The Wrong Side of The Tracks
For so long, I lived my life on the right side of the tracks - for 24 years, 364 days to be exact. I was young, carefree and never once stopped to look back. I was living my life on the right side of 25.
But all this changed in one horrible, and somewhat drunken, instant last year...My 25th birthday. No matter how hard I tried to ignore its coming and the impending doom I associated with it, there was no escaping what October 23, 2003 would do to me. And that was to make me not only another year older, but to thrust me forward into an age bracket - wanted or not - where I am supposed to be somewhat responsible for myself, somehow on track in realising my goals and ambitions, and somewhere in life where I can look back with a positive reflection of my life and schievements thus far.
After spending almost one year in what can only be described as some sort of limbo, (the limbo of being 25, the limbo of trying to kid yourself with "Well at least I'm not 26", the limbo of not wanting to let go of the past, the limbo of trying to face a new, older future with both eyes open), I will officially be living life on the wrong side of the tracks.
Growing up, the age of 25 represented a target age to me - I just knew that by age 25, I would be sorted and on my way - to where I didn't know but I never put too much thought into that, because at 25, I would be sorted! It was just going to magically happen.
Even as I turned 21, closing the gap between me and 25, I still didn't worry too much. Hell I had 4 more years ahead of me, and I just knew that time, somehow it would all fall into place. I would grow up somewhere within that, and BOOM, it would all be miraculously worked out once I hit 25.
Then in a moment of incredulity not too long after 24 hit me, I came to the understanding that I was probably not going to be sorted in any of the ways I had previously associated with turning 25. In fact, I was probably going to be less sorted than what I was at 21, and definitely less certain about what my future would bring me than at 18 as a highschool graduate! All of a sudden the conviction and assurance with what I would live my life from my 25th birthday forward, grasped the very real situation that I would not make good use of them yet, and instead tragedy and self-doubt revealed themselves as my new companions for the unsettling and scary future.
At least champaigne and tequila shots helped make my acquaintance with these new and unexpected feelings a little easier (and difficult to remember). By the time I woke up the day after my birthday, I felt like we were old friends.
It has taken me the last year to understand that your life does not simply work itself out. There is no special age where the meaning of life is revealed in all its glory so that life is one easy ride from there on. Life will always present a series of challenges and questions that cannot always be answered right away, but you can use your past experience to help you handle them in the best possible way. Errors will be made no matter how old you get - maybe it is just a matter of using your own life knowledge not to make the same mistake twice but instead to make progress to enrich yourself. I do know one thing, that 25 has become an age of reflection for me and that is how I will forever see myself at this age, and in realising this in itself, in a way, it has been the age when I have finally figured it out - and that is that you can never fully figure it out.
Well, I am still on the right side of 30, my new "target" age, for at least another 4 years and 4 days anyway. The difference is, this time I am chasing my dreams, instead of waiting for them to come to me - and although it was a little belated, conviction and assurance are here to help see in birthday number 26 on Saturday.