, puzzling, disrupting the nice flow of the meeting. So what, I don’t really care in the end. Totally unsociable.
To this, the other person is a little at a loss. A few seconds of silence ensues. Both feeling the awkwardness of the situation. Why is this? Simple when you think of it. Had I answer to the other person who was fat, slumped and white haired: “Gee, you too, you look amazingly the same” which of course that what they wanted to hear also. We would have been both comforted in the notion that we had not aged, we were both the same spring chickens we were 30 or 40 years ago. We would have both felt elated at this and reassured. So, the original statement that I had not changed was futile and a conformity that we apply in social settings. In my views this is really dishonest because we are not facing to the fact that we are getting old and all the psychological and physical problems that old age may bring. Especially at a wedding, where the couple are in their late 20’s or early 30’s. We feel left out, the good old times are gone and so is our youth and glamour and at times our social status with it.
How many times have you found yourself in that same situation? How many times have looked at the exchange with friends and people were you are obliged to reply in a flattering manner to suit you and be nice to the other, just to comply to the social etiquette. I am not against social etiquette but I am always intrigued at what is BEHIND our simple exchanges.
Why do we have to ignore the fact that we are ageing? . These polite exchanges are trying to ignore the facts of life. Well, I feel quite confortable where I am and do not wish to play this silly game. It breeds a false sense of security. After all we are mortal, our life has a definite curb, so I’d rather be well in my skin NOW and stop pretending that I am the same as in my 30’s. How hard is it to accept this? It could be, if you are regretting what you were. Why regret? Is there something that we are not accepting now?. That something that we refuse to look at is our mortality. A famous Indian philosopher Krisnamurti, said: “Die now, then you would be able to see and may comprehend what is immortality.”
Maybe the subject for another little writing.
Till next time.