As salaam alaikum,
Happy birthday to me! I'm twweeeennttty-three...plus three. :)
Okay, so yes, I'm 26. Twenty-six. Veinte seis. Vinte seis.
When I turned 25, for about three months leading up to it, I lamented the meaning of the year for me, my becoming older, more adult, exiting the 15-24 youth demographic for good (yes). But so many good things happened to me during this past year, I mean, alhamdulillah!
No more doom and gloom, I can look at 26 with a lot more optimism. In spite of myself and what experience I now have under my belt, arguably I have become more idealistic than I have been in past years. I have a better vision of what I want for my life and all I want to achieve. Whereas I said with my lips or in my head, maybe, before that anything is possible in God's world, I now believe it to be true. With one more year marking one more year of experience, of knowledge of the evil that is rampant in the world, perpetuated by the beings that God created to inhabit it, with a greater awareness of atrocity and injustice...I look back in the mirror at myself, alive, bright eyed and invigorated.
The implicit loss of innocence with age and experience does not weigh on my soul as I thought it would. Instead, it makes more real, more alive to possibilities to make right what is wrong and is in my power, to work together with others who I'm discovering share my ever-developing vision and fulfill the purpose of my life. It's made me more adventurous, more gutsy, more willing to err in order to learn, in order to consider myself, as I always was before, among the truly repentant.
Except now, everything is more real to me, because I understand more its nature, and I understand more the actual process of life.
So, in summary...(wry smile)...26 is like I've aged back a little bit. It's like I turned 24 from 25 and will be going backwards. It is enlightened, it is innocent and starkly aware even more of this innocence, the persistence of this innocence always, if protected. Twenty-six is like my first birthday as a real adult, if I hijack that 15-24 youth demographic designation and launch into 25-44. I feel like I'm new again, it's my first birthday again, and as someone no longer clinging to a emotionally turbulent but necessary adolescence, I can move forward to be actually who I've always wanted to be.
But it's a thin line. What's a thin line? Sigh.
I logged on to FB to see all of the people who left me birthday wishes on my wall. A lot of people have. And I know, as someone who scans to see who's had a birthday on facebook and sends out messages based on that (albeit personal messages), this is no big issue.
However, and unfortunately so, I was softened when I saw that MTQ had left me a happy birthday wish.
I had to step back like, errrkkk, what's going on with this? I have B now (though he has yet to tell me happy birthday...not that I'm keeping track, but my dentist office told me happy birthday before he did...they sent a cute e-card and everything! It made me want to set up a dentist appointment when I go home in a month...but I digress). I am happy. MTQ is history, only to be revived as the character Sadiq in "A Man's Hands," and as the basis of Mo in A Rose Much Desired. Heh.
So why did I soften? Why was I happy that he has kept up the annual tradition since I told him that I liked him by email after I had graduated college and was sure I was never going to see him again? Because it's true...he didn't tell me happy birthday on facebook (though we've been facebook friends for the same period that we've been friend friends) before I told him that I used to like him...back in the day...
And the answer is...it's a thin line. What, between love and hate? No...a thin line between forgetting and not forgetting, between importance and insignificance. Misguided as it was, and as much as I realize what real love and an actual relationship is now, and as much as he is sho-nuff married now...he's still going to make me smile. He's still going to be somehow special to me. That's it, flat out, end of story, boom.
And I think the more and the sooner I realize that, the sooner I'll desist with the self-floggings.
Seriously. Yes, I'm with B, and he's awesome and here. He fits more into my life, we're both grown folks so we know more what we're doing and what we want. That's excellent. But a first love(-ish...if I don't count, you know, the loves of childhood) is always going to be that. The memories of good times, the memories of imagined significance, and the overall good person that MTQ actually is.
It made me smile that he still made an effort to wish me a happy birthday, and that he has for the past three years, even when belated.
Es tan corto el amor, y tan largo el olvido.
Because you'll never forget. And old habits (of thought) die hard.