My phone buzzed with a message. It was from a classmate who had once been a friend and then done something that made me not want to be friends with him again. He said he was sorry, asked how I was doing and said he was missing true friends. I replied,
I know the feeling. It’s early mid-life crisis. We’re all going through it after the disillusionment of the 20s, so don’t worry.
When I replied, he sounded so happy that I felt bad I hadn’t done so earlier. I sat back and thought about what I was saying.
I started the 30 diaries a few months before I actually hit the big figure. A month before my 3oth, I quit the job I’d spent ten years studying and working hard, toward. And more than a year later, I still don’t know where things are going. But I’m happy, I think.
I spent a long time wanting a lot of things, very much. But I don’t really think I regret that anymore. I’ll never trade the sense of achievement I got from the highs of my career. I wouldn’t exchange the confidence I built brick by brick. And it would be unrealistic to want to hold onto these things but not the things that made them possible.
Yesterday, in a conversation that has nothing to do with this, it suddenly struck me. I had some bad stuff happen to me and it messed up my head for sometime. But those people are not connected to me by anything but the memories. Even the scars have fallen and I don’t have to punish myself by holding on to them anymore. It wasn’t my fault they were bad people (or bad actions). And that’s all that needs to be said.
I think the 20s are a maniac’s dream. Everything is available and possible. There is a slightly unrealistic shine on everything and it takes a few knocks before you realize that shiny reality is hard and uncomfortable as well. I look at my life and then all around me. There’s divorce and heart disease and death and suicide and career failure and drug abuse and eating disorders and financial crises and abortions and deadend jobs. There are also reunions and catching up with people who were close an eon ago. There are healthy diets and cutting back and exercise regimes. There is budgeting and tax planning. A decade ago, that would have sounded like boredom/settling down/old age to me but now it sounds like a new life.
Coming back, when I read this message today, I realised something. I’d become harsh and unforgiving on the world because I couldn’t cope with the insides of me feeling broken and jagged. So I turned judgemental on myself and the world. I don’t know if it is age or healing or both but I don’t feel quite so raw anymore. And it makes me think, people make mistakes. Sometimes they get lost. It happened to me and heaven alone knows how many bad things I set in motion for other people, as a result.
It just hit me, the profoundity of the adage, “Shit Happens”. If you’re lucky, you have a chance to regret it. I say lucky, because if you realise what a mistake you’ve made, you just might be in a position to remedy someone else’s mistake. Or not; maybe you’ll just cope better the next time. There is nothing to be done about that. Except to inhale and hope that the next breath will be better.
We chatted a bit and he said he had wanted to be a blazing success but it felt so lonely at the end. I remembered that feeling too and told him I didn’t spend enough of time on the things that I now know as important. He asked what those were and I said,
Love. Friendship. Family. Good health. A body that works without medication. Food in my stomach even before I’m hungry. The safety to walk on the roads by myself.
He smiled, saying that was like a true MBA. So I replied with another smiley and said,
That’s just one more thing on my resume now, not my identity.
🙂 And what is my identity now? Who knows? I have a new life out there to discover and shape it now.