Birthday Blues

by Anita Menon

I am about to turn 30 this month. The only birthday I have dreaded because turning 30 feels like a milestone that I never wanted to achieve( not that I wanted to be dead before that). For all the previous birthdays I was upbeat about the party and all the fun things that I planned to do to make it the best ever for me and others who were a part of my life then. This birthday doesn’t make me feel excited. It makes me think hard about what I have done so far with my life.  Not that I had any specific goals that I had to reach but overall how I managed the flow of life and what I intended to do with the rest of it. While I took a hard look at the days bygone and imagined the ones to come, it made me feel like  realist-something I hadn’t been ever. It also made me ponder over the huge transformation I had gone through as an individual of course not without the influences of the people, places and situations. This excerpt is an attempt to analyse what I was and what I have become now, an attempt to measure the metamorphosis.

Not in any particular order-

1. A super achiever as a child,  I realized I was a girl of many talents but the sad part was I was a jane of all trades and mistress of none. So I dabbled in it all and focused on none and over the years I have now realized that I don’t do anything particularly well. The chances that something might turn out well is a matter of chance. After careful consideration, I feel it is because of deficit of attention span on a particular activity. So I start everything well but the endings arent certain.

2. Having spent the formative years of my life in a private township developed in me a permanent sense of security. The township was my oyster, my cocoon. With same naive sentiment I went out into the world after school. If it were in the movies, I would have been that unfortunate naive heroine who is beaten by the big bad city and turn into this disillusioned damsel in distress. No, nothing of that sort happened to me. I didn’t meet any big bad wolves, au contraire, I met nice people- friends and more than friends. So that cocoon stayed until today when I realized that I have turned into this insecure, part realist-part pessimist and a serious cynic. When this change kick in? What happened to that ever happy, ever trusting person? Over time, I had turned into an ” Adult” , ever so critical about life. The cocoon had burst open and instead of blossoming into a butterfly, I turned into an ugly moth. I feel insecure about the future, about the present and regret so many things in my past( which I never did earlier)

3. When you are in are 20 something life is like one big party, money was never a problem because I didn’t care how my parents sent it to me every month in college. As a child I never handled money and hence the value of what money stands for was never a concern for me. I blew it all on what  was important and unimportant, equally. A true taurean, my love finer things in life started very early in life so money was the means to an end and important because it made it possible to buy things. But as my income increased, I became  more stingy, more cringed about spending money and basically about enjoying life. Money has become my security blanket and my bank balance is what determines my sleep.

4. As a child I was very naughty, constantly getting into trouble, always on my toes, running around, doing stuff and super active. That hyper child grew up to be hyper girl constantly multi tasking , doing stuff, working hard, academics, pursuing hobbies et al.  A time came when I grew more hyper, more active and I tried to pack more stuff than a day can actually take. A morning walk, making breakfast , lunch, packing lunch, dressing up for office, readying my husband for office, spending a day in office doing plenty of stuff at the same time, come evening and used to hit the gym for 1.5 hours every single day, come home , prepare dinner, try to catch up with my friends online, spend time with my hubby, read a book and go to sleep – 5 hours of sleep and back to the same routine with a change only on weekends where I catch up with friends, go for my dance classes, go grocery shopping, prepare a weekend special meal, invite people over for dinner/lunch, do my 5/10 k m run as  a part of my marathon prep, spending time with in laws, partying the whole night long and much more. My mind was working non stop, not relaxing, constantly alert. Then came the fatigue, followed by grand depression and hollow feeling of still not having done anything worthwhile with my life. Each day during my grand depression , I waited for that ‘sign’ that would tell me what my calling in life was but this was met with more depression, more self-criticism and final disillusionment. Then came into my life my baby and I suddenly I felt, my life had a purpose, a meaning. I feel, in spite of all the running around the whole day, I feel energized to do more and life definitely feels on a constant move, but in a relaxed kind of way. I feel more stable, at ease and more connected..Yes more connected. I don’t feel the need to fill my life with things to do. I have things to do and those things really make me happy

5. Little drops make an ocean, they say!  Similarly, little changes have made me who I am today. From a non movie person to a movie freak, from fat to fit to fat again, from short-tempered to mild tempered have made me who I am today.

Come to think of it, I have always found it difficult to define who I am as a person. I tried to define myself through relationships, define myself through the work that I did, through my dreams, through my life’s aspirations. I am today, a sum total of these all. So when I see my baby reach each milestone such has turning over, crawling, making baby noises, smiling , I realize all of these are going to be sum total of who she is going to become. Each such baby step makes us what we are and change is inevitable, so to embrace it willingly and with pleasure ( though I feel its difficult really difficult)

So this moth will go on it journey and enjoy her 30th birthday! I like a chocolate cake ……..that’s my favourite!!