>Or just older. I’m still not on the other side of 30 yet but once you’ve crossed 25 and you’re inching towards that figure, you can sense the subtle changes in and around you. The worldview begins to alter, at first subtly so that you can take it in calmly, and then it comes like a sock in the face, throwing you totally off-balance.
Right now, I think I’m in the middle of those two stages. I still feel young, but so much older than last year: there seem to be more than 12 months that have passed in this last year.
This time last year, we – The Guy and I – were so busy socialising with friends and friends of friends and their friends. But in the last 12 months or so, we’ve unconsciously sorted and sifted from our long list of acquaintances people whom we really care to be with, people whom we can look forward to meeting without thinking of what we should wear. The others have gradually disappeared from our lives without so much as our realising it. Now, it’s more about hanging out with our bunch of friends, having effortless conversations, enjoying the comfortable silence between us or even being reprimanded for getting too drunk! We’re this really social couple, but we don’t care any longer about making new friends. There’s just no time or energy for it now – this long-drawn process of initiating conversations, finding common ground and finally bonding. After a hard day’s work, you want to be with people who know you like white wine better than red or Carlsberg better than Kingfisher.
And the conversations are slowly veering towards investments and children. And diapers, schools, ayahs and child-rearing in general. I don’t even remember what my friends with children used to talk about before they became mums and dads! The Guy and I have no notes to share with them, but we’re still part of those conversations that make us feel like we’re old enough to be parents. When did we stop being young and just-married, footloose and fancy free? When did we start thinking about insurance policies, mutual funds and PPF accounts?
Must have happened around the same time that we started referring to college students as “kids”! In the last week, I’ve attended two parties where the average age of guests was about 20 years. At one of the parties, there was a really cute boy totally checking me out. And I could only look at him and think what a kid he is! It felt horrible to not feel my nerves tingle just a little bit under his glare. It felt horrible that I just didn’t care that he was staring at me so unabashedly and all I could give him back was a patronising look of ‘you-don’t-know-how-much-older-I-am-than-I-look’. Their music is different, their moves are different. And there is a freshness on their face, a sparkle in their eyes that makes me feel old. My exuberance for life seems lacklustre before theirs probably because I’ve seen enough of life to stop dreaming with my eyes open! Remember what I said about growing old, because I no longer can believe in my dreams? It’s true, I think, even when I’m not feeling low.
There are so many other things that no longer seem the same: the clothes I pick up, the shoes I wear, the junk jewellery I can no longer get myself to wear, the funky stuff I still love but relate only to college days… The mellowing down, dispensing advice, speaking from experience – it all reeks of a slow process of aging. It’s the same process that forces you to opt for facials more often, to check your calorie count more carefully and wear the kohl in your eyes a little thinner. It’s more than just in the mind, I say. And you?