Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Turning Thirty (...Something) and the Politics of Change

So, I have quietly joined the thirty-something generation. Last week, to be exact, I became an official member of the demographic! No, there was no cake, champagne or partying! I was quite content to stay home and rest in bed!

Before I go further, though, let me add that in reality the title of this piece is not altogether accurate, as I am really thirty-something rather than thirty (30), hence the parentheses.

That said, I thought the title catchy enough to elicit readership, which I have not been as dutiful in maintaining as I have not been updating my entries here as much as I could. Last time, I was bogged down in an international dispute (read the last entry!) and blogging elsewhere. The latter I still do.

Now I am preoccupied with being ‘thirty-something’.

I have been thinking: what does one do in one’s thirties? That question comes into my mind with much more frequency, especially as I battle weight gain and a decrease in my appetite for certain things, among them the “push” to want to do everything and go everywhere, all at once. I am much more interested in pacing myself compared to the ‘roaring twenties’, when fast and furious was the name of the game.

Indeed, there were many times when I would party the weekend away without missing a beat and then show up for work on Monday mornings, bright eyed and bushy tailed, or so I thought. Then, I was twenty-something and going on very fast…and baring all the signs that go with that – strong opinions, exhaustion, etc.

I should, of course, confess two things about myself in relation to the above – I do not drink, nor smoke. So, it actually remains to be seen just how much fun one can have when these two things were not part of the social equatuion.

In fact, some friends of mine are now trying to break me into the habit of social drinking. However, I still feel no such desire, except with the occasional “Stones Ginger Wine” which, because of its sweet taste, I have started adding once or twice to my juices and water. At thirty-odd, I feel less and less desire, even! Is that normal? Where did all the passion go? Yikes! I am getting old...!

…On a more sober note, I should let you know that I also became a Christian, recently. That I thought was perhaps the most dramatic change of all. Never would I have guessed that for all of my very vocal criticisms of the Church, specifically what I claimed was its contributions to a single-mindedness against which I was very opposed that I would now be a practicing Roman Catholic. I even sing in a choir there...go figure!

This, however, has been one of the more rewarding experiences I have had. I have developed, inter alia, a keener sense of concern for the welfare of others and have also become more aware of and patient towards criticisms, specifically of self-declared Christians, many of who I have learned are merely human beings doing the best they can.

That does not change that there are things about the Church as an institution which are to be continuously reviewed and assessed some of which I will address in future entries. I accept that the Church has had many shortcomings in terms of how some of its members have contributed to the formation of social issues over time, which has not diminished its overall personal and spiritual value for some people.

Still, I am convinced of one thing – true compassion does not come with a label. Nor is it, necessarily, part of a culture, religion, gender, sexuality or class. It is not so much about who wears which clothes and says what on whichever days.

Rather, love and tolerance are truly about the feelings you have towards yourself and others. This is what matters the most. How you treat with your fellow man, which also includes you!

Becoming thirty(...something) has perhaps been the best teacher for gearing me up for that sort of consciousness, which has lead to a new pace. Is this the rest of my life?

Well, if it is, then let me say categorically – slower does not mean better nor does it mean less. It’s just different.

Thank God for the thirties!

2 comments:

longbench said...

You are experiencing what I suspect is true of most people - a real shift in focus, energy and interests. Most of this change is driven by social demands. By about now, there's probably some real pressure to find the right smaddy - go ahead! Try to count how many times you find yourself complaining or making remarks about your relationship status when you are in the company of another person, or how many times people make jokes or allusions to your relationship status. And then there's the desire to nest, to get the house and car and friends and other trappings of our social existence and to pile them up nice and neatly around you. And then there's the search for a spiritual centre -- you chose catholicism; in a way, you are more conventional than you probably thought you were. In truth, all of us need pretty much the same things - people who love us, people to love, and something to believe in. So, up to this point, it seems like you are batting just like the rest of us. Yes, indeed, welcome to the mature end of adulthood! Yes, I know you thought you were an adult before - but wait, you nuh see nutt'n yet!

Raw Politics....Jamaica Style! said...

Longbench, thanks for the insights. You are very correct. I actually thought I was a radical and that some of the choices that I was making in my life up to that point reflected these poliitics, however, as it turns out I am about as conventional as they come. The great thing about all of this though is that I actually do enjoy being Catholic, wanting the car, the house, etc.

It is a weird thing, as I never felt either as a younger person or as a child that that these were ideals to which I was aspiring, just going through the motions, as it were. I would, of course, be much obliged to accept whichever additional mentoring and insights which I might recieve along the way.

Thanks for your comments. I will keep my eyes peeled. LOL!

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