Turning twenty: down the road

Two decades have passed by so easily. From what I was to what I’ve become, I see a great difference. That is but natural right? Although I think while most of it has definitely been for the better, there is a certain part that has taken the course for the worse or may have just seen the worst.

I owe my life to a few people, and I mean every word of that. None of what or rather who I am is due to my own choices of being. If there’s one thing I am glad about, it is that I’ve managed to live fully with all that has been offered.

The first 10 years of my life have been so protected. A close-knit family with a little exposure. And no I don’t think I lost out on much because I only grew to love and value a real family life which I was clearly blessed with. Knowing most of my friends today, apparently, it’s not a common case even though it should be. In the tenth year, came the new addition to our family. A little boy who brought with him so much joy. Who would’ve thought that the year would mark a new beginning, yet again?

Things have changed in the following ten years clearly. The one person who meant (and yes, still means) the world to me is no more. Not physically, of course. But as much as I would like to believe (and I do) that he is still with me – the truth is he’s not. His voice is fading and slowly so is his image in my mind. The memories don’t seem to be as fresh anymore and that hurts. Every birthday, there has been a special wish from him – a prayer, a letter, a card. For the last five years that spot has been blank. And no gift, no wish in the world can make up for it. Well, maybe the loss of my dad was fate. I hate the fact that it happened but it is why my mum and I are so close today. My brother is “the” man of our lives, giving us so much joy. And we are in a happy place together, bonding over memories of someone who meant so much to each of us individually.

While most people who know me (or think they know me) seem to think I have it all going for me, I don’t! It’s true I’m not the only one grieving in this world. Although, to each one a certain loss is personal and it cannot be compared to another. No matter what the level of severity.

I am happy, in most ways. In the bargain, though I think there is so much I’ve lost out on. Growing up before you actually should have takes away a lot from you. You cannot quite complain about it but at times you realize that there are things that you actually might have missed out on. Sadly, it’s not as easy to go out there and talk about it. Exposing yourself and being vulnerable to the world is not something we choose to do – maybe we should?

At fifteen, a lot happened. A change in place, a new college, loss of a family member, the boy I thought I loved cheated on me while I was mourning the loss of my dad, a new set of friends, a small boy missing his dad and a mother who seemed to lose her meaning to life. At this point, many doors shut close for keeps but many new doors opened. 2008 is thus a year of great significance – either way.

As opposed to what might have gone around, as opposed what people have had to say. How about you have a personal glimpse yourself? Why not hear the story from the person herself than hear it from someone who would manipulate it to their benefit? The person I once was, isn’t who I am today. And in a way, I am glad about it. You must move on after all. So, never a judge a book by its cover until you’ve really turned the pages.

At twenty, I am in a safe place with wonderful people. There are no manipulative people around anymore. I’ve made a lot of mistakes myself. There have been a few choices I regret, but most have been only for the better. College has been a marvellous experience and I know for a fact I’m not leaving with nothing. The friends I’ve made, the people I’ve met, the situations I’ve faced. Five years of books,  girls, boys, drama, peace, fun, responsibility – it has taught me enough for a lifetime.
In these five years, since the “breaking” point, I may have grown to be more careful. I may have grown to shut myself up in a way as a defence mechanism. But no matter what, in the real world we’re going to be hurt and we’re going to have to deal with it. I have lived, learnt and still in the process.

Here is a twenty-year-old, just getting done with college. Next up is the choice of a career that hovers over her head. Well, she’s still confused over what the world wants from a fresh grad and what she really wants herself. Hopefully, she figures that out soon enough. Her tastes aren’t too fancy. She can sit home sipping on tea and reading a book all day and not get bored because her home is her haven. While the world outside is completely enticing and she loves the idea of exploring the wild side every once in a while, for most of it, it isn’t really her. She’s had all that she’s needed, she’s got most of what she’s wanted. Yet, she manages to hold ground knowing that’s where one must stay. Her faith and her family is what matters to her. And as practical and cold-hearted as she may seem, there’s a soft side that just a few stumble upon. She’s vulnerable and yet brave. And now ready to let down the defence to live like a twenty-year-old, for there will never be another time. Her friends make life worth living, each one them in their own crazy way. Along the way, she may have hurt some or been hurt and this will happen again. But here’s yet another couple of decades to look forward to.

It’s a mad world. And with every passing day, we drown in it. Another twenty years from now (if I’m still alive), looking down the road I hope that yet again, it’s a happy journey to look back at.

Photo by Trevor Wilson on Unsplash