Today is my 28th birthday. Most people tell me that I am young, but sometimes I feel a bit old -- and it actually has little to do with having two kids (though I am sure that's a factor).
I have felt this was about my age for awhile, perhaps since even my late teens. All one would have to do is pick up a book printed from the turn of the eighties and look at the photos of the people inside and think ... "This just can't be right. Why do all the men have sideburns and plaid sports jackets on?"
Sure I remember the days of sideburns and mustaches and plaid too. But it all seems ... so detached from my current reality. I know I shouldn't whine. Two of my colleagues are turning 39 next year. They are as old as Woodstock. Hell, they could have gone to Woodstock. Or Altamont. Take your pick.
I could have been at one of Jimmy Carter's garden parties, sandwiched in between his brother Billy -- who would have been drinking Billy Beer, of course, and Zbigniew Brzezinski. I could have been on the piano when Joe Strummer and The Clash were recording Sandinista. My little baby car seat could have been on the first Soviet tank as it rolled into Afghanistan. Thankfully, I was never at any of those places.
Hmm. Afghanistan. Iran. Why do these names ring a bell? 28 years ago, the Soviet Union was just preparing for its invasion of Afghanistan. The US embassy in Tehran had just been overrun. And for these reasons I sometimes don't feel old at all, but young. Tehran, Afghanistan -- they still dominate the headlines for similar reasons. The USSR fell apart, but the Russian Federation is trying to recapture some of its mojo.
When I walk down the street I can imagine that if I was magically whisked back 15 years to 1992, things might not be so recognizably different. There'd still be a president named George Bush, just with different middle initials. They'd still be trying to iron out a settlement for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (those of you who are older may groan now). Russia would still be doing its wounded soul routine over the Baltics. And The Simpsons would still be on the air.
So many things have changed yes. The Internet. 9/11. OK Computer. Emilio Estevez and Paula Abdul broke up. Estonia has certainly changed. Most of the current Estonian government were but school kids ready to be captured on film by Priit Vesilind during his visit as part of National Geographic that year. Now they are plucky, 30-something (and sometimes 40-something) public servants.
And they are not even young anymore. They are seasoned. Urmas Paet, then a 5-year-old, has been minister of culture AND minister of foreign affairs. Minister of Economics and Communications Juhan Parts, then 13, has even been prime minister. We all grow up you see. Even me. And Juhan Parts.