From clothes to shoes, dinosaurs to dogs, sky to Earth everyone and everything has it. A “Label”. Something that is unique to everyone. Even before we are born, a label is already in place.
A fetus, they say. A meaningless blob. A form of life that has yet to be acknowledged. As we develop, we become a baby and earn meaning. During the same time we will be categorized into a gender. Male or Female. After birth, we graduate with an honour – “Name“, the source of our identification in this world. From hereon, the labels we accumulate depend on our actions and choices.
In our pre-teens we have “Parental Association”. We take our parents’ names as surnames and become their dependents. We can be anyone from Ashley Amingo to Zinedine Zeblusky. Then we have the “Educational Association” where a degree is added. Kindergarten, grade/primary school, high school and college are the places visited to qualify for this label. This is to give our life an academic meaning. To show for a productive (and maybe, successful) life. Ashley Amingo, M.D. or Zinedine Zeblusky, Ph.D. are created. We then participate in the “General Association”. Everything is monitored and judged by society. We are termed intelligent, slow, brilliant, autistic, beautiful, rebellious etc depending on their view. Mind you, individual opinions may vary.
In our youth “Family Association” sets in. We are someone’s girlfriend/boyfriend eventually becoming their wife/husband. With kids in the package, we become parents. When age gets the better of us, we are forced with the dreaded old person tag. Our body slows down and gets special labels like arthritis, Alzheimer’s, varicose veins etc. Life then ticks by with us counting the number of days we have remaining.
At last, we have the inevitable Death. The labels after this are the most important ones. No one will remember the marks we got in high school or the iPad we owned in college or the Mercedes we bought when we turned 30. But what we will be remembered for is the smile that we flashed to a neighbour, the love shared with our family, fun with our friends, the time we gave to help someone in need and the impact of our actions in another’s life.
Epitaphs never detail the cars driven, the houses owned or the clothes worn by a person. They describe the life one led and who they were. All that matters are those few lines which give meaning to a life well lived.