Wednesday, 7 December 2016

the art of being old: a note on a beautiful life

in a few days, i am going to be officially in my mid-thirties. and yep, i am officially mortified. they say that age is just a number, and that how old you are really is about how you feel inside. problem is that i feel old inside. and yes, i put it out to the universe every single day that i am glad to be alive. but age, as my friend put it, is the one inescapable thing that time gives to you for free.

we are all getting older every single minute, every single second of every single day.

(thank you Gary for that very insightful observation.)

i don't want to sound all depressed (or rather, depressing) because (a) i am not depressed and (b) this is not a depressing topic - there are a lot of good things about getting older (and this is a fact), and (c) yeah, okay, it is all a matter of perspective. and (d), no, this is not another bout of quarter life crisis (been there, done that), and this is way, waaaayyy too early to qualify as the onset of a midlife crisis. (but if i can like buy that audi-tt in black matte, then yeah, i will totally go for it. i am a total sucker for shit like that. and then my other friend was like, that's the car of a drug dealers, and i was like (silently), yeah ok, that's like the shit, bro.)

there is something about being in your mid-thirties though. you can no longer use the i am still young excuse because you really are not that young, and you have to invent new excuses for doing the silliest, most impulsive things in your life out of fomo. it's like once upon a time, you legitimately use the excuse of 'lack of liquidity' because you know, there really was no liquid. these days, your use of the same excuse denote something more purposeful: the liquid has been used up for other things, you konw, the things that actually matter to you. so, in short, you are expected to get your shit together. you are expected to know what you want to be, or at the very minimal, to know what you don't want to be. you are expected to know who you  are and who you want to be and somehow be actively pursuing that goal whenever you can.

and this expectation doesn't come from society anymore, it comes from you. it comes from deep within. it comes from this one little voice deep inside your veins who is persistently ever so patient when you deliberately ignore it day in day out. and then it pops up at the most unexpected moment as if to say, see, i told you so. and you're like, okay, alright, you're right. i stand corrected. i promise to listen to you a little bit more. just a tiny little bit more because i want to appear like i am learning, but i am still keen on experimenting. after all, isn't life about making mistakes while creating beautiful memories? if you were to plan everything down to the smallest details and make no room for serendipity, would that not make life sterile? i mean, can one even plan to have fun, or does fun just, you know, happen?

or is it just me, over-analysing everything again, as usual.

perhaps so. i don't know. i guess this side of me probably won't change that much, if at all. yes, i have been told that it's not a good habit to sustain for fear that my brain might actually overheat - literally. but i like thinking and i find it rather enjoyable even when most of the time i come up with way more questions than i do answers. and what's the fun in life if you don't take the time to examine it? to get up close and personal with yourself. to be intimate with yourself in the truest sense of the word that goes beyond doing a solo horizontal dance between the sheets.

truth is that i haven't thought much about being older other than lamenting to my closest and dearest that i think i am still too young to be in my mid thirties. or that really in my mind, i am like, you know, still twenty-eight. why i pick that age i have absolutely no idea, because it's not like that was the age of breakthrough or anything along those lines. i mean, i am a small moments person, so i like celebrating the little moments of everyday that makes up the big picture. so if you were to look back, you can see the little things weaved together to make this beautiful picture, but it was never as if anyone set out to draw it a particular way. in fact, part of the art is actually going with the flow, to move with the motion without really knowing what the end result is going to be, nor having any idea of what it was supposed to be, other than one thing: it's gonna be awesome. because i am going to make it so. watch me.

i want to say that i mindfully sorted my life and conscientiously change the things that i don't like about it. or that i have a running theme that spans over different areas that i need to tackle and that each action is targeted towards achieving a particular goal over a particular time period. like i organise it all into compartments, into folders, label them and draft indexes for them. these are like, you know, the aspiration. the reality is that i am mentally and physically too exhausted these days for anything other than life itself, such that all of my efforts have been concentrated on living itself; examining it becomes a luxury, an icing in the cake, the cake that you know you want to eat, but you try to abstain from because you are supposed to be on a high protein diet, and you literally cannot afford to put anything in your mouth that doesn't have some sort of protein packed in it.

i mean, really, struggling on the health front is surely something that is experienced by the living, right? as in, if you are not living (i.e. you are not alive) then you have no struggle left on this department. and you know when people say that you have to find the positives underneath all the negatives? i say to them, do some maths. two negatives multiplied together make a positive. go and try figuring that one out. and once you do, throw in some imaginative numbers into the mix, and spin everything into trigs and logs and see what you make out of the equation.

the most important person in my life recently told me that his favourite method of falling asleep is to devise some mathematical equation in his head until he exhausted his ability to do the mental calculations and falling asleep becomes easier by comparison. and just like any other conversation we had, he concluded with 'try it when you can't sleep' and i hate to admit that he is right because i tried that the other night and fell asleep so promptly because deep down i dislike maths very very much and i can't do calculations in my head to save my life. this is why i like spreadsheets.

when there is something that is there to make your life easier, the only logical thing to do is to adopt it and embrace it and make it a part of your life. i admit that it takes me quite a long time to stop apologising for simply being ... myself. yes, this sounds really self-absorbed and everything along those lines, and yet it is also very true. one of the most liberating thing in this world is to hear someone thanking you for simply being you. when you are not pretending to be something that you are not (let alone someone else) - when the things that come out of your mouth are the things that you actually mean, both literally and figuratively.  when you actually follow them up with actions. yes, people will always talk, criticise and comment - and no matter. because the person who says that she is going to do something and actually backs it up with action is the person making progress, moulding herself into something better, weaving the stories, learning by doing and gaining experience while deepening the quality of her life. because it is only you can accept that hard work is crucially necessary, planning is equally as important, as is settling goals and having visions and purpose, but it does not mean that life will go according to plan, and that is actually ok. because there are so many beautiful possibilities out there that we have not yet thought about nor imagined. and these things exist, waiting for us to open our minds and our hearts to bigger and better things than what we dare to dream about.

all the while all these are happening, you come to understand more about the world that we live in, and you come to realise that everyone is just doing the best that they can. and because of this, you learn to pick your battles, because you sincerely believe that not every battle is worth winning. this forms the basis of your value system that becomes a driving force in your life, and an understanding that the issues revolving around this value system gives you the courage to speak up and stand up for what you hold dear to your hearts. you probably would not use the word brave to describe yourself, but other people will. this becomes a great reward that you never anticipated but have learned to accept that such rewards involve great risks, the kind of projects that do not come with a safety hatch, but are promising in terms of personal growth, progress, and more importantly, development of character: it is imperative that you step forward when the path hasn't been laid out before you, let alone previously walked. there is no expectation that life will be fair, storms are meant to be weathered and courage to move forward comes from deep within. throughout this journey, you develop a deep understanding that not everything is meant to last forever, and that is okay, because letting go is about having the strength to move forward with grace and integrity.

and when you look back, you have a deeper respect for the power of self-discipline and control and the importance of avoiding your emotions dictating your actions. you actively take the time to strengthen your understanding of yourself in attempt to navigate your emotions and your mind and how to optimise the two to make your life better, easier, more fulfilling. then you realise that you have the power to live the life you have always dreamed of.

is there anything more beautiful than that?

a very happy birthday to me.

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