Monday, November 05, 2007

Birthday Cake, Tea and Sympathy

Now that I've moved, I pretty much have a few new things in my life -- new keys, a new address, new bedsheets, new(ish) furniture, new neighbors and a new commute. Riding the train is now included in my daily routine and is admittedly growing on me. I've forgotten how much I like trains. It allows me twenty minutes twice a day to be one with my thoughts and not have to worry about keeping anyone entertained. With my music blaring in my ears thereby shutting off the rest of the world, I find the ultimate peace and enlightenment.

It's like being alone amid a thousand people surrounding you.

At promptly six thirty-five in the morning, I make my way towards the nearest train station to catch the six forty-three ride to the central business district. I count exactly seven stops and estimate about four songs on my iPod before I get there. Luck is never usually on my side when it comes to finding a seat. The train is always filled with students heading to their respective schools -- college students with their textbooks in tow, female Muslim students with their white uniformed veils perched on their heads and the male ones with their black velvet hats, and Chinese students with their squeaky clean white sneakers.

It wasn't too long ago that I was one of those students. Well, except for the train bit, I never had to take it back where I grew up since there really wasn't any. I used to take the school bus at what seemed like the crack of dawn as the bus service always attempts to beat morning traffic. It was only later on that my parents took pity on me and had me driven to school instead (bless them!).

It only seemed like yesterday that I was roaming the high school hallways with my friends and beating deadlines for book reports and science investigatory projects. And then having powows with the group in the school cafeteria during lunch or the steps in front of the high school building after classes. Our schedules were comprised purely of schoolwork and friends -- we were one of those lucky ones who only had to worry about so much. We invented drama in our lives and dwelled on it, not realizing how ludicrous we were being and how clueless we were about how the world really worked. I was once one of those kids who thought I knew everything there is to know in this world. I was once one of those kids whom I've grown to hate as I got older.

Now, I see these kids on the train every single day as I make my way to work. I feel compelled to tell them to take it easy and to have fun while they still can. After all, being a grown up is so overrated -- why are they rushing to get rid of their youth? Get rid of the nail polish (it'll just make your nails yellow), lose the make-up (believe me, when you get older, you will wish you can pull off not having to wear some), don't get too serious with the opposite sex (you have the rest of your life to get headaches from them), wear clothes that suit people your age (count your blessings that you can still follow trends), and most importantly, stay in school (believe me, you will miss it when you start scraping up your own dough). What I wouldn't give to be able to switch places with them.

In about a couple of hours, I will be marking my twenty-sixth year here on earth. Another year added onto my life. That means, I would have been one year wiser from my last birthday. Somehow, I don't feel any older or wiser. I feel like a fraud. This year will be my official foray into the "late twenties" group and I still feel the high-schooler living vivaciously in me -- just a little more saged and jaded with experience but nonetheless still the same uncertain person that I always was.

I don't think we really let the child in us grow out completely. I like holding on to mine because it reminds me of that time in my life when I was deliriously happy and truly innocent. If only I took out the time to protect those moments instead of robbing myself off youthful naiveity, I could have enjoyed it that much longer. In my entire twenty six years, there isn't one day that I didn't refer to my past and search for little nibblets of happiness for me to ponder on. The happy memories keep me going in hopes that I will find more along the way.

I wish the kids on my train would realize that in ten years' time, they will be in my shoes looking back into their pasts desperately searching for something to hold on to. That they will be wishing for longer childhoods and more time to make mistakes. If only I can convey the sadness that I feel for them on how they seem to be losing their childhood faster and faster each day. And if only I can show them how precious they are at their age. I don't understand why they want to grow up so quickly.

It's funny, isn't it? Kids will do anything to be grown up whilst everything that adults want is to be kids all over again -- devoid of all responsibilities and obligations.

Happy twenty sixth to me. And happy sweet sixteen to the kid still living inside me.


Anonymous electric bearbearina said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PB! (That sounds like "peanut butter". hee hee). Don't forget to eat birthday noodles - weird tradition but they're yummy anyway. Hugs!

12:23 AM  
Blogger lemonade said...

happy birthday sweety!!! :D

ok i'm gonna bookmark this particular just described me when you were talking about your childhood..perhaps i should take it easy after all and try to have fun once in a while..shit, so life isn't that great when ur all grown up huh..was just telling my friend the other day that i cant wait to be older and there even such a thing as 'settled'...??

and the all alone to yourself with hundreds of strangers surrounding you..totally love that..cherish my weekly bus rides home :)

12:34 AM  
Blogger Jennifer McKenzie said...

