This year I am turning thirty. Unlike most of my friends, the prospect doesn’t terrify me, I don’t expect vultures to start circling my house the minute the clock strikes 00:00 on my birthday eve. Quite the contrary; I expect my skin to stop erupting in pimples, my hair to get its act together and the mysteries of the universe to reveal themselves to me. My greatest expectation however, is that from 30 on I will gain wisdom from past experiences and hopefully avoid any of the negativity that came with them.
Sometimes as I walk, my stepping forward on autopilot while my mind revisits places past, I grimace and feel the deep anguish and I wrestle with my own emotions. “Why did I ever do that? Why didn’t I do that instead?” What makes it so devastating is knowing that most of my heartache was self-inflicted. One such incident happened when I was in highschool. I was new and going through that adolescent phase of contemplating my existence; where I belonged in the pecking order. I had a crush on a boy with model perfect looks. While walking down a flight of stairs, I skipped a few and ended up tumbling down jack & Jill style. I was armed with a fruit filled lunch box for recess and my crush stood at the bottom of the stairs awaiting my ungainly descent. I went down somersaulting head first, my uniform skirt flew up (almost over my head) like an inverted parachute revealing Disney’s beauty and the beast underwear. I don’t think I need to explain the implications of a highschool student dawning Disney underwear. My hands were flapping and flailing everywhere trying to break my fall but alas, I went crashing to the floor. My lunchbox lay empty and the floor was strewn with grapes, apples, a banana and crumpled Oreos. I hurriedly raised myself up and tried to remain as cool and composed as possible. I gathered up my lunchbox and fruit I could before evaporating from the scene leaving behind roaring laughter in my wake. I felt my insides liquefy and hoped for death- surely that would be less awful an experience.
Now, fifteen-ish years on, not much has changed. I am still shamefully clumsy and any situation could turn potentially awkward or embarrassing, but I’m still proverbially standing. I left my miniscule hometown where the rumor mill never stops turning, and built a new life on another continent. The problem was and often times still is getting caught up in my own thoughts, thinking things were awkward when they weren’t, thinking signs meant things that they didn’t or mistakenly thinking people were friends when they were not. My greatest expectation however, is that from 30 on I will be mindful of the wisdom I gained from past experiences. I always hope to avoid any of the negativity that comes with attaining this wisdom and I venture to think I am not alone in this. Nobody enjoys going through the lows of life but it is where we gain something: experience, knowledge, strength, etc. We always gain something needed in preparation for whatever the future needs us to face.