Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Age angst

I am expecting a quiet birthday this Saturday, as compared to my 25th last year. For one thing, based on my experience, weekend birthdays tend to be less eventful than weekday ones since I don't have work and I usually reserve the time for my family. For another, I have to attend my Business Chinese class in the morning, which in all honesty is as dry and interesting as a piece of unbuttered toast (and similarly, is never an ideal way to start the day). I have nothing planned for lunch or the afternoon, so dinner out with my family and Auntie Nene is going to be the highlight of the day. Part of me feels a little down at the prospect of having a not-so-memorable birthday, given that the bar has been set so high in previous years (this is all Openness' fault, really :p). But another part of me feels that it's appropriate for me to have a low-key celebration, because for the first time in my life, I have apprehensions about aging.

It's not that I mind turning a year older. In fact, I have never been 1 to bemoan the loss of my youth (I prefer the independence and experience of adulthood to the innocence and ignorance of childhood). But something about surpassing 25 makes me restless and anxious. Now that I have survived my turbulent teenage years and overcome quarter-life crisis, I'm not exactly sure what's next... and that scares me. Even more terrifying is the thought that there may be nothing left. What if this is all there is to my life? Sure, it's not as if I have anything to complain about: I've got a family who's always there for me, circles of fabulous friends, a stable source of income, a nice home, an active social calendar, and sufficient leisure time to read, travel, and pursue my interests. I also have many achievements under my belt that I know I can be proud of. I've done more with my life than the average 25-year-old, and by all accounts I should be feeling fulfilled and blessed.

Conversely, perhaps the very reason I'm uneasy about turning 26 is that there is still so much more I can do with my life, despite everything I should be content with. Maybe it's the infinite number of possibilities ahead that cows me so, the unsettling notion that my life could be more, that I could be more. After all, I still haven't been to Europe, I'm still not completely financially independent, I still want to return to teaching, and yes, I'm still single. I have yet to write my great Chinese-Filipino novel, get my driver's license, and work in a foreign country. There are Broadway musicals and rock concerts and Olympic events to watch, books to read, stories to write, parties to attend, and people to meet. There's actually so much I haven't done, even after 25 full years of living.

So maybe it's not that I'm getting old. It's that I'm just getting started. And I had better start making more out of my life before I DO get old.

With that said, I think I'm going to make lunch plans for Saturday after all, instead of puttering around the house like some tired grandma. And there's nothing like a nice, noisy get-together with friends to chase the birthday blues away. :)


At Wednesday, January 17, 2007, Anonymous jen ong said...

Look at it this way: you can make your 26th year more memorable by accomplishing some of those things you mentioned. I'm still looking forward to catching Wicked on Broadway with you :P

Oh,and I'm suddenly feeling a bit down about turning 19 as well. Final teenage year. Hohum.

At Wednesday, January 17, 2007, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

I was pretty relieved to say goodbye to my teenage years, and I still don't miss them now. I have a feeling you'll enjoy your 20s far more than your teens. We're a lot alike, after all, you and I. ;)

I definitely look forward to our Wicked date, Mini-me. =D


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