I’m edging the end of twenty-four. It’s a familiar spot. Shaky at times, but familiar. If the hands on the clock were to move a little faster and pushed me a little violently over the edge, I would freefall right into twenty-five without a single thing to break my fall.
It’s weird. I know what path I took to get here, and I could probably draw a map if I needed to retrace my steps or reminisce about the time it took, but it’s odd to be sitting here wondering where all the time went.
Just like the days before the beginning of a new year, being on the verge of a new age can also give some space for reflection. Reflection for growth, reflection to cherish forgotten times and reflection that may no longer be avoidable anymore.
I’m very big on birthdays. I enjoy the entire trope of it all, the pre-planned fun and the blowing of candles. There’s something deeply moving about celebrating life and because every day doesn’t feel like a party, I love to make that one day a big one.
This year, I haven’t really taken part in the ritual of it all. It was only when a friend brought it up on the phone, that it dawned on me I’ve been avoiding the reality of thinking about it and would just continuously brush it off.
Twenty-five feels like a big number. In many ways, it feels like a decisive number. Perhaps, it feels like the test drive into adulthood is officially over. Perhaps, it’s about time I became an expert at the wheel of my life. It feels like the second part of a book you hope will change for the better and lead to an ending you’d be satisfied with. Maybe, there are higher stakes involved and that thought is scary, to be honest.
It’s crazy how we all wake up and freestyle life on a daily basis. There’s no rhyme or reason, formula, or code. If life were a song, it would be without structure; the kind that you can only make sense of at the very end of it all. The verses would be hard to find and there would be no chorus because nothing repeats itself in the same way more than once.
Being on the cusp of a new age can be very daunting. Whilst I may be able to draw a map for where I am coming from, there really isn’t any that can direct me on where I’m going. Isn’t that the whole point? To find new corners, streets and shortcuts, places that may take your breath away, roads less travelled by. To complete the puzzle of who you could be in the time you have.
I guess I always find myself in a race with time. I often feel like I’m lagging behind or not doing things at the right pace.
Whenever I speak to my friends, I find we are all just playing the same game at this time. It’s the type we desperately want to win at but aren’t quite sure what the reward at the end may be or if we will be satisfied with it.
There are days when I feel like a full-grown adult. I put my big girl pants on and do not bat an eye when I’m calculating bills and clocking into work on time. I begin to schedule check-ins with friends and don’t get disappointed by the fact that ‘fun’ doesn’t just happen anymore but has to be marked on a calendar before it does. Now I give into the fact that days get taken over by responsibilities more than hobbies and sometimes I choose rationality over dreams and high hopes.
Is this what it means to be a grown-up?
Then there are days like today when the thought of growing older freaks me out a little. The question marks get bigger and bigger, and it feels as though the road signs I think I can see are completely blank. No pointing arrows. No words. Nothing. It’s like driving on a highway above the speed limit with blindfolds on. An experience that can be both thrilling in the craziest way and terrifying all at once.
I guess the question is where I go from here. I know I’m not going to wake up on my birthday in a few days feeling any different. It’s not my first rodeo nor is it my first freak out over the future. If you’re an avid reader (I see you!), I’m sure you know this anyway!
The dust always settles, I’ve learnt. The smoke always clears, I’ve been told. And when it does, I always see clearer. When there’s no map, I’ve been known to trust my instinct. When there’s no road to walk through, I always carve out my own path in the end.
Growing older can be scary, but I know it’s something only the ones whose stories are still unfinished get to do, which in itself is to be treasured.
When things get terrifying, I think the best thing is to focus on the thrill of it all. Yes, I may feel like I’m driving on a highway above the speed limit with blindfolds on, but rather than a hostage situation, I’ve decided to treat this a little differently.
In my mind, I’m a getaway driver eagerly partaking in the choices that have led me to where I am now. My eyes are fixated on the road ahead and as I swerve left and right, I’m calculating every turn. The adrenaline pushes me to change gear at the perfect time. The high is forcing a burst of anxious laughter out of my chest. Thinking out loud I yell: ‘This is the craziest thing I’ll ever do!’ My beating heart kicks and rings as I drift off in hopes to get away unscathed. Now, there’s a good chance that things may not go my way and I may have to stop in dodgy places to re-assess the route I’m taking. Recharging at a rest stop doesn’t mean surrender though.
So, I’ve contacted a bakery and ordered a cake. I’ve picked out a dress, the memorable kind. I’m now sitting patiently waiting to be pushed over to the other side.
Your restless romantic roamer