“In youth we learn; in age we understand.” – Ebner-Eschenbach
I recently celebrated my 34th birthday. A friend wished me ‘Happy growing old.’
I remember the year I turned thirty. I felt sad bidding adieu to my twenties as if I was parting from a loved one, never to see him again. However, I love this side of the thirties now. I don’t shy away from declaring my age. Why would I? I have grown tremendously as a person. I am a little less stupid, less worried and less well-behaved, I am smarter, freer and crazier. I am less what I am expected to be and more who I wish to be.
I spent my twenties in a desperate attempt to fit in. I tried to fit in the expectations of my family, fit in my jobs, fit in my relationships, fit in the created collective reality by the society at large.
I tried to conform to the rules.
I tried to please others and gain their validation.
I tried to tread the path everybody walks on.
I tried until I lost myself.
I tried and I failed. I failed miserably.
And I am glad I did. The thing about hitting rock bottom (that no one tells you) is you are by yourself there. There are a few people with you and you know that they are the ones to be cherished. You spend a good deal of time introspecting and musing and brooding. That can have either of the two effects – you lose your mind or you find it. Or both consecutively. I consider myself fortunate that I hit rock bottom at an early phase in life. Because that left me with ample time to collect the pieces and put them together to recreate myself and my life.
And that’s why I love my thirties. I prefer to say that I am my twenty-year-old self with fourteen years of experience. This experience has moulded me into the confident and free woman I am today. My fears have grown to be my friends, while my friends are only those few who lift or deepen my spirits. I have become ruthless about my company so less bullshit to deal with. I used to suffer from chronic boredom in my early twenties; I find my own company infinitely entertaining, hence I never get bored now.
Another thing I love about my current age is I cuss openly without thinking twice. I couldn’t do it earlier. And we adults know (hope no kids read this) how therapeutic profanity is at times. It can work wonders in the right amount of dosage. As Mark Twain said, “When angry, count to four. When very angry, swear.”
And, of course, sex is so much better. I know what I want, I am more self-aware and confident in my desires. My system has developed an asshole-detector, after dealing with a bunch of them at a younger age, which beeps wildly when an asshole is in proximity. I choose better, I express openly and I enjoy sex like never before.
I am wittier. Humour is my fuel. There’s no point in getting bogged down by existence that is going to meet its end sooner or later. I grew to be a melancholic person as I had lost touch with the kid in me who was always boisterous and bubbly. I have found that kid again. I can be spotted dancing in the aisles of a supermarket or on the roads at times. Blame it on the inner kid. I don’t take myself or life seriously anymore. Most of the times I’d say.
Life is similar to a long cave. You enter the threshold and keep moving in. You go deeper. And as you walk, you uncover the mysteries one by one. While initially, you start it as an adventurous journey, somewhere along the way, the darkness gets to you. You start to worry about what may happen to you at the next step. But when you realize that there’s no other option than to keep walking, you learn to face your fears. If you give in to the fears and settle at a given spot, you stop growing. But if you keep moving forward, you discover secrets that only rare few manage to unravel.
“The only time you really live fully is from thirty to sixty. The young are slaves to dreams; the old servants of regrets. Only the middle-aged have all their five senses in the keeping of their wits.” -Hervey Allen
What are the secrets about yourself that you discovered in your thirties?