When I Was Your Age

Someone asked me, “Why don’t I feel that it’s not Ramadan and it’s not Eid? The feeling and the atmosphere that I had when I was young was missing.”

When people asked me why they feel a certain way, it’s difficult for me to tell them what the reason is because I am not them. I don’t know what goes on inside of them.

I can’t tell you the reason for your feeling because only you know the reason. Because, it’s your feeling. Not mine. Having said that, what I can do is tell you a possible reason.

When you said that you don’t feel that it’s Ramadan and it’s Eid and when you said that the atmosphere that you had when you were young was missing, I can give one possible reason why that is.

Maybe, it’s because you are holding to a belief that things will stay the same, exactly how they are. Maybe you are holding on the sweet memories of childhood and you hope that the memories will keep on repeating themselves.

Putting the situation in that perspective, you can see why that belief may be a bit flawed, because nothing can or will stay the same. Things change, because people and cultures change. Especially in this day and age where changes are happening so fast.

But, there are things that shouldn’t change. These things are universal and they transcends time and place. It doesn’t matter when or where, these things should stay the same. These things are what make up our principles.

Principles shouldn’t change, but the way we apply those principles can change.

Lets take Eid as a case study. What is the principle behind Eid? It is a celebration, a way to show gratitude to Allah. How do we apply that principle? It varies according to time and place. The way we celebrate Eid 20 years ago is very different from the way we celebrate Eid today. Just ask your parents and they’ll tell you.

One of the things that we don’t like to hear from our elders is when they say, “When I was your age…” because we know what comes after that phrase is most probably going to be a comment about our generation.

Whether you realize it or not, you too will use the same phrase when you get older. You might be using it now. You might be telling to your little brothers or little cousins, “When I was your age, this is not how I celebrated Eid.”

We have to make peace with the fact that the way we celebrate Eid today is different from when we were young, and it will continue to change as time goes by. That’s how life is. Things change, and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

The good thing that we can get from that realization is that we should cherish the moment while it still last. Because pretty soon, it’s going to be gone and what would remain is a collection of sweet memories. We should remind ourselves of those sweet memories, but we shouldn’t live in them.

Things change, for better or for worse. Not all changes are good. We always filter changes with our principles. If the changes are in line with the principles, then we should welcome those changes, even if we don’t prefer them.

As for Eid, as long as it remains a celebration, where people gather together to solidify bonds of kinship and friendship, where people enjoy themselves in a halal and good way, where people increase in gratitude, where the young respect the old and the old love the young, where the theme of the day is love and compassion, then we have no reason to complain.

But we have every reason to be happy.