Titli’s Sporadic Blog – August 2012
20th August 2012
Many things have happened since my last blog – my birthday, Ramadan and the Olympics – and there is a lot to think about.
First of all let me start with my birthday. A big, big thank you to everyone who sponsored me for my 50:50 Challenge. Thanks to your generosity two charities will have about £1500 to spend on worthwhile projects to help children who don’t have the things that you and I might take for granted. May God bless you all.
Some of you who are reading this will have experience of turning 50, but some of you will not. Let me take some of the mystery out of it and give you my own feelings on the subject.
I don’t think of myself as 50 years old. In my mind I am no older than I was 5, 10 or 25 years ago. I still like to have “fun”, I still enjoy riding my bicycle, and I’m certainly not ready to contemplate an approaching retirement! It will be a long time before I hang up my video camera, God willing. I’d get too BORED if I stopped right now. I know that there are many people who still try and aim to retire in their mid-fifties so they have time to do the things they want to do before they get too old, but consider this. From the time my father turned 50 he started to look forward to his retirement fifteen years in the future. He made lots of plans for things he would do when he retired. He even started a small private pension in the expectation that maybe he could retire at 62. At the age of 56 he was diagnosed with a brain tumour and died a few months later. He never did any of those things he had planned to do.
I learned a lot from this, not least of all is that it is better to act today if you can because tomorrow may never come. We don’t often think about our own mortality and if we do we imagine that we will leave this world peacefully in our sleep at a grand old age having done everything we ever wanted to do. But that’s not how it works for the vast majority of people…
Sorry, I digressed a little there. So although in my mind I may think of myself in the same way I did when I was 25, I also know that I am 25 years WISER! I’ve been places, seen things, done things in the last 25 years which have changed how I view the world and the people in it. I understand much more about how the world works, about relationships, about society and about how human beings behave. And I’m certainly more aware of what I feel is important to me in my life, but that’s a topic for another day.
So when I think about being 50 I don’t think of myself as 50 Years Old; instead I consider myself to be 50 Years Wise.
Ramadan is over for another year and I’ll make no secret of the fact that this year I found fasting harder than last year. Not spiritually, but physically. Getting up before 4am for breakfast and not having dinner until after 9pm played havoc with my “rhythms”. I often found myself extremely thirsty by sunset and tired from a lack of sound sleep – I really don’t like going to bed on a full stomach! And the next few years will not be easy either as Ramadan starts to embrace mid-summer’s day.
To someone who has never fasted it may sound like Ramadan is a form of torture but it really does serve to remind us of those people who have to endure long periods of hunger or thirst on an almost daily basis. It also reminds us to be grateful for what we have. It is both a humbling and a spiritually uplifting experience at the same time. Eid mubarak!
I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Olympics. The BBC covered every single event live on one of twenty-four TV channels set up just for the Olympics. I got to see sports that I don’t normally have the chance to watch – handball, beach volleyball, archery, BMX biking, and track cycling just to name a few. It was really refreshing to watch and hear news about these sports in a culture which is usually dominated by football (soccer), cricket and rugby. Oh, and let’s not forget tennis (although I rather would).
In addition the main news bulletins were full of uplifting and positive news about the Olympics. New stars were born and some older stars got to shine brightly again. Years of hard work were repaid with medals of various colours. There was plenty of talk of hoping that children would look to these people as their role models instead of embracing the Instant Celebrity culture that has become a part of British life and aspirations.
Then we had the closing ceremony for the Olympics. I was totally bemused by the whole thing but I just felt despair whenever an Instant Celebrity appeared on our screens. The day after the closing ceremony seemed like “business as usual”. News bulletins are back to being full of doom and gloom about the economy, with the underlying message being that we are not spending enough money in the shops. New series of Big Brother and X-Factor have just started. The media is wasting huge amounts of airtime on some guy who loves to throw large bricks around and then goes running to mummy in the Ecuadorian embassy to protect him. The new football season has started and within one hour of the manager of Newcastle United imploring his team to embrace the Spirit of the Olympics he is ordered off the field for pushing a match official in a fit of rage.
There is a lot of talk of the legacy of the Olympics and wanting to keep the spirit alive. As long as we continue to have Trash TV and appalling behaviour from public figures I fear that the Spirit will die a swift and painful death.
I’ll end on a positive note. What about that Curiosity Rover on Mars, eh? It’s like something from Star Trek! Imagination and technology have collided to produce one of the most audacious methods for getting a one-ton gizmo safely onto the surface of another planet. Men and Women of NASA, I salute you!