When I was 25 years old, I knew cleverly to dodge the question how I old I was. I thought that I was too young for the work I was doing and it seemed better to me to pretend to be at least in my thirties. Turning grey early supported my secret. This year I got the compliment by a Swedish lady that I was looking younger every time that she saw me. Indeed a compliment. My hair didn’t turn white yet but I’ve come to the age that there are no excuses any more to be too young for what I am doing.
My son is a different story. He is now allowed to drink, to vote and to have his own bank account without any interference from his father (his mother might still have some influence in these matters). So there is enough reason to throw a party. And if you have hardly celebrated your birthday in 50 years, you better do it well. We both invited 20 men (initial idea was 18), book the location where I had my wedding party 20 years ago (and my mother used to be a board member) and have the table set for us.
Thijs, a friend of my son, catered the party wonderfully (Fabrique Culinaire, check them out if you want the best cooked food from attractive hipsters) and made an effort to select the wines by all the dishes. We called the party ‘The clash of generations (civilizations)” and where the youngsters started a little impressed and timid, they took over as the hours passed.
For the adventurous there was the possibility of 28 meters abseiling from the roof of the church. The others listened to the Stabat Mater by Vivaldi sung by Jaroussky (no not live, that would be over the top). All the boys had prepared a speech and the elderly were surprised how easy the youngsters shared their affection for us and each other. We concluded: this is another generation. We don’t do this as easy.
The first set up of the table was to have dialogues with 18 year olds with 50+ years olds, the first round the youngsters asked: “How were you when you were my age?” And during the second round my generation asked: “Who do you want to be when you are my age?” This led to intimate conversations of having a nice house and loving wife (this is another generation) and great and discomforting memories of long ago. But we (elderly) concluded that we stopped getting older in our heads around the age of 30 (refrain from looking into the mirror).
My mother passed away 14 years ago. She shared with me that one of the highlights in her life was ‘this’ dinner while she was a board member (1993-2000) of the Pieterskerk. I am grateful that I was in the position to repeat this with my son, father and close friends.