11 July 2016

Turning 34

I turn 34 today. It's not a round number, but nevertheless it seems like it's something I feel like I need to blog about.

That said, I am not a big fan of birthdays. As a kid, I never celebrated it. My parents are Jehovah's Witnesses, and therefore birthdays are not allowed to be celebrated. When I left the religion a decade ago, I didn't get the habit of celebrating it, so birthdays for me were more or less low key, and perhaps the most I have done was eat out.

Perhaps that is the reason why I have a hard time telling people my age. Or rather, it takes me a few moments to tell them, mostly because I am for the most part unaware of my age, and I would need to compute it myself, before mentioning the number. I guess it just hasn't sunk in that I am 34, that 2016 is the year when I turn 34. So when people ask me how old I am, I always have to subtract my birth year from the current year.

Anyway, I am not talking about my celebrations this year. There isn't any. I guess I want to talk more about this year and the past. At 34, I find myself living in Berlin, married. Ten years ago, when I was 24, I was in Buffalo, in graduate school. Twenty years ago, when I was 14, I was in Osaka, as a middle school student. And thirty years ago, when I was 4, I was in Denver, a toddler, while my dad was in graduate school. If this pattern continues, then ten years from now, assuming I get to live up to 44, then I would be living yet again in a different city, in another country, perhaps in another continent. That at least seems to be the pattern.

We'll see. So far, I don't think I am against that idea. Perhaps the fact that I am an adult Third Culture Kid makes me so not against the idea of perpetual moving. Perhaps it's because there isn't a country in the planet that makes me feel at home. Berlin feels home right now, but nevertheless, I still feel foreign here, and being a foreigner has been more the norm for me than the exception.


  1. Happy birthday!

    You are now older than Jesus when he died. What a milestone! ;-)

    (You also have a PhD, which he didn't have. Take that!)

    1. Zhu,

      I didn't even think of that!

      Just as a random fact, Muhammad died at 62, Siddharta Gautama died at 80. We'll see if I can reach further than that. :)

  2. Happy birthday Jeruen!!! I really didn't know that Jehovah's Witness prohibits bday celebrations. Anyway, I had grander birthdays during my elementary days but as I got older things were heading south not in a bad way. More intimate, less people.

    1. Charles,

      Thanks for the greetings!

      I agree, the older you get, the more intimate things are. The big wild parties are now a hassle, and sometimes, just spending a few hours with a select few is a way better choice.