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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Eighteen

Annie tagged me to list 6 things one should do before 18. She has specified some rules as well.

1. Post these rules before presenting your list.
2. List 6 actions or achievements you think every person should accomplish before turning 18.
3. There are no conditions on what can be included on the list.
4. At the end of your blog, choose 6, or less, people to get tagged and list their names.
5. People who are tagged write their own blog entry with their 6 suggestions.
6. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged.

Answering this tag is probably one of the most challenging mental tasks I've had to perform in recent times. First, I’ve totally forgotten how it is to be eighteen again. I can think late twenties, early thirties, but teens! That’s so damn hard. Then, when I finally mustered enough memories to get me in the right frame of mind I faced a cold adamant reality. So much has changed since then. All of a sudden, I feel so old.
Speaking of which, I just underwent my “supposedly” annual checkup and medical tests. Well it’s been at least 3 years since my last one. I’m in excellent shape except… high cholesterol. That means I must start some research on what to eat and what not to AND how to live and how not to. On this sobering note and after considering that my oldest daughter is already passed that age, Annie took me back to 18.


1. Before 18, each boy and girl must’ve tried sleeping in a tent at least once. One of the highlights of my early teens was being a boy scout. I have spent many a summer in the fabulous outdoors around Tartous. At 16, I camped solo on Bseereh Beach for three consecutive months, visiting town no more than once or twice. My love for the outdoors and the wilderness is still a major component of my character.
2. Reaching 18 is an important milestone from a social point of view. It’s a significant landmark in many cultures: You are an adult now and you are responsible for your actions. Prior to that, we must have fallen in love and suffered some heartache. Sure, it’s often a crush rather than love in a true sense but these are the memories that will probably last forever. We should always look back fondly without remorse, without regrets. Since we are vulnerable during that stage due to our mental and physical, often painful, development, I think it wouldn’t be such a good idea to experience sex until a few years later. An innocent kiss, a guiltless touch, an adolescent embrace are everlastingly more precious.
3. We should experience, even if briefly or on a part-time basis, work before 18. We should appreciate the value of labor and be grateful to what our parents have been doing for us. I only worked for one summer before becoming an adult but the little money I made brought me pride, assurance and self-respect. We must be young when we comprehend the firm concept that work and a career are not the most central aspects of our future, yet that they provide us with freedom and self-determination.
4. Fun and play should consume most of our free time before 18. Sports, silly games, strange hobbies must be enjoyed to the fullest without shame or remorse. When we’re not playing nothing beats reading or learning a second language. I acquired the addictive habit of reading and in a second language during those early years. In addition to the experiences I’ve accumulated on my own the books I’ve read helped in shaping my personality. Today, I’m a product of my own deeds as well as the powerful written words of total strangers.
5. We must at least have one very good friend before 18. As far as I’m concerned, these are the same people I still call best friends almost thirty years later. What brought us together back then was totally void of material benefit or advantage. We are still friends for the exact same reason. I don’t want anything from them. They don’t want anything from me. We just enjoy each other’s company. Although it’s possible to harvest such friendships later in life, it’s extremely difficult.
6. Finally, we must cherish our parents and their presence in our lives. Sometime in the future, and if nature follows its course, we’re going to lose them. It will be a devastating blow no matter when it befalls us. We will accept it, recover and eventually make up for our losses by caring even more for our own offspring. But as long as we are under our parents’ wings we should take pleasure in the warmth they provide us with, we should bask in their offered security and ultimately learn from them and obey, yes obey, what seems at times their harsh rules.

The molding and shaping of our personalities start during our fetal stage. Childhood and adolescence are cornerstones of who we truly are and become. Self-respect acquired by honest purposeful labor and our benevolence to others are the remaining foundations that make a man or a woman worthy of humanity.

I’m tagging a couple of old mates and some younger ones: Syrian Brit, Abu Kareem, Karen, Dubai Jazz and Kaya.

22 comments:

Az3ar's Fan said...

what does 'tag' mean and do?

DUBAI JAZZ said...

Thank you for tagging me Abu Fares; it's kind of tough tag by the way… even for someone like me who's only 10 years older than the hypothetical age.

I like the five things you've listed; you will do for a great educator. Fun and play are great component of any curricula. Is that you in the photo? Who were you guys idolizing at that era? Bob Delan? :)

The Syrian Brit said...

Oh boy!...
Can I really remember THAT far back??!..
We shall see!..
I'll do my best..

Karin said...

WOW ... is that YOU on the picture?? IF - I would have never recognized you!!

Thanks so much for tagging me ... I did it and passed it on to six others. It was a bit tough ... I am not really even CLOSE to that age anymore.