Oh, Happy Birthday to you BOTH!!! I know exactly what you mean.
Who was it who said that "Youth is wasted on the young." My dad used to shake his head and say it to me all the time.
I didn't listen. Hope you have a wonderful day, Princess.

12:42 AM  
Blogger Vik said...

Oh first up, Many more happy returns of the day and I hope you have a very memorable, fun filled day to remember.

You just spoke everything that we think here. How much we grew faster than anyone just to stop and wonder what just happened to see myself old enough with all worries to face to... Strange that last on how much the kids want to become elders and how much the vice versa... I am so relaxed with myself and am having a good time having realised that it is just about one life and we have to live it to the core without strings attached... Anyway, lets not ruin the moment, for now though you are our princess celebrating her brithday and do show us some pictures as well on how things went by...

12:42 AM  
Blogger Marni said...

Happy birthday! I just turned 40 and STILL feel like that 16 year old...

I see those same kids on my train ride and want to tell them to slow down.

Very nicely written...

1:05 AM  
Blogger Kati said...

Happy Birthday Princess B. At 28, going on 29 (in Jan.) I still look in the mirror on mornings and see the 17 year old inside me and wonder at why others don't. Then again, sometimes I think they do and I want to shout "but I'm NOT 17, I'm 28!" I see teenagers and I want to commiserate with them over their woes, but at the same time I want to tell them to enjoy the relative ease of being a teenager as being adult becomes innumerably harder. Yeah, I think a lot of us do still have that inner teenager who just doesn't want to realize that the past 10 (or more) years HAVE come & gone and there's nothing we can do to retrieve the years.

Anyway, wishing you a fabulous birthday and a coming year full of love, light, and laughter.

2:34 AM  
Blogger Crushed by Ingsoc said...

Happy birthday.

I guess a part of us always remains a child.

But by the same token, we lose that innocence. Life kills our dreams and we look back in sorrow at the younger generation, wishing we could be naive again.

4:09 AM  
Blogger jellyhead said...

Princess Banter, it's your birthday!! - hope you have a fabulous day.

You know, you may look back on childhood memories with fondness, but I'm betting the best is yet to come.

My twenties were interesting but full of change and uncertainty. My thirties have been full of wonder, joy and most of all love.

I wish you every happiness, today and in years to come. Happy Birthday!

6:00 AM  
Blogger X. Dell said...

Happy Birthday, Princess. Seems like only yesterday, I was 26. Hell, seems like yesterday, I was a Chinese student in squeaky sneakers:-)

The older you get, the more you realize that telling kiddies not to fall into the traps that you or your friends did is often next-to-impossible. They'll make their own mistakes. But sometimes, the kids will look at you and say to themselves, "That lady looks like she has her act together," and ask you about stuff.

6:02 AM  
Blogger thisisme said...

Happy birthday Princess. It is lovely to see you posting again after the move. You wrote that post so well. I still have moments of thinking I'm 18, and then wonder who this 33 year old is looking at me in the mirror. Treasure the experiences you have, but take the time to enjoy them. Spending your life wishing isn't as good as spending your life living.

7:11 AM  
Blogger Karthik Balasubramanian said...

Well, Happy birthday.. I ve read this as a part of a forward or something but there is this one person who says that life must go in reverse order, I guess you must have seen it..

We all reflect dont we, about those careless times when we were playing five day cricket matches on the streets and jumping on owls and turtles when playing Mario Bros on our 64 bit game station.

But the basic idea is "the other side of the river is always gonna look better". Kids wanna grow up and Adults wanna stay young.. Its universal..

7:38 AM  
Blogger whimsicalnbrainpan said...

Happy Birthday!

And from someone who just turned 38, you never really do feel much wiser.

8:48 AM  
Blogger Ab said...

ha... i dont think I can agree with you more...

well, when i was lik really young, i spent so much of effort to make myself appear mature and grown up and all, and now at 23, Id give anything to shirk responsibility...

sometimes I think God got it wrong when he made us as kids and let us grow old... wat if it were the other way... born in the grave, and growing younger each day... ha that shud be fun...
btw, good to have you back..

and omg, i almost forgot... HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

11:51 AM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Best wishes for your birthday Princess. Don't the kiddies stand up for the older lady and give her a seat?

3:40 PM  
Blogger nel said...

happy birthday ... wait till u reach 40s and jumping around like a 7year old kid ... roflol ... they are only numbers ... :)

5:28 PM  
Blogger Chaitali said...

Belated Happy Birthday...nice post and nice blog...really like your template.

7:25 PM  
Blogger sean said...

