Well, it does matter; even though I said thousands of time that it doesn’t!
I was about to turn 33 and it made me feel a little strange. Mixed feelings in all veracity! On one hand, I was delighted that I had lived 32 years of my life and had been through a lot, really a lot of experiences. When I see young girls do crazy stuff, I smile and say in my head – I have been there and done that. So I kind of felt accomplished and grateful at the same time. Also, I feel more worthy now for I have a life, oh, two lives to really take care of and they make me feel like a superwoman. But the flip side of the coin is that no matter how lovely a feeling it is to grow old and feel a little more in control of yourself, to feel more confident in being just you, to feel more open and accommodating to everything, to feel more forgiving than before, to feel more choosy about all that you want in life; there is a thump, a stiff blow that pulls down my spirits and makes me feel ‘old’. The Squash court was the first one to make me realize that I was not as ‘energetic’ as I used to be and that my stamina drained a bit as compared to last year. I so disliked my racket and the court at that moment. To be honest – even today! So there I was, perspiring! Sulking! I wanted my ever wandering crazy thoughts to halt for some time and accept that almost half of my life was already lived, I only had (optimistically) half more to go!
Is it right that age is just a number? I don’t think so. Something does change. Something does happen to you. While talking to a colleague at work, I casually mentioned how parched my thoughts were about my approaching birthday. Contrastingly, in yesteryears, I used to start counting the days two months in advance. I looked sleep deprived a week before. The excitement was uncontrollable and my dreamy world had all kinds of plans ready – their execution not decided though; but the surreal ideas existed way before the D day. My birthday dress used to be sorted and the list of people to attend my birthday treat was decided almost a month before. This is how I was until I turned 30.
The number ‘30’ brought an automatic, interesting change in my perception and birthdays to me looked more meaningful, if spent in presence of loved ones. I changed my notion of spending extravagant and glamorous birthdays to a soft private affair. I got attracted to love more than gifts and quality over quantity of birthday calls and messages. It didn’t matter whether I dressed in new clothes, what mattered though was whether someone made me feel special or not. Then by 32, I was a mother and I felt ecstatic when my daughter clapped for me humming the birthday song in her own way. That was special, I believed! So reiterating, something does change with age. Willingly or unwillingly, something does change!
I remember the time when I was young, in the early twenties, or when I was a lass (this sounds better) I looked at ‘women’ in thirties as someone so grown up and mature. Now, that the tables have turned, I am sure I am looked at in the same way by other young girls. Amidst all this, I asked myself, am I happy? ‘Yes’ came a prompt reply from within. ‘Would I want to go back and live the same age again?’ ‘No’ was a swift response. It won’t be exciting to be in the same place or age forever. So, even though I have mixed feelings about growing old, I am absolutely sure that I would not want to stay in the twenties forever. Or in the thirties or forties and so on.
Berthing the assorted emotions at the wharf, for now, I believe that birthdays are always charming. It’s one day of the year that is only yours or someone’s for that matter. 364 days may go unnoticed, but this one day makes one realize how important their existence is to others. How much valued they are! It’s a day to reflect and rejoice. It’s a day to express. It’s a day to speak with the loved ones. So coming back to where I began – if I say that I do not feel excited about my birthdays or if I say that birthdays don’t matter because it’s just a day; within myself, I know, we all know that it does matter. Birthdays are and will always be exceptional.
After all, growing old has its own appeal!