I slipped to the other side of mid-30s last year.
A year on that side has left me feeling a bit cheated and with the realisation that long ago I was somehow tricked into this business of growing up, and that I have kept at it only half-heartedly and have done a really shoddy job of it so far.
On most days, I am convinced of this backstory that I have concocted. It is as if at the time of my birth, a fairy Godmother came and asked me to name a wish. At the time, I said I was content and I needed nothing. So she asked me to stretch out my hand and dropped nothing into my open palm. Then, as expected, nothing changed. It remained shapeless but kept growing as more and more of the jagged bits of half-lives that I have been leading clung to each other, like a jigsaw puzzle put together wrongly, badly, ridden with misshapen holes all over, with most pieces in places they do not fit in, amid other pieces that they do not get along with. A piece or two or more may have already fallen off in the process but of course they are not even missed. More and more pieces keep getting added to the mayhem.
And now, even if it were possible in the first place, which it isn’t, it is too much of an effort to tear it all apart and put it together again, this time patiently, methodically, carefully, in the hope of getting it right.
Also, the reason I know nothing has been growing is that I can feel its crushing weight bear down upon me with all its emptiness. It is like a dead weight tied to my ankle, and each year it grows heavier and heavier and drags me down deeper to the bottom of the ocean.
On some days, I feel that everything that has happened so far is coming together with pointillistic contiguity, each event and decision lending purpose and moral fibre to the overall phenomenon called life. Some day it will all make sense. Just not today.
On a day like today, it’s a different story altogether. Summer exploding all around me and inside of me. The skies so blue you can see through them into other worlds out there. The sun dazzling like the inside of a lonely candle flame at midnight. Pink popsicles and cloudy lemonade. Blue waters turning turquoise and green. Run your tongue over sea-salty lips. A dance of light and leaf-shadow. The whistle of a lazy bird hiding in some bush. Baby’s breath. Jacarandas bursting forth in panicles. The delicious laughter of an infant. Long afternoons and endless twilights. Time, cocooned in a dewdrop. Sepia-toned nostalgia. Rainbow-coloured dreams gathering on the edges of time, seen only out of the corner of my eyes. Grand illusions in technicolour. Immense possibilities. Breath, lighter than air. Life, more the joy of being, less the burden of becoming. And I sing happy birthday to me.