I’m two months and three days away from my 35th birthday. For most of my life, birthdays meant very little to me, apart from having to explain the blues to whichever significant other present at that time, that it was just additional, once-a-year-special, PMS. In the past decade, the dread-word has turned into an uplifting experience, where my inner scheme-r saunters out, comfortably, to shake hands with my (rarely-seen) inner goddess. For the past decade, I’ve been a mum. I’m the one who schemes the surprises, drops huge and mostly fake, hints, and fawns herself like a goddess every time my two boys beg and plead for more clues to the promised bounty as their eyes gleam bright with hope and joy. I like their birthdays, wait-breathlessly even. Mine, not yet, not by a mile.
The blues descend at unexpected intervals. A few years in between, they only came around to help me clear-up after the party. And quickly departed, like awkward conversations. Sometimes, they turned into squatters, living inside my chest, anchoring my breaths and joining in the chorus of the woman who has taken up permanent residence in my brain.
This year, they’ve upped the ante. My birthday is weeks away, but I’m already reeling from the demands of my needy, uninvited guests. Who needs to do a SWOT analysis, when you’ve got the shrink and her entire community of mirror-holders holed up inside you?
So here’s where I stand. I’m going to be 35. I’m a woman, although there’s not much of the sacred feminine in me. I’m not a nurturer or comforter, things that are just fine as long as they don’t gang up with that mommy-guilt bitch. But this is not self-pity, it’s digressing. Back to the recognizance list.
I’m going to be 35. My body feels and looks older: roughly 10 pounds over weight, a c-section-worthy tummy pouch, and I look like one big, chunky, zebra-crossing, from my chest to my thighs. Atleast my stretch marks make for good you-owe-me-your-life-tricks. Does the fact that my babies think they scratched and shredded me from the inside, mean that I’ll have to set aside some money for their PTSD therapy? Maybe. Atleast I’m getting a good laugh for now.
So, I’m going to be 35, and I don’t look like how I would have liked to look at any age: hot and cool, at the same time. I’m not on top of my career game, although I don’t know if I’m the career-type. I’ve done my bit of corporate dressing, and working from home sometimes brings in the sweetest kind of work satisfaction, dressed in my jammies. But I could have been more. More more. This is perhaps the only time in my life that I regret my lack of ambition.
I was raised, perhaps un-knowingly, on steady doses of greatness. Not just you-did-a-great-job-kinda greatness. Change the world, impact a billion-lives-kinda greatness. Generous doses of the need-for-the-sublime. A carousel of what-if’s and could-be’s that waited for me to clamber on. It could be a brilliant professional career that was jet-setting and yet conscientious. It could be the books that I wrote in my head that were just waiting for bleeding hearts around the world to hum to them. It could be the invention of the next big thing or the great big cure. It could be the kind of love that old movies were made of, the kind were someone sang to me the songs that my brain had not yet written. Okay, I can see that I was borderline-delusional. But it was childhood, right? The delusional bit was what made it magical.
I hate these half-found definitions that say childhood ends at teenage. I don’t agree. I don’t think mine has ended entirely, since I’m being honest, at 11:58am in the morning, without a drop of liquid courage in my system. A few days ago I caught myself whining to the folks currently raising me, about how I’d be able to do something better, or plan better, when I’m grown up. Their indulgent smiles only spurred the panic attack that followed the realisation that I’m a soon-to-be middle-ager who is still waiting to grow up. I didn’t even need the gawd-what-kind-of-a-mother-am-I trip switch, this time.
Any how, I’m going to be 35, don’t have the body or the professional high I currently covet, am still hungover from delusions-induced-seeking, and am a lousy matador to the bull called life. I continue to feel like the rolling-stone that would have loved to gather some moss. Green moss, real-estate moss, stuck-with-super-glue kinda dependable moss.
The good part about being my kind of morose is that I don’t need a solution or an answer or a quick fix. I already know how to fix this, or most of this, atleast. I only need you to be quiet and read this while the bitch in my brain wants to know why I’m at this particular crossroads every year, when I have the bloody map in my hands. I like alliteration, bitch, I scream back. Birthday Blues Beckon. Sounds good, doesn’t it?