Nowadays there is a recurring theme to my dreams (or nightmares, as they turn out). It starts out hunky dory and then hits the same note…. turning 30. If I look back, turning 20 or 25 never bothered me. And neither did turning 30…till about a few months ago. It didn’t happen overnight. There was just a niggling feeling over some time, and then suddenly one day…just full-blown panic.
I always thought age is only a number (I still believe that wholeheartedly) and that it would not bother me much to hit landmark ages. I thought I would be more excited about getting older and not be one of those of women who lies about their age or says stuff like “Aunty mat kaho na” (Seriously, much to my own horror, I said something to that effect recently!!). At least I haven’t lied about my age yet.
I suppose it wasn’t a big change from 25 to 26 or 28 to 29 (and I think that’s because only the second digit changes, the 2 is still constant). But from 29 to 30, it seems like the world is coming to an end. I mean the first digit is changing! I didn’t even bother about my 29th birthday, it was just a day..but used fruitfully to finagle a cake and material possessions (read presents). But as the 30th approaches this year, I have been continuously thinking about it with part curiosity, part excitement and part horror. Curiosity as to what the next decade holds, excitement because it’s a landmark age, and horror about leaving the 20’s behind.
Sometimes there are moments of absolute panic, where I think that once I turn 30, it automatically pushes me out of the running to do stuff. I’m pretty sure I won’t feel any different, physically or emotionally. And considering the average life span today, I keep reassuring myself that I have a good thirty years ahead. But somehow I always had an idea that at thirty, I would be somewhere. Where, I am not sure.
I think I always had a plan, that by the time I hit thirty I would be married, have a kid or two, have a steady career and generally be in a state of reasonable contentment. Am nowhere near the plan. And being obsessive about plans (almost compulsively so), it bothers me if things don’t go as per plan. However, one of the lessons learnt with time, is to relax a bit and go with the flow. Again, as long as the flowing is towards something.
A cousin of mine and some friends of mine have turned 30 recently. And I have mercilessly pulled their leg. I sincerely wish I could go back and undo that now. With people doing that to me now, I have got a taste of my own medicine. And boy, is it bitter. So if you see me or speak to me, please humor me and do not refer to my upcoming birthday.
With the big day approaching fast, I am in a hurry to accomplish stuff. I seem to want to suddenly do everything that I have ever wanted to do, by August, and obviously, that isn’t going to happen. I realise that, but somehow I can’t seem to stop rushing to check things off my list. (FYI, I don’t have a list. I’m making the list now and checking things off it.)
Though I am 29, I sometimes still feel like I am way younger (and people will attest to that because of my behavior sometimes). And, if nothing else, I am an optimist. I continue to think I have the rest of my life to accomplish what I dreamt of. I look at some people in my life, that I see are in better shape physically, mentally and emotionally in their 30’s than they ever were in their life before. And I draw a lot of hope from that. Anyone who tells me I am too old to learn, or try something new, or behave a certain way, is just plain wrong.
I am not sure what I have planned for this birthday. I want to use the opportunity to try something new which I haven’t done before. Maybe scuba diving, because I am terrified of water and seems to be a fun new thing to do. But I am sure of one thing – I have come to realize that life is too short for me to be scared to try new things, so I hope I spend this birthday and the next decade, learning and discovering.
Meanwhile, here is a photo of a cake that truly expresses my feelings on turning 30.