I turned 33 today. Nothing special, just 3 and a bit decades of being alive on this earth, I don't feel the need to have a celebration for it as much as I did in my twenties, so my family usually keep it lowkey... Probably out of fear of being told birthdays are Mother Nature's way of reminding us that we are indeed a year closer to our death.
This year is a little special though, as we have our trip in the summer to Poland that we are preparing ourselves for - Both financially and emotionally. Ever since we decided to make the trip to the Auschwitz-Birkeneau Camp Memorial with our children, I've tried to incorporate daily lessons or engage them in conversation with regards to what happened. One of the activities we do is, a day in history during the period of WW2. Today's daily history find (thanks to google) was a little confronting for both my school age girls and I. Today 74 years ago (6th of March, 1943) the arrival of a transport carrying 665 Jews (183 men and 482 women) from Berlin was noted in the records of Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp. After the "selection" undergone by the transport, only 153 men and 65 women were accepted in the camp as prisoners and given their numbers, the remaining 447 people (30 men and 417 women) were killed shortly after in the gas chambers in the Birkenau camp. It was a reality check for me in the sense, it put my worrying about menial things at home into perspective - in that they were exactly as I described them to be - menial and not so life-consuming as I make them out to be.
These daily history finds for our WW2 history lessons about the Holocaust is hard going for all of us, as it is exposing the privileged lifestyle that I have become accustomed to and therefore making me take life for granted. It's making me appreciate the little things in life and also allowing me to no longer feel the need to confine myself to the ambits of existing within the walls that society deems I must. It's giving me the freedom to express my thoughts and ask hard questions about how we treat others and how that reflects on our own shortcomings and unfounded fears. It's allowing me to ensure that my children are being raised to not have the benchmark of achievement as only that of academic success but also to have empathy for the plight of those less fortunate, those who are facing discrimination and those who do not have the privilege of having a voice to speak out and against the mistreatment they may be facing. If they can grow up to be adults who can relate and help those who need help, then my work as a parent has been a success and I can enjoy whatever old age I may be blessed with knowing that I birthed some decent human beings after all.
33 is a perfect number for me, as will 34 and 35 and so on. One glaringly obvious lesson I've learnt from our home education lessons is that, ageing is a privilege that not many are privy to and I must embrace it passionately. My 30s so far has been a decade of enlightenment. I now take pleasure in telling people to fuck off out of my life if I feel they are not contributing to my growing and becoming a better version of me. My circle of friends has also become smaller, my culling methods for people I actively make the effort to spend time with is determined by how they fit into the dynamics of being not only my friend but also that my familys'. If I feel that they would not be a person I would be comfortable having a conversation with infront of my children then they are most probably not meant to be on my journey and that's ok because we each have gained all that we can from each other and it's just time to let go. Coming from a cultural background where friendships and family ties are all so intricately interwoven and the line that separates the two is most often than not always blurred, I was constantly made to feel guilty about letting go of someone when the relationship became toxic. Because of this insane tendency I have to be some kind of "friend messiah" and save relationships along the way, I began to resent the idea of being in the company of others and would prefer being a recluse and doing things on my own. It began to seep into my own relationship with my children, not to mention my spouse and if I am being really honest here, made me a real asshole cow to live with. Although looking back on those years, I've come to acknowledge also that there were deeper issues that hadn't been resolved that were surfacing and in turn were bringing out that behaviour. Finding my voice and being able to articulate those issues, especially to my husband, really brought about clarity and that I am forever grateful to him for.
33 feels like a beginning of a journey of peace and healing for me. For those who know me and those who claim to know my story (I see you assholes), the healing has indeed been a long time coming. My feelings as of late has been one of self-love, and it's not the selfish vain type of love, but more the replenishing of my own soul love so that I can be a better wife; a better mom; a better daughter; a better sister; a better aunt; a better friend and most importantly a better version of me. I am looking forward to what this year has instore for me, I'm pretty sure it's going to kick me in the ass somewhere down the road and I'm fine with that because life can't be all candyfloss and cute bunnies, that's Alice in Wonderland and also a work of fiction...
I wish you all an amazing year celebrating whichever number you are achieving in this milestone of birthdays that we all are a part of...
Love & Light