When I was a child, although I rarely celebrated with big parties, I always looked forward to my birthday. Since it comes a week after new year’s day, my birthdays were an extension of the holiday cheer. I received extra gifts. I gained that “free pass” to do practically anything my heart desired. Turning a year older got me closer to becoming an adult which made me very happy.
As I grew older, the feeling of joy had slowly been replaced with a rather different mix of emotions. There had been undertones of melancholy and desperation. Birthdays turned into an annual reminder to think about my life decisions and re-evaluate my life, which often led to anxiety and discontent. Gradually, I stopped anticipating my birthday.
This year, as I contemplate about growing up, being an adult and growing old, I am reminded of one of the last movies I was able to see before 2015 ended — The Little Prince.
Grown-ups are certainly very very odd.
I’m not alone in saying that the transition from being a child to becoming an adult heightens one’s desire to gain. It’s a natural response to being exposed and seeing more of the world. Seeing what others have that we don’t makes the craving even more intense. Next thing we know, we’re caught up in a rat race.
Setting goals and working hard to achieve them is actually a good thing, but the danger is in allowing greed to develop within us. Like the businessman in The Little Prince, we count all the stars to own them.
Coming to terms with the truth that there is an end to everything and that life is not peachy all the time is the only way we can be at peace. That things change and nothing is permanent. And the good things that remain constant in our lives, we should be very thankful for.
The stars are beautiful because of a flower that cannot be seen. What makes the the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.
At this point in my life, I want to be more grateful. For the wonderful things that happened in my life. For the times when my hard work paid off. For the people who came into my life and decided to stay. For the people who believe that I deserve the love and the kindness they shower me with. I will not deny that there are still things I want to accomplish (like celebrating Christmas, New Year and my birthday in three different foreign cities), but while I’m dreaming about them, I am okay with what I currently have. It’s not settling, but being content.
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.
As The Little Prince teaches us, though we inevitably age and become adults, we must not forget about being a child. To see the goodness in each person. To have the instinct to care for others. To find simple joys in life. That way we live to become wonderful grown-ups.
Thank you to everyone who remembered and took the time to greet me. You made me feel very special!