Birthdays and Self Discovery!

Yesterday was the day, I entered this world 40 years ago, on June 17, 1979 sometime around mid-day. When I’ve asked my mother, what exact time I was born, she doesn’t seem to know, except that it was after 12pm….and yes, no wonder I’m not a morning person. I would like to reflect today, on turning 40 and the expectations centered around birthday celebrations of “significant ages”.

How did I feel yesterday? I felt the usual self. I woke up around 6:15am, did my 20-minute yoga while my cat, Venus watched me (she’s the equivalent of Adriene’s dog Benji, for those who don’t know, Adriene is the yoga teacher on “Yoga with Adriene” – see https://yogawithadriene.com/. I then proceeded to make my bed and prepare morning breakfast which consisted of oats, with sunflower seeds, dates, almonds, chia seeds, banana and papaya.

When arriving at work, it was unusually quiet as most of the staff where I work (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Regional Office for the Pacific), are away on missions. Instead of the usual gifts with birthday cards that I used to receive maybe 10 years ago, I received many messages on my Facebook timeline. It amazes me, to witness the shift in communication, having grown up without internet and mobile phones, to now receive instant social media messages. I do love this easy connection with people from around the globe. However, I do miss and value the traditional methods of connecting by calling someone using a telephone (yes, a telephone!). I love to hear the sound of the person’s voice. Speaking of communication via audio means, my Facebook friend, Alexander John, who lives in Sydney, sent me a Facebook audio clip. This consisted of a lovely and short message wishing me a nice dinner out with my friends last night and complimenting me on my current spiritual path. His message really stood out as listening to his voice, showed me a level of intimacy, that is missing from the general social media messages being sent every day via messenger or Instagram.

I am from the generation that did not grow up with internet, i.e. Generation Y. According to http://socialmarketing.org/archives/generations-xy-z-and-the-others/ : Gen Y kids are known as incredibly sophisticated, technology wise, immune to most traditional marketing and sales pitches…as they not only grew up with it all, they’ve seen it all and been exposed to it all since early childhood. Gen Y members are much more racially and ethnically diverse and they are much more segmented as an audience aided by the rapid expansion in Cable TV channels, satellite radio, the Internet, e-zines, etc.

Having the best of both worlds, growing up during the 80s where I rode tricycles, falling off during cycling, then grazing my knees (blood included) and playing funny games like pani, which in Fiji is an outdoor game, consisting of throwing a tennis ball at a pile of old tin cans with my Sri Lankan childhood neighbors at the University of the South Pacific (USP), then witnessing the invention of the desktop computer in the 1990s, I can now appreciate the value of technology though I still love hand written post cards and receiving letters and birthday cards in snail mail.

Turning 40 is a new start for me. It’s the perfect time and age to re-invent myself, to reflect on where I’ve come from to where I’m now moving to. And, instead of following social conventions of throwing a party, I chose to spend my 40th re-connecting with old school friends over cups of green tea, catching up on the last 15 years of our lives. How time flies when you’re on a journey of self-discovery!

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