In October 2012, I turned 29.
I had friends contacting me on different channels, and some of them making up some plans. But, what did I do? I stayed holed up in my room all day, accompanied by a bottle of Absolut, and a pack or more of Marlboro lights.
And what was the thought that kept me in that morbid state the whole day, detached from everyone I know? The fact that I was only one year away from turning 30!
Here I was, living up my life, in the prime of my life, and the number 30 loomed rather heavily over me. It was meant to be, I told myself. But, I also told myself immediately – it was earlier than I thought! I felt like my life had barely begun, and I was becoming old already. I had not bungee-jumped, I didn’t do a skydive yet, I didn’t do an open-water dive yet. Hell, I couldn’t even swim in water properly! And here I was, just one year away from the dreaded 30.
Of all the things that I had done that day, I had taken a stock of my life. Not for the pathetic prelude of a dreaded number, but to see how prepared I was for it. And for the first time ever, I tried to make birthday resolutions, and stick to them.
Today, I AM 30!
As the midnight hour approached on the 23rd, I could have been on a flight to Koh Samui or Bali, could have been pissed drunk somewhere in Singapore, could have been blowing away candles or doing pint rushes. But I was at home. Alone. Had some company till 11, but managed to successfully even push her away before midnight. I have not replied to all those good friends wishing me a happy birthday. And have been holed up at home, and then at the office.
All I wanted to do, was be alone. Reflect. Recompose. Remonstrate. Reconcile my inner differences.
And having reached that dreaded number of 30, I want to revisit those resolutions I made the last year, and see where I stand. This is personal introspection, so if it does not interest you, the reader, please go back to the MILF porn that you have paused or the presentation that you minimized.
I had lived a rather healthy life till the end of my college days. But after employment, life made me a different man; a desk job spoilt me in the mornings and money spoilt me in the evenings. I was having fun, I was content. Which meant that I was drinking and eating like someone who was prosperous enough to afford it. But I was also out-of-shape, even overweight. On my 29th birthday, I had weighed in around 110 kilos. Smoking like a chimney made me pant after a minute of playing basketball, a sport in which I had captained my college. And the frequent alcoholism finally started manifesting in subtle migraines and not-so-subtle hangovers, which have increased since then.
Resolution: Get healthy. Don’t go into your 30’s with a beer belly. Quit smoking. Drink alcohol, but like a man of reason would.
Current status: Since the last birthday, I’ve been working out religiously, at least 2 times a week. And it shows. As of today, I stand at 90 KG, a clean 20 kg drop from previous year. I am eating very healthy now, I know what an Atkins diet is, I know what my nutritional requirements are, and what proteins and complex carbs I need for my daily sustenance. My fat % dropped from 34% to 17%, and is further going down. I can backpack Spain for 10 days straight, or bicycle around Jeju for 3 days and not feel tired. I actually feel younger.
My alcoholism has normalized, and I am truly a social drinker now. The only bad spot seems to be on the smoking. I’ve tried every strategy to quit, but I have failed ridiculously on all accounts. Remind me to revisit this resolution after a year.
I fell in love with travel, and particularly travel photography, about 4 years ago. But then, it was all about official travel. There is nothing better than getting to see different countries, and knowing that you are not paying a penny for a thing!
But then, I never planned for any of those trips. And I was restricted to the countries I could visit, and the places I could go. I was restricted to what I could do during a trip. In effect, I slowly realized the difference between a traveler and business tourist. And until last year, I was mostly the latter.
Resolution: Travel the world. Not on business visa. And travel to places that you have never heard of. Live the budget traveler lifestyle. Couchsurf. Meet couchsurfers. Don’t give a fuck!
Status: I think I trumped this section of my resolution. 13 countries visited in the last 12 months. At least one trip every month. I maybe broke like an old table, but I have memories to show for it. And pictures in thousands.
I have been a very ambitious kid since my early 20’s, climbing up the corporate ladder quickly. I worked hard, put in late hours, managed to sacrifice a lot on my personal life. But I managed to grow. And then came a point a couple of years ago, when my youth started subsiding, and my experience started gaining the higher ground. And then came the realization that career is good, and worth the focus, but it is not worth giving up some of the best years of my life entirely.
Resolution: Give your 100% at work. But stop at 100. Don’t go the extra mile everyday. Don’t put in late hours, or work weekends, or promise unreasonable project timelines. In short, play by the goddamn book, and stop trying to write your own.
Status: Sense of super-accomplishment! Maintained a job, kept my boss happy, and developed an amazing work-life balance. Took up projects, whined about short timelines, maintained project budgets. Yeah, its all good.
Never been in a decent relationship for years now (the keyword there, is ‘decent’!). And it was not the stress of getting old, or the super-stress of family and friends. But, if I don’t have a relationship now, I might have better chances with the nurse at my old-age home. I knew what it was like to care for someone, but I guess its been a while, and I might as well have forgotten what it feels like.
Resolution: Keep yourself open to falling in love. Let your guard down. Think based on sobriety, not absolut vodka.
Status: Epic fails. Period. Remind me next year.
All the histrionics and dramatics aside, this post is simply me. Walking into my 30’s like a man with a motherfucking gun at his head. Am I scared of it? Not anymore! Am I freaking out? Not a bit now! Am I welcoming it? Now I am!
A good friend once told me – when I was 25 and he was 30 – that life begins at 30. I know our perspectives were different, but I can’t agree more with him at this pivotal junction of my life. I know what I plan to do in my 30’s. The countries that I will visit. The number of times I will hit the gym, working towards that elusive single digit body fat%. The stupid career mistakes that I will make. The women I will try to love, and who will push me away. The countless beers I will drink, and the countless hangovers I will have to cope with.
The life I will live.
And that life will be good. Because life begins at 30, people.
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