My previous birthdays found me in almost the same space. Hopeful that my life would take a better turn. Dreamy. With a full list of places I wanted to travel to and the books I wanted to read.
It was nice when I achieved some of those dreams. But at that point when I was making them, what mattered is that I had hope. That there was a bit of me that was so sure she would get to a village in Mozambique one day. And that meant being alive for a bit longer. Which was what birthdays were all about.
That I made it this far. Somehow.
Last year’s birthday, it felt like a wedding. My life was changing. What had served me all those years was no longer useful. And so that particular birthday felt like I was handing over myself to a new self. That I didn’t know how it would turn out. But I had no choice really.
Sometimes we outgrow our selves.
This time round, I felt older. I said that jokingly, but i meant it. This time in my being,I could feel myself.
And this is what my recent birthday has been about. All my selves settling in nicely. That finally every self that I have lived, feels safe enough to settle in me at the same time.
It’s a weight. But a settling weight. The kind that prevents one from being carried by the wind.
At first it felt way different. I’m used to closing parts of myself as if they are chapters that shall never be opened again. I’m used to dealing with my past life as if it is a past life and not a life that I have lived recently. Like rooms with doors with padlocks.
But not this time. They all opened and came into the big room that is year 26. I’m now 26 years. All of my selves are here with me.
Frankly, it’s an honour that I made it to this point. I don’t know whether I shall ever drop the idea that I was never going to make it past 25. 25 for me was the time I discovered that it had never occurred to me that I would live to see year 25 and beyond.
And yet here I am.
And yet here I am.