They say age is a number. Well, I know that I don’t feel 30. But that’s the part of me that embraces denial as a survival strategy. Subtly but surely, I have changed while I was busy acting as if I don’t care. Its amazing how your own world changes when you’re not looking. The naivete gives way to confident foolishness, the unadulterated ambition gives way to rational disappointments. You come to terms with the fact that you have been lied to; you’ve lied to yourself and so many others have contributed to the illusions too. So, unlike what mom assured me, life did not ‘sort itself out’after i got married or unlike what i kept telling myself , my metabolism could not catch up with my eating habits. I am marginally more disciplined and a lot more disillusioned about the predictability of life. Some of my most important lessons have been:
1. You have to stop hiding behind something or somebody. Painfully,I have realized that I need to face up to the consequences of my decisions on my own.
2. That mom can be a friend too. Oh what a surprise this has been for me! I never thought i could bond with mom at this level or that we could be in a room together for more than five minutes (and actually like it!)
3. That parents are human. I grew up thinking that my parents are the sole example of goodness that mankind must live by. And that white hair happen only to other’s parents. I came to terms with two very difficult realities that i still struggle to get my head around ; that my parents can err and that they are growing old.
4. That i have a threshold for nonsense. There was a time when i could be around dumb, genuinely stupid people and not be bothered. Same goes with people who thought that owning the right things is more important than saying the right things. Now, i have lost all patience towards narcissism and nincompoops. I have filtered the nonsense from my life..slowly but surely.
5. That Best Friends are Not Forever. This realization hasn’t come easy. Although i am very close to a couple of friends from school, the buddies that i used to swear by have dwindled into disappearance. And in all honesty, it’s not just because of them. Either we just grew apart or i just stopped trying to hold on to loose threads.
6.That loosing weight is not as easy. I am getting tired of the unwanted attention on the fact that I have doubled in size than before. There are the subtle hints like, ‘I just didn’t recognize you’ or the more on-the-face ones like ‘Congrats! When is the due date’. There used to be a time when a small walk around the house counted as enough exercise to lose that flab. Now, no amount of housework+ office+ dieting+ rigorous exercise seems to move that stubborn fat. Rubbing salt on the wound are all the gorgeous, slim 40-somethings around me. Genetics has not been my friend!
7.That JLo was wrong when she said ‘Love don’t cost a thing’. Love is a whole new concept after marriage. From keeping up with the nonsensical habits of your partner to struggling for space on the bed, everyday is an amusing challenge. But whether its the small compromises or the big sacrifices, JLo must know that love does not come cheap. (Please stop selling lies!)
8. That driving in India is a curse. I remember the time when i would secretly take the car out for a spin and feel thoroughly liberated at the fact that I could drive. Now i curse that day when i first begged my driver to teach me how to drive. I finally understand why we have so many blood pressure patients in the country.
9.That I am not in complete control of my life after all. When i entered college, i thought the whole world would be my playground. That i was not limited by anything and i could achieve anything that i set my heart on. But turns out life has its own plan and somehow, you get limited by your own imagination. Irony is nastier than i imagined!
10. That failure is inevitable. When i first encountered failure, i felt dejected, deceived and refused to believe that i had any role to play in it. I have now learnt to take the possibility of failure into account and have even learnt a few valuable lessons from it. (If only i could go back to the exam halls where i was always prepared for what’s coming!)
Twenties are like the beginning of a roller-coaster ride. You are still ascending in height and are looking forward excitedly to what’s coming next. Entering your thirties is like the moment when you reach the peak of the rollercoaster and peep down to where you’re going to fall and suddenly realize how foolish your decision to ride the rollercoaster is going to prove to be. Too late my friend, too late.