When I was ten years old, life couldn’t move fast enough for me! I was in a great rush to grow up. The world was busy dressing up in beautiful clothes, eating out everyday, traveling to exotic places and generally having a gala time while I was stuck in school and at home, under Aai’s watchful eyes, it seemed to me.
I wanted to go to college and be free to come and go as I pleased and I couldn’t wait to give my last exam and bid goodbye to my textbooks once and for all! Then I dreamt of wearing fancy business suits and having an important jet-setting job that brought in lots and lots of money I could pamper myself with. My fondest dream, of course, was of the day I would get married and be the cynosure of all eyes, the bride! I’d hug myself and smile in anticipation of that thrilling moment. And my husband would be the most loving husband ever and we would live in my very own house of dreams happily ever after and….
And on the dream went! Oh yes, I was in a great hurry to grow up those days. Every year I’d announce to anyone who cared to listen, ‘I am twelve today you know, not eleven but TWELVE!’ And on the twelfth birthday, I would proudly announce again, ‘I am thirteen now, please don’t call me twelve, I am THIRTEEN!’
And so on, until I entered my twenties and started working and got married and somewhere in the midst of all that my mind did a complete turnaround without the courtesy of informing me. Come my twenty fourth birthday and I found myself shrieking, ‘No, I can’t be twenty four already! That’s so… so OLD!!! And I am not old! Check again, I must be eighteen or nineteen perhaps!’ And that has been the story of my birthdays for the past couple of years now.
So I turn twenty six today and I don’t know how I should feel about it. Somewhere inside me is the bubbly little girl still waiting to grow up, who wants to jump up and down in excitement at the prospect of another birthday coming up. She wants balloons and streamers and cake and guests and lots of gifts of course! And overruling this little girl is the twenty six year old woman all of you see…
Far more practical and mellow than the little girl, she is the woman with a wonderful marriage and a very nice home indeed but the wonderful marriage involves its fair share of squabbles and the house of dreams belongs in her dreams alone, she ruefully admits. Yes, this working woman brings home a great paycheck, but she has no wish to be part of the jet-setting crowd anymore, if ever that was a real prospect in the first place! And running around trying to balance work and home and family as best as she can, this woman realizes how hard it is to be superwoman in real life, unlike in the little girl’s rosy dreams.
But this woman is also a somewhat confused and pensive twenty six year old today, wondering when and how the twenty six years she is supposed to have lived passed her by? When exactly did she grow from child to girl to woman? And is she where she dreamt of being today? Has she lived those twenty six years well? To the fullest? And what’s ahead? Which among her childhood dreams were absolute nonsense and which ones does she need to work on from here?
What better time than a birthday for a little soul searching, huh? Let me list down dreams I’d like to work on this year. Simple stuff this is, unlike the lofty dreams of my childhood, but that’s what age does to a person, you know – it makes you practical! Sigh!
1. Understand and support the husband some more, learn to resolve our conflicts in a less childlike manner!
2. Stop arguing with my parents over silly little things.
3. Learn to be a better friend. Compliment others. Smile at strangers. Invite people home more often. Try and be more social and outgoing in general.
4. Stay in touch with family and friends. Call up people just to chat, without a motive. Remember birthdays and anniversaries and festivals.
5. Learn to ignore and tolerate fools with a smile. Learn to compromise with grace. Learn to stop worrying over problems that may never happen and others over which I have no control. Stop worrying and start living!
6. Improve my health overall. Stick to my diet and exercise plan. Avoid junk food!
7. Stop worrying over what others think of me. Believe in myself.
8. Indulge in my favorite activities. Travel, see or do something new every other weekend, go for longer and more challenging hikes, keep up with my music class, sing more in front of an audience, cook new dishes, try and write better blog posts, get back to reading.
9. Learn to parallel park. And get my driver’s license and start driving alone! I can do it!
And with that I’d like to sign off but the bubbly little girl inside won’t let me go without letting her speak too, so please indulge us for a while more. ‘Come on, it’s our birthday, let me out today!’, she says. To be fair, I feel a teeny weeny bit excited too. Not enough to shout from the rooftops as I used to perhaps, but I do want to indulge in my favorite childhood refrain on my blog at least – Hey, today is twenty fifth September, it’s my birthday! Come over and wish me na!