Two weeks ago, one of my closest friends turned 36. As is customary in our friendship of over a decade and a half, I didn’t gush about our love for each other on a public platform. Back then, when we got to know each other there was no Facebook or Snapchat, but there was Orkut and something else of the sorts, yet we didn’t fall for any of it when it came to our display of affection. I didn’t call her at the stroke of midnight, either. I love 12 am wishes, but I rather not wake up this new mommie to a lovely baby boy (and my lovely four-year-old niece, as well) to tell her she’s a year older. I felt it could wait until next morning, noon or evening. We will talk when she has the time, I told myself. When she didn’t take my call (in the morning), I left her a message to call me back. She replied, before calling back later. Her words had me grinning: P, I can’t wait to be 40 — it sounds liberating to me.
We spoke, our unconventional birthday chat, and it made us realise that how we were living (heading to, as well) the most interesting and beautiful decade of our lives. Yes, each decade of our lives is unique, but 30s is special and perhaps 40s far more — and, I really don’t mean it the ‘40s is the new 30s’ way.
To begin with, 30s is old, but yet not very old i.e. if age bothers you a lot. For me, it’s a number that makes you lovelier, think grape beverage or cheese. There are still a whole lot of weddings to attend, our friends continue to give us reasons to dress up well, dance until we drop, and pose for pictures without looking silly. Our kids are growing up, but not yet grown-up. They still need us for tying their shoelaces, signing their report cards, pocket money, advice on relationships — they are still living with us and not in hostel dorms. They’re independent, but yet not there.
Most of us have stable jobs, yet we know that there is still time to leave it all behind to pursue that lifelong dream. We’re practical enough, but believe that risk is not a terrible thing. We’re not open to making new friends, but occasionally give strangers a chance. We’re stubborn about many things – from what we eat to how we work or spend our weekends, how we dress up to how we speak, but the word ‘change’ is not obsolete in our dictionary.
Yes, there’s a dark side too. We attend many funerals, but there are more birthdays to attend in comparison. Our closed ones are ageing, but a few are still around. We’ve suffered heartbreaks, but we’ve found the courage to stand back on our feet. We have realised and accepted that tears will lie ahead, but we’ve had our share of experiences to learn how to chase that smile, once again.
It’s a beautiful decade, indeed. Come on, aren’t you tempted to sing, ‘These are the best days of my life…Summer of ’69, err, 2017.’ I am. Which explains whey 30s feel so liberating, as for 40s being far more liberating, I will get back to you on that — it’s some cakes away. I can’t wait, either.
P.S: That’s how friendships look like in the 30s. You don’t announce your love on a social media site, but take the liberty to pen down an entire column in a national paper and get away with it. Also, I’ve never called her my bestie. Back then, our vocabulary included words like best friend and girlfriend, and we’ve decided to stick to that.