In a Quarter of a Life

In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on. – Robert Frost

Talk about choosing the most clichéd quote for intro, right?

When the clock struck 12, I found myself laughing at the sight of my friend panicking because their surprise was failing. The others went for a smoke, and I sat there inside the pub, quite contented with one bottle of beer which, due to my acid reflux I did not miraculously finish, while my friend told me to act surprised. My other friends returned with some delicious mango dessert with a candle on top, singing Happy Birthday. And I did act surprised, at least I tried based on my poor acting skills. They gave me a book— one I’ve been eyeing for months— as a gift. I’m too easy, honestly. Just give me a book and I’ll squeal like a banshee. We spent a week night (such rebels!) drinking and laughing and hugging it out until I got home, forgot I left my keys in the house. My sister, bless her sleepless heart, opened the door for me and went back to bed while I did the same.

The day started like most of mine these days: quiet, tedious, but with a certain determination to a distant, blurry goal. I opted not to open the messages flooding my phone that morning, focusing on getting ready. I went to work, greeting by my little wildlings, and treated my coworkers and friends. I got another book (at this point you could say I’m quite predictable as well) and stuffed myself with carbs until my visitors left the house and I fell asleep.

I wouldn’t say it’s because hey, I just turned 25 today, I’m a real adult now so birthdays aren’t a thing for me anymore, no. To me, it was just another day.

I’m not big on birthdays for myself. Looking back at the past years of my life, I’m big on birthdays for other people, including mine. My debut was a surprise, because I didn’t expect anything. They were for my parents, with their unending love for their firstborn. And they were for my friends, who adopted me as their own.

But do I feel anything different? As I write this, I want to say yes and no. But I’m not quite sure. I like to joke that I am officially, accurately capable of a quarter life crisis by the time I turn 25. It’s too early to say, since it’s only been a day, but I’d like to start by negating that with everything that has happened last year.

 

The uncertainty of not knowing who you truly are, as I have come to realize, is a gift. Looking back, I’ve always thought of myself as a sponge: highly absorbent of the people around me. Like water, I flow through the motions of the people around me, adapting to get by. I thought this ambiguity was an identity problem, an existential crisis, because I never really know who I am if someone made me describe myself. But now, it’s something that I wish to celebrate about myself. The fact that you find yourself lost, even to yourself, is an opportunity to start again. Mistakes can be laughed at, grudges can be forgiven; it all returns into a blank slate. Like a fresh coat of white paint. A clear canvas. A new page. This has worked wonders on the year that led up to this. The impossible things became possible for me.

The lack of courage and perseverance over many things have hindered me from a lot of things in life. I was sheltered, is sheltered, and maybe I will be all my life. Missed chances, missed opportunities, all because I was too scared to try. But they’re not worth dwelling over now, not anymore. There’s always a restart button, this I see clearly now.

Moments of hesitation will still eventually come. You’d think it’s so easy to change until you’re in that moment before the dive and think, ‘Holy crap, I really can’t do this. This was a bad idea and I take it back’. However, there’s beauty in the attempt. I’ll try my best to get past that.

Here’s to another year. May it be as unpredictable as the last one.

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