By Silvia Uribe
My husband likes to add one year to my age (whichever it may be) whenever asked. Interestingly enough, he doesn't do the same for himself. How tremendously annoying is that? And no, it is not that I'm interested in taking a couple of years off, but why would I want to add more? Especially, if it is true that time is subjective, as philosophers assert, and it is in reality only a measurement that humans have agreed upon for practical reasons. I declare that I have not made any agreements on this as of yet!
Time, to me, has always been a difficult concept to grasp. The fact that it accumulates on people's body and psyche intrigues me. The notion that we are considered of age twice, depending on what we are talking about is mind-boggling. We are not allowed to drink until we're 21, but we are considered mature enough to vote at 18? Talk about posing an untimely double standard! I wondered about this when I was young, but I was too busy learning life to stop for long and ponder the issue. The question of how it is possible for a human being to go from such a cute baby form and size to that of an adult has puzzled me forever, especially when my children were babies. And then, how time passes, and how things pass in relation to time? Fascinating! What was crucial yesterday has no relevance today. Go figure! Understanding time must be a virtue that only a few posses, and I'm not one of them. Knowing when to get attached or when to detach from someone or something, taking time as a thought process aide, or understanding how time helps to heal our wounds … these things get in the realm of the impossible for me.
However, now that I'm older, I think I understand time better as it relates to age; to my own, that is. Other's age, I still don't understand. Sometimes it seems to me that 13 years old is too young to smoke, to have sex or to decide about their future. Twenty-five years old seems too young to be thinking about plastic surgery and too old to dream about marrying the latest NBA star. And, fifty years old seems too old to wear all sorts of name brands on clothes and accessories as a walking billboard, or to practice gossip as a sport, and too young to not have plans of their own and just wait for their grandchildren to come visit them. See how confused I am?
There's one thing that I'm certain about: I wear my age proudly. I wear it as soldiers wear their war medals. Each year represents a won battle and, believe me, the land mines have exploded very close. The grenades coming from God knows where have made me hide at times, and the missiles directed to my head have not been easy to deviate. The armor that I've used has been perfected as each battle ended. It is much better now but not impenetrable, which keeps me alert at all times. The tools that I've used to detect and fight the enemy (i.e. positioning systems, alarms, night viewing equipment) are quite sophisticated by now. I have researched new and improved weapons to counter the effects of most attacks. The ones I prefer are those that either disarm or completely neutralize the enemy. It takes a great deal of skill to use them, but they are actually my favorite ones.
Have I ever attacked first? You bet! Did I enjoy the victory? Not a bit! Every time I used a deadly weapon first I got badly hurt as well, so I learned that a defensive approach (on an "as needed basis") works much better for me. Now, I have a good collection of medals; most of them for courage, some for achievement, a few for good conduct, and a couple of meritorious ones. Even though the battles can get rough at times I still like to fight the fight and conquer new territories both inside and out. Plus, the alternative is not very promising if you think about it.
Obviously, increasing or reducing my age could either take some of those earned medals away or will give me some that I haven't earned yet (and merit is important to me, if you should know). So honey, no more, and no less…just my age, please.
Silvia Uribe is a freelance writer with a Latino perspective.