Growing older is a strange thing. We mark the passing years with a celebration and scrupulously take note of the number of years we have lived. It’s just a number, sure, but I noticed a subtle change as I left behind my 20s and entered into my 30s. There is a new cautiousness to my approach to life, a cementing of routines and views.
To be honest, I dislike this intensely. I have the same desire to see the world as I always did, but it’s tempered by many things. One of them being my daughter. Every move I make, I have her in mind, even if it’s at the back of it. When I’m away from her, I feel an aching void in my heart. The idea of her growing up without me is unbearable. I’m sure every mother feels this way, but it might especially be true for me because of the years we spent, with just the two of us. I am her rock.
So I feel at odds. Some days I can barely breathe, I want to break free so bad. But I can’t. There’s this thing called responsibility. I have a home and husband and job. I have my daily routine, which simultaneously drives me to the brink and comforts me. I mourn the lost chances and the freedom I fleetingly had when younger. I don’t know if it’s a self-inflicted thing, or necessary or what, but the older we get, the more we seem to close the door on adventure and risk and really living life.
Another thing I’ve noticed is the realization that my life is a dust mote. A very unremarkable one. I’m one person among billions. Don’t we all begin life imagining we are destined for great things, even if it’s in the most secret part of ourselves? We will accomplish something. We won’t just live to work. Some people probably do achieve their true potential and live their dream lives but I suspect a lot of us just settle for the bare minimum. Surviving and putting away a little money and occasionally taking a vacation, if we’re lucky. When did we give up on our aspirations? For me, I dreamed of being a writer. A famous writer, of course. I would travel and write and meet fascinating people and more than just fame, which I don’t really care for when it comes down to it, would be the feeling of satisfaction. Of knowing that I was doing what I wanted to do and living a full life. That’s all I really want. To create, because we must create something to feel complete, and to more than just survive, but thrive.