Sunday, July 04, 2010

The End of an Era

I have a birthday coming up and it's a special one. 28, you see, was to have been 5 years from the time I completed my formal studies and in that time I was to have sorted out a great many things about my life or at least know where I was headed in certain matters. I was also to have accomplished quite a few entirely personal goals.

Stated like that, it sounds a shade over-ambitious. But I was fairly pragmatic when I made the list. I knew I wanted to be married by 28, hopefully a mum, and I wanted to have achieved a certain amount of independence.

...

I've learnt to drive and I've learnt to cook. I still do both with some hesitation but I think I can claim to be both a driver and a cook. I am learning the basics of financial management, going beyond the stage of making my salary last the month to also learning to save a little willy-nilly. Since I can be quite parsimonious, a bigger achievement would probably be my learning to spend. I can now happily claim to have learnt to splurge over a thousand on a meal, a pair of shoes, a dress -- something I would never have done before.

I have learnt to be kinder to my body. That was sorely necessary and yes, that pun was entirely intentional. The most unexpected milestone I crossed was suddenly becoming comfortable in my own skin. Admittedly I have much to be comfortable about. I am neither very thin nor very fat. I do have nice hair and my face gets me by. Nor am I unbearably hairy nor prone to much illness. On the other hand, like any self-respecting young girl I have moaned over my shape, my weight, my hair, my complexion, everything ever since I woke up to the fact that I could. Somehow though, somewhere down the line, I grew to quite like the body I live in, weak knees, stretch marks and all. It's heavier now and I no longer fit into my Uni clothes, but the little bulges around the midriff and the thicker arms seem more in keeping with the person I want to be than that skinny-minny I was used to seeing in the mirror.

I learnt to keep my hair long and I really enjoyed the fall and the weight of it. I have wanted long hair since I was a little girl. And then, quite suddenly, I found myself cutting it all off and now the memories feel like a distant, pleasant dream. Short hair feels more natural to me.

I'm learning to turn my aptitude for sewing to some purpose. That is proving to be great fun. I have accepted my lack of creativity and am mostly satisfied with the degrees of ingenuity I occasionally reach. I have many extremely creative friends, so it was not easy accepting that I would never achieve what came to them so effortlessly, but on the other hand, what I find commonplace is not easy for a lot of other people I know, so I really oughtn't complain.

I have held down a full-time, fairly conventional job for an acceptable length of time and I've freelanced, earning myself pocket money. I have learnt to value my financial independence very highly. I don't think I could live to be financially dependent ever again.

I have learned to live with both my father and my mother-in-law, and they (mostly) with me. But I better cross my fingers and touch wood when I say that!

My biggest achievement has been my relationship with Rahul rather than Vicky. Rahul and I have our good days and bad but the bond holds true for all the strain we put on it. I have grown to value it more than I used to. Having motherhood thrust upon me made me take it for granted, but these days, when I count my blessings, I include Pintsize.

I have carped my diems in so many ways that looking back on the last 18 years is mostly as pleasurable as it should be. I have travelled alone and travelled with a young kid. I have run away for secret holidays and honeymooned in Benaras. I got married in the most conventional way to a most appropriate 'boy' without compromising too badly on what I wanted out of marriage. I have learned to discuss marital troubles, rock music, dosa pindi, baby slings and PSUs with equal ease. And I can tie both a dhoti and a saree. In more ways than the one each.

I have been turning over my failures in the last few days. My friends talked sense into me when I felt the full weight of them. And yet, all my regrets fade into nothing next to my biggest one. But then I remind myself that I'm turning 28, not 78. Hopefully I can one day make amends.

20 comments:

Rohini said...

That sounds like a lot! You've done good!

Chinky said...

Happy Birthday!

In five years, I hope to have learnt how to drape a sari, drive and knit/sew.

indiequill said...

Happy Birthday, darlin'! Sounds like a good life to me!

My own personal benchmark is 33. What's good enough for Jesus Christ, etc. And I don't think I'm getting married or a PhD by the time that rolls around because you know what happened when I grew up? My goals changed because I changed as a person. Of course, I also don't plan to die by then which was another part of my master plan.

Sigh. Teenagers.

palsworld said...

Happy Birthday Sue! Hope u have a great 28th birthday, one that you can look back on in fondness just as u can with ur life.

And, I hope to learn to cook, wear a sari well and sew in the next one year :) Highly optimistic? Probably!

Sue said...

Ro -- Yeah, mostly I'm quite smug about life. :)

Chinky -- Only the driving will take you 5 years.

Indie -- Thanks dude. One part that changed was wanting to finish my French diplome. I certainly don't want to do that any more!

Pallavi -- Depends on how much you know already, right? Mona at babystory.wordpress.com is planning to start posting recipes. Hers are pretty idiot-proof so if you're planning to cook, that's a good place to start.

Gayatri said...

- Neat :)
- Happy Birthday :D

Mona said...

well done, baby sue :)
and the recipes will be at www.monas.wordpress.com :)

and haha, the word verifictaion for this post is aryoGULT
:D

ummon said...

happy birthday sue.

R's Mom said...

hey happy 28th birthday..thats quite a list huh :)

Parul said...

Nice post, Sue, very contemplative. Have a delightful birthday and here's to many more lists that can completely crossed off.

kbpm said...

You Go Girl!

shub said...

Is it today? Happy birthday.
I turned 29 (gasp!) yesterday.
Word verification is gersac. Geriatric sack?!

Padma said...

Happy 28th Birthday Sue! I can't wait for your 'Just turned 30' post though!

Mama - Mia said...

Happy Happy to you Sue!

as honest as ever! :) may next five be even better!

cheers!

abha

Poppins said...

What a beautiful post. You forgot to add to your list that you write like a dream!

JustAnotherBlogger said...

Seems to me you have done pretty darn awesome :)

Belated birthday wishes.

Munchkin said...

I turned 28 this year too and identify with a lot of your achievements. Especially about getting comfortable with motherhood and my body. I have also starting knowing the person I am and quite frankly,I like her!

Still on my to do list is :-
1. Get a job I lurrve
2. Make peace with my Mum

Ah but tomorrow is another day :)

Sue said...

Gayatri, Ummon, R's Mom, KBPM, JustAnotherBlogger -- Thanks.

Mon -- :P

Parul -- I made one with 28 items for when Rahul was out of town. This morning I threw the paper out because I'd actually finished all those tasks. I love lists!

Shub -- LOL

Padma -- It'll probably be less contemplative. My next big marker is 32, but turning 30 should be fun. How about you?

Abha -- Thanks, babe. Gosh, in another five years Cubs and Rahul will be such big boys!

Popsicle -- Aww, flattery will get you everywhere with me. ;)

Just not out of blogging so don't even expect it.

Avanti -- Where's your blog??? I can't find it anywhere. Making peace with parents is a toughie. They are so uncooperative!

Munchkin said...

Hey Sue,
I moved to wordpress a while back.
http://themunchkinblog.wordpress.com/

Sue said...

Avanti -- Thanks. I was looking for your non-mommy blog. Didn't you have one? Anyway, got this link saved.