26 September 2013

The Difference Ten Years Make

I used to worry so much that I didn't have enough time. I remember a few years ago, well new into my twenties, I was calculating how much time I had and how old I would be or should be before I accomplished this and that. I was always good at that--worrying. Of course, now, I can't even remember what the hell I was planning so far ahead for. Maybe New York, or London, or film school--one of those far fetched dreams I used to carry around so arduously in my pockets--those things too big a dream for a middle class employee like myself could attain in the years so fresh as her twenties.

"I have ten years 'til thirty," I told my mom. "Ten years."

I remember this conversation vividly. I was panicking, acting like turning thirty was as good as a sentence to life in prison. Like everything would end there. And like somebody doomed to be incarcerated, I was complaining that I didn't have enough time.

"What are you saying?" my mom's eyebrows furrowed as she turned to me. "Where were you ten years ago?"

Wow. I was ten years old, ten years ago. I was in fifth grade.

And during that conversation, I was twenty, graduated from college, and working at a pretty neat advertising firm in the city. I was paying taxes, for crying out loud.

I always try to go back to this conversation whenever I find myself needing reminding that though we have plans for ourselves, things will only eventually happen it its own due course. And that time will neither be early nor late when it does, finally, fall into your lap. I've heard a lot of contradicting statements claiming either life being merely a game of luck, or that men are the makers of their own luck. And though I do believe fate, as one may call it, I can't also stand firmly on this. After all, you can't win the lottery if you don't buy a ticket.

Through all that has happened this year, and there have been a lot, I can only say that, more than the things that did happen, I'm quite thankful for all the things that didn't. I've learned significant things about myself in the mere past months, and, really, right now, I can say that I feel pretty happy. It was a bumpy ride to here, but here's pretty great. There's this letter by John Steinbeck to his son, Thom, which ends with an amazing quote I try to live by: "If it is right, it happens — The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away." These words make me feel okay towards the things I can't have, and utterly thankful for the things I do.

The thing is, people always thought that change happens as things fall and grow back again with the years. But I found out that it's not always like that. Some changes happen overnight. And those, most usually, are the best ones.

"If you are lucky, you stop seeing the world as a series of things you do not have — a boyfriend, a baby, an adorable terrier – and you start noticing the things you do have. A healthy bank account, unburdened by mortgages or school loans. No romantic ties. Loving parents who wanted nothing but happiness for me. Years to burn. That kind of freedom is like a command from the universe to get off your ass and do something amazing." --Every Woman Should Travel Alone

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