Did you know the Japanese have a coming-of-age holiday? So, every year, the second Monday of January is a national holiday to celebrate people who have crossed the age of 20 over the past year.
Congratulations, you are an adult! Eat, drink, and be merry! Of course, adult or not, it’s a fucking national holiday on a long weekend! What life!
But Japanese or not, they’ll all tell you age is just a number. It isn’t. It changes you, and you don’t even realize it. I didn’t, until recently.
A grey hair here, a crease there, and a wrinkle out of nowhere, there are enough and more signs of ageing. But the most telling aren’t these overt outbursts. They are subtler. I no longer look at myself in the mirror counting another grey hair. What I do notice is that frown on my forehead.
A line that keeps getting deeper trying to fix things that aren’t quite right. Even the small, negligible nothings.
The other day S and I were out for lunch and he spilled some salt on the table and I took a tissue out to wipe it. And then I put the salt, the pepper and some cutlery in an order, like they were all getting ready to go on stage to give a performance. Once I was satisfied, I then adjusted my kurta, got up, sat down, cleaned the chair. This exercise took about five minutes.
Astonished, and exasperated, he said: “Is it possible for you to just relax? Why does everything have to be perfect?”
The thing is, I didn’t think this was a big deal. But he told me, off late, I have become this person trying to do everything properly, in order, at work and otherwise. Over and over again, without actually realizing it. “You have become super finicky.” He finally said those dreaded words that really made me think.
I have to admit, I was a little taken aback. I never considered myself finicky, I always thought I was very adaptable.
Today, I can’t stand loud music or loud anything. It actually visibly makes me angry. Mediocrity in writing, reporting, in the movies, in music, in everyday products, in ideas, thoughts, actions just appalls me. There’s this obvious disregard for quality and the numerous short cuts to just finish the damn job that get my goat.
I am dismissive of outdated ideas even more than I was before. A few years ago, if I disagreed with you I would just tell you and end the conversation to avoid confrontation. And will probably never bring it up again. Or sometimes say nothing depending on who you are, someone much older, my boss or my best friend. Now, I vehemently disagree with you, no matter who you are.
It’s important to say what you really feel. Your time is important, and you have to be more judicious about how, with whom, and on what you spend it.
I think a lot of that has got to do with age. As you grow older, I feel, you’d want to spend your time doing more meaningful things. I know now that “whatever you want” isn’t making me happy.
I am less tolerant of people and things. I—would like to—put myself first. Do these other people care about me as much as I care about them? They don’t, and they get by.
Also, I am beginning to look back at life with a lot more fondness than I used to when I had just a few number of years crossed out on the calendar.
I hope, in this whole coming-of-age drama, I don’t reduce myself to some bitter, old cranky bitch, who no longer likes the way the calendar has been crossed.
PS: I am not PMS-ing.