Another birthday went by....
I am often asked "What are your plans?"
Over a cup of coffee with my cousins when they come over to visit me or over a mug of chilled beer with a close friend; somewhere between the talks of bitching about a relative we share our dislikes for or discussing about a latest movie. How I struggle and meticulously talk along the borderline to just avoid "this" talk.
What are your plans? - its not a simple question. I dread it, have put up with this question for over a decade and would've to for long time now. What are your plans for life? There is always a pause as I take in that question. I look around and then stare blankly and shrug with the same answer as always - "I don't know!" Only that; I am not a teenager to give such an "irresponsible" answer. I am way past teens and 20s.
In my case, the question is basically when are you expanding your family? Kids? Am I thinking about it? Clock's ticking!!! Why am I selfish? What am I going to do in 5 years' time? Who will take care of me as I get older? And this "I don't know" knocks people off their minds; they can't fathom how can someone live their life not having a plan about their life. How? Why? They want to know if there a problem? Medical? Personal? Marital? Any problem? They want to help. And then - Are you not scared? is the next question. I again shrug and ask "Scared about what?" There! they lose it. I am thought to be a weirdo, an insane, abnormal personality; a concerted conspiracy planted by force unknown amidst normal and conforming people to confuse them!
Volley of questions. For some reason, people think I am behind everyone in growing up or that I am refusing to grow up. I don't want to take up responsibilities. But my "plan" does not go beyond weekends. Do I think I have "lot of time" or do I think I am "20 anymore". No I don't. Of course, am I not a qualified adult? I hold a responsible position at workplace, answerable to critical deliverables, pay my taxes, cast my vote, do charity, face economic hardships having to make tough decisions at times, drink responsibly and above all - president of my apartment association and heck! I am a responsible mother to a puppy dog...(hope so!...have to get it confirmed with Gypsy).
I do save a bit, but I want to spend what I earn on my passion - traveling and exploring the world. I want to travel as far and as much as possible before my body gives up. Catch up with friends and jam and laugh a bit before the invites stop coming.
But when I see around; I see folks getting married, having kid, having a second kid....thinking about future, retirement, savings....A lot has happened in this past year for me. I changed jobs; went back to my old company. I saw familiar people who I last saw 8 years ago before I quit still hanging around. Some of them now with gray hair and stooped shoulders, few who joined as a new college graduate as me are now showing signs of aging - belly, under eye bags and a hunch. I came across a couple of classmates from school - I knew them as young innocent girls stepping into teens but now moms with 2 kids. When I saw them first; I saw myself in them - young, energetic and carefree. But now; they are old, tiring and full with responsibilities and commitments. I don't see myself in them anymore; or have I also grown up to be tired, old and stressed?
Perhaps; my problems are different. I do discuss at length about these evolution and cycle of life with few of my young friends; and I've started to notice that we are reducing in number. Few years ago; friends got busy with their life as they migrated to different country or got married or committed and got busy in their life. Now I am in that "those friends are having second kid" phase. Everyone are happy with those new phases in life; while I am still clinging on to that "old" one which people believe is not right. Perhaps; I will not know. They don't know that I am comfortable in my skin; I am not fretting over it now and hope I won't wake up one day and regret that I missed the boat. Self doubt is suffocating; but let me live with this thought and this too shall pass.
But I am glad to be not growing up just like everyone else does and seems its the norm; I revel in what and how I am. I also very well acknolwedge that I am growing old and respect it with grace. This becomes very important to distinguish because most folks think growing up and growing old are one and the same. I'll accept the aging factor; don't wish to disguise that trying to and blend in with 20-somethings around me. Should I grow up?
I don't know.....