I recently turned 36. It is quite an ordinary age to be. Yet turning 36 feels quite odd. It envelops me in strange thoughts on the linear progression and symmetry of my life.
I’ve crossed over from 30 something to almost 40. Yet, I don’t feel a day over 26. Parts of my soul are trapped in various formative ages of my life. I have a 5-year old self. I have a teenage self. I have a 20 something self. Somewhere along the way, my soul hard-braked at 26. My body ages, but my soul refuses to move on.
Sometime this year, I would have spent exactly half my life in India and half my life in the USA. By 2019, I would have spent more than 50% of my life in the USA. It feels surreal. I struggled for years with my dual-identity as an immigrant. I tussled to balance my Indian roots and my American identity. I’ve finally managed to find comfort in my dual-identities. Now time wants me to grapple with shifting ratios.
These odd quandaries aside, 2017 was an extraordinary year for me. I know 2017 has been shitty in many ways. For me though, it was one of the best years of my life. It was like a coming of age. I felt that I had finally figured out adulting.
I began 2017 as a homeowner. I have now completed an entire year of homeownership. There were a few fumbles and challenges. Here I am now, living the American dream. Not broke yet. Touchwood. Homeownership has been extra special because I am finally living the life I always dreamed of.
I’m living downtown close to city center rather than suburbs. It is a foodie paradise with tons of great restaurants and bars nearby. Best of all I’m living the commuter life. I bus, bike or walk everywhere. My car only gets used during winters or visiting the suburbs. Outside of winter, I’m living a healthy life. Dare I say, I’m slightly a millennial hipster.
In addition, I changed jobs late fall. It was essentially a raise and a promotion. The most exciting part was that my former boss helped me land my new gig. I’ve always been insecure about my abilities. I am smart, creative, talented and have an excellent work ethic. Yet, I’ve always struggled to be assertive about it. Moving up to bigger better things and earning the trust of others definitely gave me the confidence I needed.
Overall it feels great to be an immigrant woman of color enjoying financial success. 2017 and the Trump administration has been all about suppressing immigrants, people of color and queer people. Here I am thriving. It might not mean much in the grand scheme of things. In my own small way though, I’m here to stay. You will not deny me my dreams.
On a personal level, I finally learned to overcome my depression and personal anxieties. I’m finally the person I once was as a teenager. A friendly sociable person with a great sense of humor. I’m still an introvert and somewhat shy person. I don’t often initiate conversations and socialize in small groups. But I don’t actively avoid social interactions or feel anxious during social occasions.
In other notable events. I got my first tattoo last summer. I clocked a personal best in distance and speed for a recreational bike ride. I saw my first total solar eclipse.
2018 is off to a bright start. I’ll be visiting Taiwan in February. It will be a brand new country for me. I’m also planning a camping road trip to Colorado. I’m looking forward to what life has in store for me.
The past year or so in my life can be explained by a framed print. My parents have always had this framed print at home that intrigued me. It was a picture of trees in the moonlight. But the highlight was the quote “Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.”
I’ve always been a dreamer. I can daydream like nobody’s business. I have in my mind an infinite set of dreams. I assumed that I would grow up to be the happiest person on earth.
But the second half was something I never truly understood. I relentlessly chased all my dreams. Only to become a miserable person disappointed by the realization that dreams don’t come true.
It is only in the past few years that I’ve truly started understanding what it means. The first and hardest step is being able to distill the dreams. To find those deeply personal dreams that will enrich you. The price to make dreams come true is not hard work or piety. The price is in the risks you take and the failures you will embrace. You find happiness irrespective of the outcome because you were ready to pay the price.
Cover Image: Photo by Nina Uhlíková from Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-standing-on-hand-rails-with-arms-wide-open-facing-the-mountains-and-clouds-725255/