Like Dubai Jazz I like your philosphy ... but that's nothing new. Can you access blogspot at all or did they shut it down entirely?

Stay in touch :-)

Omar said...

I just answered the tag my self, and it's amazing how simillar are answers are/

KJ said...

3, 4, and 6 are priceless :)

I guess you and my dad had a thing for Afro hair

abufares said...

@Az3ar's Fan
The first time I got a tag from a fellow blogger I didn't know what the hell she meant. She commented on my blog that I have been tagged and I had no idea what I should do about it. She must've thought that I was unkind not to respond.
Being tagged simply means that another blogger has posted something and wants you to post and answer the same questions. Then you have to tag other bloggers to keep the pattern going.

abufares said...

@DJ
That's me indeed, a few months before my 18th birthday.
Idol! I didn't really have any but I guess that the afro/beard look was in vogue in the late 70's.

abufares said...

@Syrian Brit
I know it's a tough one but I think it'll be interesting to get this sort of flashback. Besides, it's a good chance for our generation to write about such things simply for comparison purposes with the prevalent attitudes of today.

abufares said...

@Karin
Where did all the hair go, I wonder?
I always favored a beard but unfortunately Om Fares doesn't like it much, so it had to go.
I can access blogspot but through a proxy which makes the process slower and less fun.
I miss you around here my friend. Welcome back.

abufares said...

@Omar
Now that we have yet more things in common, ring up on your next visit home. We need to get together.

abufares said...

@KJ
Your dad and I probably liked the burly look and for some reason of our own thought that young chicks dig it as well.
I'm thankful I didn't get stuck in the 80's as far as my looks is concerned. Yet even if I wanted to (luckily) there's no more hair to do it.

Anonymous said...

Abufares, how deep, looks like confessionary ,I wondor how we never met,perhaps it is the difference of oure age, I am 54, the places we camped are quite the same,from south jable to Kesab,and Ras AL basit, one thing that I can not forget is when a flood took everything away from us, we just had time to save oureselves, and that was at the (NAHR EL KBIR AL SHMALI )neer (KHAN AL JOZ)about 30 km from Latakia, at 18 i got my license ( i could carry my hunting gun),I had a music band at school (the lazy boys), hand crafting was my work at my fathers shop (building fishing rods), more than 3 excelent friends,, now i give the value of parents more than ever, i left hone at 23,

kaya said...

Oiii Yaar! Thanks for tagging me , but really what a difficult one.
Gimme something simple.
Thats you in the pic. LOL!! You look ever so cute and cuddly, tho a wash could help.
Reminded me of Kevin from THE WONDER YEARS.
That smile is just too cherubic.

abufares said...

@lê
We share many traits... except musical talent. God knows I tried but I completely lack this heavenly gift. I can listen to music though but only when absolutely alone and in total silence.

abufares said...

@kaya
I threw the tag your way exactly as I got it so crack your knuckles and start typing.
I would've been the happiest 18 year old if a "mature" woman like you told me then that I look so cute and cuddly. I would've not minded the washing up bit at all. Oh... the fantasies of the young :-)
And, BTW I still have that angelic look and smile, not that it matters much anymore.

annie said...

Amer, I am at Spa in a cyber which is about to close for the duration of my stay. the keyboard is breast high and my shoulders are killing me.
I agree with you but with the SHOULD; I was fortunate to have a best friend but as for the parents
"we should take pleasure in the warmth they provide us with, we should bask in their offered security and ultimately learn from them and obey, yes obey, what seems at times their harsh rules." it ain't necessarily so. Not all parents are the same. And I was born a rebel anyway
Nevertheless, I made peace with them and forgave them before they died. My father's last words, then he slipped into a coma, were for me :"you know, I like you". je t'aime bien. Tears still come to my eyes when I remember these words because of all the strife which had separated us.

abufares said...

@annie
One has always to be careful in using a word such as "should". Needless to say, I was careless.
However, it is my opinion that the bad parents-children relationships are the exemption rather than the rule. By and large, parents instinctively act in what they think is in the best interest of their children. This what a teenager must/should/have to understand.

rosh said...

Hi AbuFares: think it's my first comment on your blog. Just wanted to say, brilliant thoughts, loved it all - quite earnest from the heart, with much perspective. As I read thru each of them - I found myself smiling and nodding an Yes, to each. Thanks for your thoughts, pleasure reading thru.

kaya said...

Awwww abu fares. It always matters.
lol

abufares said...

@rosh
A pleasure to know that you read this blog and that you took the time to comment.
Thank you for dropping by and you're always more than welcome.

abufares said...

@kaya
loooooooooooooool