Thoughts on Birthdays, and on Turning 69
by Nils Osmar. January 1, 2022
“Space and time, rather than separate and unrelated phenomena, are actually interwoven into a single continuum (called space-time) that spans multiple dimensions…” – paraphrasing Einstein
I woke up this morning, got up to start making some coffee, and remembered that it’s December 28th – another milestone. I turned 69 this morning, meaning that it’s been 69 years since the initial transition from living in the womb where I spent my first nine months, to being booted out when it was time to “leave home” and beginning a second life as a land animal of sorts.
Birthdays, for me, are a reminder that time really is passing at its own pre-set rate regardless of how we feel about it. I’ve always loved, and related to, Einstein’s concept of the space/time continuum. We perceive time passing, but this is a reflection of the intersection of our perceptions with our “location” within a preexisting continuum. The past and future are just as real as the present; but the present is the part of the continuum that we’re aware of as we move through life.
When I was young (in the 1950s/1960s part of the continuum), it seemed like adults were a different species than kids. The kids I knew, whatever their issues or problems, seemed perceptive and alive. They were already themselves, but were learning and changing in genuine ways day to day. Most adults (like many of my school teachers) seemed stuck and mentally sluggish by comparison.
The idea of becoming like the adults I saw around me was a little alarming. (What they seemed like appeared to me as a sample of “growing older”.) I was hoping to find a way to stay “who I was”, not get like them. I knew I’d have to grow up, move out, become independent as the years went by, but I didn’t want to become “old” or stuck mentally along the way.
When I think about anti-aging, that’s still part of it for me; not just staying healthy, staying mobile, and staying mentally sharp and clear as the years go by, but staying “alive” in the same sense that I was, and we all were, when we were kids (or reconnecting to that level of being alive, to the extent that we’ve lost touch with it as years went by). I’d be happy to live to be 120 or 200 or to live forever if it works out that way, but in the meantime, I’m happy if I can stay sharp and flexible and live in the moment in a way that’s similar to what it was like when I was a kid.