I turned 30 last year.
And before I did, I remember making a hue and cry about it. I spoke about having set certain ‘before 30 goals” for myself and my failure to achieve most of them. Of course, most of the said set goals might sound really random, quite crazy but a lot of passionate thinking went into them. Like the ones below.
Finish reading Gone with the Wind and War and Peace. But I hadn’t even started reading these books yet.
Download all the Hindi and Telugu songs sung by Udit Narayan on my iPod. I hadn’t finished collecting Udit’s songs while very depressingly, his son, Aditya, that Potla from Pardes, was already all grown up and composing music himself.
Start a society that worked towards helping Indian couples in love aspiring to get married but could not due to problems at home based on baseless differences such as caste, religion, age etc. Not a society that helps couples elope but the kind that sits both families down and makes them see reason. The kind that would explain to parents that if two people are majors and are in love and want to get married, they have every right to do so. Most of my friends, who were my inspiration to start this society for lovers, had given up on their love and were married to whom their parents chose for them.
Donate my hair to a place that made wigs for kids battling cancer. My hair would not meet the minimum length requirement with any hair donation organization.
Learn to speak and understand the language, Tamil, fluently, and do a Mani Rathnam movie marathon without requiring subtitles. I still could neither understand Tamil completely nor speak fluently.
The craziest one of the lot however is, Meet Mahesh Babu, Prakash Raj, Raghuvaran and Trivikram at some point before I turned 30. Well, I did meet Prakash Raj and he turned out to be an extremely unemotional and arrogant man I sincerely felt like punching straight in the face two seconds into the two minute conversation I had with him. Raghuvaran is dead and I really don’t know if I want to meet Mahesh Babu anymore. Trivikram, my love, my sweetheart, is continents away from where I currently am.
While dealing with all of this, I had to pull a 19 hour work shift on my 30th birthday and I slept for the remaining five hours. I remember not taking any phone calls or replying to texts on my birthday. I mean, the whole thing sucks. Who on earth likes to get all old and wrinkly. Besides, with increasing age, the ability to take risks decreases. You cannot make decisions based on chance. Everything needs to be done calculatedly because you mature enough to understand that one decision of yours may have several different implications. And I love taking risks but felt like I was running out of time or something. It was all way too depressing and painful for me.
Until weeks later. My manager told me, ‘Stop being such a baby about turning 30. It isn’t such a big deal and trust me; it is way better than turning 53. Do yourself a favor. Pick up your business cards and write every little thing that you have accomplished over the past 30 years and then, it wouldn’t seem so bad after all. When you look back at these cards when you are 40, take my word for it, you are going to be pleased’
I didn’t trust her at all. How was that going to make me feel better, I wondered. But I decided to give it a shot anyway.
The first card said, ‘Got a Bachelor’s degree’
‘Followed it with a Master’s degree’, the second card continued.
Have three and a half true friends for life. The kind of friends who will stand by me, no matter what, no judgments whatsoever.
Dropped work and took a trip to a place I always wanted to visit, California. With my mom.
Not having known how to even ride a bicycle for almost 27 years of my life, I finally got my driver’s license.
Fallen truly in love, lost and never learnt from it. Willing to do it all over again.
Made it to two of my best friend’s weddings.
Visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Maintain a not-so-active blog of my own.
And so on.
I really do not know if that made me feel any better. I can only probably tell nine years later, perhaps, when I turn 40.
I turn 31 this year. I finally went to the store and got myself a copy of Gone with the Wind and War and Peace. I plan to read them soon. I still listen to Udit on YouTube, no downloads yet, but I hope to get to it someday. I am pitching my society for Indian lovers idea with a bunch of people with very little luck. I donated 12 inches of my hair to place that makes wigs for kids with hair disorders yesterday. I have been using an app on my phone that teaches me Tamil and I believe I am becoming fluent. The movie marathon is right around the corner. And, I often cross my fingers hoping I bump into Trivikram, sometime, someday and profess my love to him.
Turning 31 doesn’t hurt anymore. I guess I have reached the acceptance stage of my grief. And I have realized that I should live by the minute and brooding over not being able to finish reading a book by a certain time period is not going to get me anywhere. But, I am not going to lie. On certain days, the number reality hits. And hits quite hard and on such days, there are friends and there always is alcohol.
So it is okay to crib about the number. It is a big deal, at least until you learn to come to terms with it.
-A happily, unmarried woman who’s 30, or as one of my friends would say, ‘who’s technically running 31.’