I have never been particularly excited about my birthday and have never really felt like celebrating it. Somehow, my birthday has always reminded me of things I haven’t done. It has been a reminder of another year gone by without following my dreams or without having anything to show for it. I have had some wonderful birthdays, notably, my 18th, 21st and 22nd birthdays and yet, I am not a fan of birthdays. As my 27th birthday approaches, I can’t help but wonder what the 28th year of my life has in hold for me. I have a feeling it will be a wonderful year- a year filled with trials and tribulations but also, a lot of happy moments. I feel it will be very different.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way–in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
The past year has been strange. I experienced extremes of every possible emotion. It has been a year of self-imposed isolation- a year where I wanted nothing more than to hide from the world. It has been a year which filled me with longing for change and for this incomprehensible urge to run away from my life. It has been a year of self-discovery- a year filled with ups and down. I was at my unhappiest during the past year and at my happiest as well. It was a year of contradictions. I have never been more lost and at the same time, I have never felt more anchored. I have never questioned my sanity more than I did over the past year. I changed my mind more often than I made up my mind. I have never been more submissive and yet, I now find myself rebelling against everything I have been taught. I have never questioned my beliefs, thoughts and decisions as much as I have over the past 1 year. I have felt disillusioned but now, I feel enlightened. I feel as if I have discovered the path to my happiness and the true purpose behind my life.
I have let go of a lot of negative emotions. I have acknowledged fears and forgiven myself for being afraid. I have been ruthless with myself and also, very gentle. I have learnt to accept and forgive- myself and others. I have learnt to relinquish control where required and at the same time, not give in. I have learnt to say ‘no’. I have learnt that I cannot please everybody and that it is okay for people to not like me. I have learnt to value myself over others and to understand what and who I am. I have learnt to place my happiness and my dreams over everything else. I have realised the importance of following my dreams and have come to appreciate how difficult it is but at the same time that it is totally worth it. I have learnt the importance of asserting myself and having confrontations. I have learnt to have patience and to take small steps. I have learnt that change takes time and that putting pressure on myself to make things happen overnight is foolish. I have learnt to put myself out there and to break the wall around me one brick at a time. I have learnt to deal with my existential crises and the importance of living in the present. I have learnt to appreciate the small things in life and to be grateful for what I have. I have learnt to be less materialistic and to understand the true value of money.
It has truly been a life-changing year for me. At the same time, I can’t help but feel that it has been merely a prologue to the next year- a curtain-raiser of sorts. I believe the next year has a lot more in store for me. While I believe the worst is over and that the new year will be better than this one, I also know that it will be a lot more trying than this one. It is a year I am dreading and at the same time, I am extremely excited about it. I feel weird. In a good way. A lot will happen next year and whatever it is, I find myself equipped to deal with it. I find myself prepared. I feel ready for change.
At the same time, I feel strangely and mind-numbingly afraid. Again, in a good way. I find myself looking forward to reflecting on the past year on my 28th birthday. I might even want to celebrate 28 years of my existence. I feel hopeful and optimistic.