New Year with Silvester.
No, it’s not a misprint or mis-spelling. Silvester is the same in German as Hogmanay in Scottish and New Year’s Eve in English. The name is lovely, one can see it everywhere in Germany, for example all the shops have large notices “Silvester open till 4pm” or similar. And sure, the word itself reminds me of Stallone and the many enjoyable evenings spent watching his movies. So we are In the last day of 2016, and as usual I feel that another year was added to my considerable life luggage. It’s a very special time of the year for me because tomorrow is my birthday. I often wonder if all the people born on January 1 ever feel the same? I love to go out when possible and look at all the decorations. When the festivities start I spend some time watching the coming of the New Year on TV. Australia, New Zealand, Japan all have it much earlier than we do. The fireworks, the laughing hugging people, the excited children all herald the new year, the new hopes. Every country, every city celebrates this holiday in their own unique way. When I have my morning coffee I always watch the Times Square in New York and wait for the sparkling ball to fall announcing the shift, the new step forward. The joy one sees on people’s faces is contagious, especially because there are all the nationalities, all the races celebrating together. It is impossible to imagine the mentality of those who commit crimes and acts of terrorism on such a night.
The whole lovely joyous night, the multiple festivities, the happy crowds always give me the feeling that the whole world also observes my birthday. Is it true for all of us born on this day I wonder? My Mom used to tell the same stories on my birthday as mothers and grandmothers all over the planet are prone to do to make us cringe at times. Here is one particular episode I like though. When I was born, she said, a news crew appeared to film “the biggest, the plumpest, the cutest baby” – the new arrival, the new citizen of this planet Earth. At 5 kg, more than 10lbs, yours truly happened to be it. Mom said I had the hugest blue eyes, long lashes, no hair, very plump cheeks and lots of requisite baby folds in my arms. She would invariably finish her retelling with the same remark, ” Of course she never gained an ounce until she was five and remained tall and slim afterwards!” I guess I became a movie star on day one of this my earthly existence. Have you ever noticed that while very plump babies invariably cause smiles and ecstatic comments from everybody, once they are grown women, especially show people, they are supposed to stay incredibly thin and sort of forever young?
Is it just me or are there many of us who feel the end of the year as something special, as a new milestone? As if today I’m still a different age from what I become tomorrow, which is really how I feel annually. Today I am still a year younger than I will be tomorrow! The first thing I do every first morning of the new year while the family sleeps is this. I surreptitiously go to a mirror, take a deep breath and study my face. Are there any new wrinkles? Is there new wisdom in my eyes? I look at my hair. Is it turning grey? Ah, this needs clarification. I must have inherited some mysterious gene from my father whose hair turned grey when he was 85. While every woman I know in my age bracket and much younger dyes her hair, mine is still its natural color. This brings a smile to my face. I have a long way to go till I turn 85.
Naturally I know that no matter how we look outside we are still a certain age inside, all of us human beings. No amount of plastic surgery, no fitness regime can make a person 25 again. But it is true that the less extra kilos you carry, the younger you look the better you feel. I believe in Love and Kindness, and I think if you look at the world with a kind eye it sometimes gives the same look back to you.