Aaaaand, right on cue, it happened all over again. Just like it does. Every year. Bang on time. Come April, the weird jitters creep up on me. Digging their miniscule tendrils deep into my skin, and sticking there like clammy moss that spreads too fast.
Come April, I realise turning yet another year older is closer than it has ever been. It’s just a date I tell myself and behave outwardly cool. And yet at the back of my mind there is this little crazy woman waving her arms wildly and mouthing the words OMG! YOU’RE GOING TO BE A WHOLE YEAR OLDER, just not too subtly. And not in a way that makes me worry about the first signs of aging a la Olay, or that my biological clock is ticking too fast for its own good, but more in a way that makes me increasingly aware of just how fast time is speeding by. And how much there is still left to be done. It makes me want to open up that old diary with a list of must-visit places. It makes me go back to my goals for the year and reassess. It makes me want to simplify my life even more. It makes me want to slow down, breathe and get with the program!
It doesn’t help that I spent the last few months thinking Ohno, 28 is upon me, 28 is upon me, 28 is upon me. And in the customary-transfer-of-panic-on-to-amma call last week, I hyperventilated, “Amma ya! I’m going to be twenty eightttt!” Stretching the last two words out like some unfamiliar, uncomfortable cloak I have to now put on. And get used to.
Amma, being amma with her cool as a cucumber tone uttered just one sentence, that shaved off 365 days from my carefully reserved stock of time.
“You’re going to be twenty nine,” she corrected.
Cue: more self-induced panic.
It’s silly really, because every now and then there are little signs here and there that tell me yes, time is passing by. Things that make me feel grown up-ish catch me by surprise. Moments that make me realise I have come closer to understanding many things I didn’t one year ago. Surely, that is part of this whole inching closer to the big 3-0 business.
If last year my life felt like a series of missing links with fraying edges, and I was filled with strife and angst, in many ways this year I have mended some things, closed some loops that needed winding up, and found some stillnes. The restlessness that was 2012, made way for some wonderful epiphanies and making peace with some truths. Along with that came the joy of self-discovery and finding forgotten love, and the realisation that this curve is an unending one. That the hunt to choose happiness, find satisfaction, live joyfully is perennial.
Suddenly it dawns on me that none of this change is overnight. I didn’t just wake up one day and realise with utmost clarity, what I wanted for myself. Most people don’t. Most change, big or small, takes time. Year after year, time after time, we plod on. Bumbling about and mucking around this thing called life. Often fretting, sometimes languishing, but all the time trying. It is equal parts terrifying and amazing and I can’t decide which part I like more. So if this is what the passage of time means, and if this is what growing up is, then I’m okay with saying goodbye to 29 and stepping into the 30th, I suppose.
I guess it’s time to stop being the girl that I am 97.65% of the time. To stop panicking about things I have no control over. Namely, the speed of time and the aging of cells. It’s time to chin up and face it. To grow up. Okay, maybe just a little. Just until next April, when the really big panic attack is sure to strike.