The thing about growing older is the realization that the dream of finally living life, of becoming a ‘real’ person is only that, a dream. It’s the devastating realization that the life you are living right now is all there is and that you are no longer secluded by that childish voice that declares: ‘When I grow up I’m going to be…’ You’ve grown, you’ve lived; the surprises peter out from here.
And each day comes round no matter how distant they appear at first, a year seems such a long and beautiful or dreary stretch as a child. A year now is too soon and too quick and too easily forgotten. A year has to be tied to a meaning, a purpose, it has to be collated with activities. What did you do to clutter your days? And what of the days, weeks, years forgotten, for if we cannot remember our lives, we are stuck in the continual present of active forgetting. We do things in order to remember them or write them or capture them in art and elevate them from the day-to-day drabness.
Growing older is a continual loss of all the persons you could have been and all the things that could have happened. It is a process of collecting efforts and successes filled with hard work and varied encounters and lots of nothingness and loneliness and failures and happy accidents. It’s happening upon unhappy events and wandering through them and being changed or chipped away by some indescribable forces like loss and grief and friendships and relationships that fall apart. It’s sitting at a table on your 28th birthday surrounded by beautiful faces you never even knew existed a year previous to that day. It’s seeing a life a year at a time instead of daily, and reflecting on whether you lived up to the expectations of your age. It’s wondering why I feel so childish and naive and innocent at an age where I should feel experienced and skillful. But it’s also about being able to confidently say what you mean and losing the irrational insecurities of youth. It’s an incomprehension of girly fixations on weight or looks and beauty and seeing the fleeting and empty nature of it all. It is feeling ambivalent about the prospect of losing looks which you feel you have yet to be rewarded for.
It’s thinking about what really matters. It’s thinking about what makes a good life. It’s the heavy beating heart that keeps me awake at night and the object in my eye-line. It’s not about feeling good but it is about desire and unwrapped sensuality. It’s about love but not obligatory love for the self or the body. It’s a journey home filled with love and happiness that feels both too much and not enough.
It’s about choosing to perform what is considered a normal life and trying to make that meaningful or a radical rejection of what is already not working. It’s about building ways of living outside the dream of the ‘good life’ that are not hopeless. It’s about never getting ‘back on track’. It’s about exploring unbeaten terrain. It’s about ways of living that are inappropriate and happy failures. There’s no self-realisation or rebirth or new identities or other temporary cages. There’s only the finite and the haphazard search for a life worth living.