There's always a part of you that will never change, and the other part getting older and bound by natural rules. Both will beware of the other and balance and sometimes not, each at time wishing for the other has got.
If one tries to be the other the balance will be lost and so will both. Better to try to live in harmony, as you've pointed out with your trip on the train.
"I touched you on the central plains
It was plane to train my twin
It was just plane shadow to train shadow
But to me it was skin to skin"

8:35 PM  
Blogger Glamourpuss said...

Happy birthday! And blimey, you start early...


9:20 PM  
Blogger MeMyself_n_I said...

happy birthday!!!! to your 26-year old self as well as your 16-year old self. i hope you have a wonderful year ahead.

i'm gonna hit 20 next year. i'm looking forward to it but i sure as hell will miss me teenage years.

i hope you had an excellent birthday. *hug*

1:10 AM  
Blogger Lucid Darkness said...

Wow. Only you can make something like this out of a birthday post.

All hail.

I turned eighteen quite recently, and well, I hardly 'act' like one. I'm a perpetual Peter Pan, and well, I'm quite fond of it. Who wants to be bogged down by the mundane-ness of adulthood? Not me, definitely!

And it's just been proved that the child inside you will always be there. You can still empathise with those children you watch on the bus. And while you do that, you'll always be young.

Hope you had a wonderful birthday! (A little late, I know, but nevertheless).

Take care!

2:55 AM  
Blogger Molly said...

Loved the descriptions of your fellow comuters. My dad also used to say "Youth is wasted on the young!" It will probably always be so......Happy 26th. Birthday Princess!

3:54 AM  
Blogger drips of paint said...

happy sweet sixteen to you my friend ...

I would love to read your post when you are sixty ... to learn how you reflect back on your life ... but then by the time you are sixty I'll be sleeping quietly.

9:28 AM  
Blogger drips of paint said...

opps .. my arithematic no good ... by the time you are sixty may be, possible & lets hope I am still around...

9:32 AM  
Blogger Lord Chimmy said...

Right now I want to be a freshman in college again. To be that young and dumb and...bright-eyed.

2:24 PM  
Blogger Confessions of a Born Procrastinator said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:12 PM  
Blogger Confessions of a Born Procrastinator said...


Many many happy returns of the day... Have a gr9 b day...

P.S. : gr9 = gr8 + 1
U crossed Silver jubilee na... u mite wanna enjoy it a little bit more.. :)

Oh and yeah!!!... I can see a married 36 year old, visualizing in her head the advice's to give to a 26 year old... "Enjoy ur life b4 marriage... The responsibilities and tension after marriage... OMG... Perhaps I cud write a blog on it.. :D"

9:15 PM  
Blogger Crashdummie said...

Omg happy b'day hun! Wow, now that I just found out that I'm a couple of days older than you, I seem alot wiser ;)

I agree with you - on all of it! Trains are far more comfortable than busses, growing up is overrated and my advice to kiddies would be to enjoy every season of growing up - nothing lasts forever.

Hope you have an awesom b'day filled with love laugheter... and ofcourse, cake & presents - u never get too old for that ;)

10:34 PM  
Blogger mathew said...

hugs bud...greeting and keep the kiddo spirit alive!!:-)

3:46 AM  
Blogger riseoutofme said...

Oh Princess, the best is yet to come! Look forward not back.

7:40 AM  
Blogger Libby said...

hey, princess b, happy (late) birthday! you know, there are a lot of times i feel younger than my daughter...who is 24 now! but i was only 18 when i had her, so it was almost like we grew up together...and that was great! (but i'm scared shitless of 'what if she gets married & has a baby? i don't WANNA be a gramma!!)

10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Happy birthday peanut butter! :) hee,hee,hee

I wish I could commute to and from work by train! Right now I can walk to work, which is also great (as long as I don't get ran over by impatient drivers), but soon I will be moving too and the commute will be trickier.


11:19 AM  
Blogger Still searching said...

Shit, I'm late to wish you! But hope you had a wonderful bday, and enjoyed every bit of the turning wiser day! Good to know that u're also a Scorp! I can totally understand how you feel... when I turned 26 and then 27, I literally spent my whole day sulking about how I'm not young anymore etc etc... but this year (my 28th bday was just a week back!), I've got a new approach to life... that it isnt't so bad growing old(er)! There is still a lot that you can do, a lot of priveleges you have as an adult that you didnt have as a kid, and you can make your own decisions etc...

Anyways, hope you have a great year ahead! Belated Happy birthday again!

11:32 AM  
Blogger Cuckoo said...

Late ?? No, the wishes are never late. ;)

Happy b'day PB and enjoy the moments of life.

1:52 AM  

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