As you get older birthdays take on an altogether different meaning, for myself it is a time for introspection and giving thanks. In the last few years I have noticed that when I look into the mirror the face that looks back at me has a few more lines or a few more freckles, and I notice a few more grey strands in my dark hair. In the grand scheme of things this very rarely phases me, I do have friends however, that have and do go to extraordinary lengths to halt this whole process. They pay enormous amounts of money to fix what time has altered, and no matter how hard they try they can never look like they did—it’s just not possible. I don’t want to make this blog about how our society values youth over age or, how the quest to find the fountain of youth fuels a multi million dollar industry. There is however a growing movement of woman who are choosing to celebrate the changes which reflect their time on this earth. These women remind me of a blog we posted last year about the art of Kintsugi — the ancient Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with a mixture of lacquer dust mixed with gold silver or platinum. This art form re stores not only the usefulness of the objects but its aesthetic value. The artist uses precious metals to repair the breakage and in doing so they are in essence, proclaiming flaw as an event in the life of the object, something to be beautified and embraced. The object does not cease being useful when something unfortunate happens to it but rather quite the opposite, the object is lovingly restored. The bowl’s cracks and breaks are not viewed as imperfections, but are embraced as part of the history of the object. The Japanese believe that the history of an object good or bad defines it and makes it beautiful, perhaps this is why their culture honors and reveres their “seasoned citizens”.
This thinking is not only restricted to aging but applies itself to all facets of life, for instance the folly of many people in recovery is the belief that once they go through their treatment and attend their programs they can return to the person they once were and pick up where they left off, in fact our society encourages this thinking. This is not possible for anyone, life is about change and we can never be as we once were recovering addict or not. Perhaps if we as a society acknowledged and celebrated our cracks and breaks however big, we would never feel the need to throw anything (or one) away.
So when you celebrate your next birthday embrace and celebrate the person staring back at you, honor the year that has passed, and prepare and be thankful for the one to come!
Please remember if you or anyone you know would like more information on The Oasis Addiction and Recovery Society please contact www.oasismovement.org. Or if you would like to host your own clothing drive in support of the Society contact www.oasisclothingbank.ca.