1997 in his 50s. | :: thoughts ::

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Last Thursday, I turned 20. I woke up with a renewed sense of energy as if I hadn’t felt it before. It scared me to think there was something wrong about the spontaneity of my genuine excitement for the day. I looked forward to treating myself with a gift, but I kept having the reaction that I didn’t deserve it. There was an automatic gesture in me that pushed me to leave the celebration behind and work on the ways on how I could prosper in my life and career. The party could wait.

As I walked to my morning language class, I thought about the passing of my teen years and the privileges I now lost. I’d tried to remember what a usual teenager would do during his teen years and I only came up with a short list:

  1. He would want to grow his circle of friends so he would reach out to strangers and that would be just easy for him as he knows how to handle a talk and is confident;
  2. He would not create a list of priorities;
  3. He would be reckless at times;
  4. He would sometimes, if not often, ditch his responsibilities and explore his world through his ways;
  5. He could slack and just do the things tomorrow;
  6. He would want to drink, smoke, go to parties, be with the wrong people, have sex anywhere he wants, and just define it as ‘relaxation’;
  7. He would not care about what the others think of him, even his parents;

Of course, the list is just a theory, but it got stuck in my mind as to how many from the list had I done in the past. Well, if not one, then zero.

Then it hit me how boring and elusive my teen years were. I didn’t have a lot of friends because I didn’t know how to talk to people (in general), and I didn’t feel the need to have tons. I was fine with the small circle I had and I would only seek out others if I needed something from them.

I didn’t have a list of priorities, but I knew I had them even without writing them down. Mine were long-term goals that up until today would be impossible to achieve. I had no room to be reckless because everything should be done to perfection without a scrape or scratch. I could never ditch the responsibilities I imposed to myself, do nothing today, or spend a wild night, partying. I had to work my way to the top and beat my previous best.

After the class, I picked up my bag and made a run to the door. I wanted to leave as soon as possible. As I stepped into the train’s cabin, I forgot the reason I should be excited for the day. Because my birthday was not an excuse for me to enjoy the day. Because I should study for an entrance exam in July. Because there was a breaking news and I should know about it. Because I had to keep the image of a ‘responsible, young man.’ Because I couldn’t let the day slip without achieving anything. Because it was just another day and soon I would forget about it.

I reached the street to my house, but I slowed down this time. I’d always wanted to overachieve at this young era of mine—to be the best among my age and be just that. But the longer I bear this need, the more I miss everything and become stagnant. I want to do all the things I want that it becomes cancerous to me, and leads me astray and to the path where I succeed at nothing.

I was on the verge on crying, but I stopped myself because it was my birthday, all right? But I sighed and looked up to the gray skies, the light shower of the rain descended, and I surrendered myself to my exhaustion.

I was tired. I wanted to sleep. I wanted to rest. I wanted to be healthy without restrictions. I wanted to just breathe and do nothing. But the stronger force surged and it was the first time I hoped it would not win.

I took my time walking and noticed the street had an English pub. Next to it was an ice cream store, followed by an Italian bar. Across the shops, there was a school, squashed between the two apartment buildings. I headed on the other side of the road and there was a bakery to my left. A hair salon opened beside it. Ah, it was a hardware shop after that salon. Then, a lottery store.

I turned to my right and took the long way to my house. I wanted to see if there were more shops in this street that I didn’t see before. Then the excitement hummed in me again. Then a real smile on my lips.

I might have turned 20 today, but I felt as if my soul was already in his 50s. At that moment, I shut down my old soul and powered on the ‘forgotten’ teen years. I didn’t know what would happen today or the day after, but I was scared. Yet I let the thinking go for once and savor the last hours of my birthday. Tomorrow could wait.


Thank you for reading this story. If you want to talk about random things with me, do not hesitate to reach me through my “Contact” page. All the best love, my dear.


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