It’s New Year’s Eve, which means bringing-in-the-new-year activities. It also means, it’s my birthday…my 30th birthday. And while I feel, on the whole, rather unaccomplished at this age, I am so very grateful to be alive to celebrate yet another year on this twirling ball of cosmic dust.
I am lucky. I’m alive and I’m happy. Food, shelter, friends, a job; I have it made. And I feel pop culture often forgets or ignores that growing older is wonderful. But my heart doesn’t belong to celebrities I could never pick out of a People’s magazine. I’m captivated by books. And authors, more than contributors to other media outlets, seem to understand.
In The Hunger Games, Collins’s protagonist, Katniss, is taken from her poor District 12 to the Capitol where she experiences culture shock. Katniss explains:
They do surgery in the Capitol, to make people appear younger and thinner. In District 12, looking old is something of an achievement since so many people die early. You see an elder person, you want to congratulate them on their longevity, ask the secret of survival. A plump person is envied because they aren’t scraping by like the majority of us. But here it is different. Wrinkles aren’t desirable. A round belly isn’t a sign of success.
And finally, in the book A Veil of Roses by Laura Fitzgerald, Tamila comes from Iran to visit her sister in the US. She hopes to find a man to marry (although falling in love would be ideal) so she won’t have to go back to her home country. I don’t remember much about the book, aside from crying a bit while reading it. But one thing I can’t forget is the main character’s obsession with laugh lines. In Iran, her sister’s face was smooth. In the US, it has become lined from laughter. Tamila wants love, freedom, and laugh lines.
I look in the mirror and smile. Little lines crinkle around my eyes. There have been many moments to smile and laugh about in my life.
Thirty years. I’m not old, per say, but it’s new. And the sound of the age feels funny in my mouth. Thirty. I’m thirty. And when so many people are denied the chance to make it this far, I’m so very appreciative.
So, Happy 2014, world. May your year been lined with laughter.