On birthdays, age and enthusiasm

2 years ago

One lesson learned in working in the world: Age. Here in the United States, our sense of age shifts and changes depending on the community around a person. Down in the Southwest invitations, are often sent out for the quinceanera, a young woman’s formal recognition of her 15th year. Flashy, joyous, colorful celebrations ensue as a new member of the community is welcomed to the real world. 


There is the cotillion, where Southern belles are debuted as ready for the adult world. There are many others. They mark milestones of survival, achievement and moments in a life. Long before these begin, there is the issue of birth.


How old is one at the age of birth? Today, most formats adopted by general society say that a birthing day is the start of a new life. Three hundred sixty-five days later, a child is one year old, and thoughts turn to getting old. In Korea, a child born is already considered a year old. Then, on the first day of January following the birth of a child, that baby is now one year older. Thus you can be born on the 31st of December and the next day be two years old. There are plenty of teenagers in town who would like this method of accounting. In their national legislature this issue is being debated. What is a person’s correct age? Which one applies for the purposes of law? This is still being debated.


It is an age-old question: How old is one? There are those of us who are still 29, even though twice that many years have passed. Birthdays are to be celebrated. A person has survived another year — another year in which fate has not conspired to interfere with living life to the fullest. 


One such moment is nigh. By stroke of luck and birth, this great day will fall on Mother’s Day this year, May 8. Mothers — our succor in times of scraped knees, mushed noses, and inevitable mending of broken hearts and joyous moments of discovery, Mothers are the balm on a world that can be nasty.


Even the dinosaurs celebrated Mothers’ Day. The record of their custom now fuels our industries. But this is very old history. Living history is so much clearer. We can actually see the people involved. 


This Mother’s Day, May 8, at 1 in the afternoon, the Haystack Historical Society in Mapleton will celebrate one of its founding members who has managed to enrich the community spirit and give it a firm foundation for a brilliant future. Still going strong after approximately 33,164 days filled with interesting moments, this mom will rejoice in the accomplishments of discovery, innovation and sheer joy of reaching this milestone on the pathway of a life well lived. Dana Allison will be there to meet families, friends, neighbors who have made those days interesting. It will be a day to forget age and just enjoy the glory of life, lived well, and still celebrating.  


May 8 will be a party day as we celebrate all moms and the history they present to us. Quite an achievement.


Orpheus Allison is a photojournalist living in The County who graduated from UMPI and earned a master of liberal arts degree from the University of North Carolina. He began his journalism career at WAGM television, later working in many different areas of the US. After 20 years of television he changed careers and taught in China and Korea.