And the Mascara Stays On

July 5, 2016, was the best day of the year past. Because it was one of my worst birthdays ever. I turned 30, the half-mark goal of life (a conservative me pegs my life ending at 60), and I wanted it to be a day I remember. I was afraid that a pessimistic me would mope about how I was drifting through life aimlessly, how I was inching closer to the end and how I was still single. So I wanted to turn it into a celebration; think of all the people in my life who are unconditionally supportive, be grateful that I had survived another year despite all the adversity and that instead of being trapped in a dysfunctional relationship, my singledom at least opened up the possibility of me finding real love.

You know what the learning at the end of that day was? That no matter how much you plan your party (even literally), if it isn’t meant to be, it won’t be.

I spent time, effort, money in planning the entire day. In the end, the people I wanted to spend it with couldn’t make it. That feeling, when you’re all decked up, of catching yourself in the mirror one last time and walking out the door, only to have to turn back inside the next instant, is not pleasant. In this mini-defeat, as I kicked off my heels, wrapped up my fancy dress and returned to my PJs, I had an epiphany – that this year of 30 was not going to be anything like the previous years had been. Because I wouldn’t let it. For far too long I had let external situations mould me. For once, I was going to take control.

The beginning of the change came at a cost. Three days later I took my bestie and her sister out for dinner and the next three weeks I dealt with a migraine as a repercussion. August brought with it a guy who did well to shake my faith with regards to dating; the non-judgemental me gave him an opportunity (or maybe, it’s a Cancerian thing) and a disrespectful him chose to humiliate me instead. That chapter took a month to shut down, and while that was twenty-nine days too many, at least it ended. I hustled for the next three weeks. Working anywhere between 12-18 hour days, nights, weekends. Only towards the end of September, as work slacked, the realisation hit me. Of how life was truly getting de-railed.

It also was around this time that I begin to let go of my inhibitions. I started talking to people outside of my work sphere, meeting them, having long chats. Each day brought me closer to a brilliant realisation – that nothing is impossible. If I wanted to travel the world, all I needed was my passport and a backpack. If I wanted to write my book, all I had to do was sit down with my Mac and let my fingers take control of the keyboard. Heck, if I wanted to go on a space mission, I just had to get to the NASA HQ. On second thoughts, maybe they would laugh in my face (best outcome) or get me committed to an institute (worst outcome). So perhaps, strike off the space mission thing. But at least I could achieve other, terrestrial things.

As I crossed border after border in Europe, October made me resolute; I had to make space and time for things that would draw me closer towards my life plan and discard anything – people, projects, pet peeves – that cluttered my life. So coming back home in November, the first thing I did, was to resign from my job I’ve worked at for five years. Not nearly an easy decision, but one that I made anyway.

From mid-way February this year, I will have made time for myself. Discounting hours taken to eat, sleep, shower and play, I would still have a good 14 hours a day to devote to anything I choose, no excuses. And so, I have all these little goals set up. Some of them are to unleash my creativity. Some to lend more depth to my personality. One way or another, I must edge closer towards, what SB calls, building our empire.

When I woke up in the middle of the night tonight, I saw myself in the mirror, still wearing the mascara I had on, from the previous evening. Somehow, in the exhaustion of sleep claiming me, after I got back home at midnight, I thought not for a second of taking it off. And that’s probably the way the rest of the year will be.

2017 is the year of promises, resolutions, of laughing a lot, of loving a lot more. Sleep, pain, exhaustion, stress, depression – all shall serve as hindrances, they have always been the reason for my dementor days. But as long as the mascara stays on, I shall be able to look at the girl in the mirror, staring back at me, and smiling, because I will love the image of her. And everything, she has decided to take on.

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