Dear Thirty-five year old Me,
So we meet. Finally. I wish I could tell you that’s it been a long wait, and that I have been dying to meet you, but that would be a lie, and a totally un-necessary one at that. The fact is that I never really thought I would meet you. Oh no – I didn’t mean to say that I thought I would die, or something morbid like that – it’s just that it never really seemed possible that I would hit 35. Thirty – yes. Now that was a hated, insecure, and might feared event. I had hated 30 year old me, even before I met her. Hated her with a totally irrational but totally justified fear filled heart. But that was her.
You, its different. I can see that you and me will share a very different relationship. You see the years after 30, I lost count of the numbers. And the years. Time happened, and so did life. And somewhere down the line, meeting you became a non-event. And before you ask, having a man on my side has nothing to do with it. So what is it? Could be the fact that I kind of like you..or well, like what I have I seen so far. Like, mind you. Not love. Oh you sure have your set of flaws, but then so do I, and we are kind of similar – don’t you think? Besides, it’s easier to live with somebody whom you like.
So, yes, thirty five-year old me, welcome to my life.
As much as this birthday is a non-event, I do want to celebrate it with all the pomp and enthusiasm as I can muster. And not because today is a birthday, but more because its a such an non-event. And I think you would totally understand this, thirty five year old Me. After all you are supposed to be way smarter at 35. Right? The thing is ..it ceases to matter. The title, the age, the wrinkes, the gray hair..they all cease to matter. Okay, that’s bit of a lie. The wrinkles – those I don’t like. What does matter – is the joys of the ordinary, the moments of contentment, the quietness of bliss, the thrill of the unknown, the depth of the experience. These don’t get cramped into one day of course; they encompass time and events and experiences and drip into your being when you are least expecting it. And then one day you look across your balcony at midnight and smile into the lightness of your heart, and wonder how the years brought you to that one moment. Not to a birthday, not to an age, not even to an event – but to that point where you really want to just be. Where it all didn’t matter.
Okay, I now make it sound like you have attained Nirvana. Far be it. You are way too flawed to even come close. For starters, your fears. Yes, they have receded, but on some days when the sun is really bright and your smile is echoing your heart, they surround you and slowly squeeze your moments with the same intensity as dry-eyed tears. Yes, I know they exist. And no, they are not even some high-falutin fears – they are the mundane, the normal, the very blandest of fears. Fear of authority, fear of change, fear of instability. Why girl why? You of all people should let go. For when you have, you have felt the freedom of spirit buzz through your veins, the spirit of adventure touch your heart, and high of love fill your being. Let go. Seriously.
Let go. And let yourself be. Let yourself be true to who you are. It doesn’t matter that you are still not sure about who you want to be. It also doesn’t matter that you haven’t yet found your passion. You will, when it’s time. And if you don’t, that’s okay too. Because you will find joy in the normality of existence; in the ordinariness of life; in the specks of time. You will have the joy of cuddling up in bed on a wet morning; you will enjoy the sweetness of holding hands; you will have the opulent indulgence of gluttony; you will enjoy the wildness of dancing in the light; you will get thrilled at breeze in your face and the rain in your hair when you go riding; you will love with all the heart you have; and you will fight with all the kindness you can summon. You will do this, and more. And you will have a full life. And somewhere in between those specks in time, you will discuss your passion. And then like today, you will smile. Because it won’t matter. All that would matter is that you are alive. Or more importantly, that you feel alive.
Try new things. If you don’t know what you want to try, ask around. If you lack imagination, borrow ideas. After all, no idea is original. It’s always borrowed. Be a wannabe. But try new things. Don’t be scared to be a wannabe. It means you want to be – and that’s good. In all the things you try, you will find new interests, new people, new joys. Feel alive.
Dear girl, there’s so much the world will want you to be. There’s ambition all around. At work, at home, with friends, and with family. They all have the best intentions for you. Be considerate to them – they all want you to be the best of what you could be. They also want you to the best of their expectations. Be considerate to them, but don’t be those expecations. More importantly, don’t live your life by expectations, neither theirs, nor yours. Live your life without fear. Live by some rules, but not many, and especially not the ones others have set for you. Don’t compare, don’t judge. Live. Be happy when you do well. Be more happy when others do well. And tell them so.
You and me will get along I promise. For a few more birthdays at atleast. We will learn together. We will learn to speak our minds. Not just write you know, speak our minds. Talk i mean. You need to object when you want to, whether you are with strangers or with friends. With strangers what do you have to lose, and with friends, you won’t lose them on a difference of opinion. But that will be true freedom you know. Freedom to say exactly what you want to. Confront. It will be good for you.
But hey, you are so different from what I thought you would be. At 20, you were smart, but you knew your place in the world, and you had the arrogance of youth and confidence of a blank slate. At 25, you were optimistic, but you had the sheen of doubt. At 30, you were an idiot, and an-almost wreck. At 35, you ..are evolving and I like the work-in-progress being. You are who you are…and you will be ..who you choose to be.
Be kind. Be sweet. Look at others…give them a chance even when you don’t want to. Your experience is supposed to make you more understanding, not more impatient. You were once an idiot, but you were tolerated. Maybe it’s your turn now. Get rid of the myths. Like people for how they nice they are, not based on how compatible they are with you. Really. Niceness is a cliche, but a good one. Be nice.
Wow. A long letter this has been. But hey, we need to talk more often, dear girl. I refuse to call you lady – there’s an inherent lady-like elegance in the reference, and that’s just not you. You dear girl, you at 35, are the Capri girl – the one who wears bright striped socks with purple shoes and denim capris. You are the one who wanted stillness in life, and who chose movement. You are the one who wanted stability, but who choose love. No, dear thirty-five year old Me, you don’t fit it with the lady crowd.
You dear girl, remember that. And I hope we talk before we turn 40.