the big three-o

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Thirty is supposed to mean a lot. The fact that, on this day (and, in fact, as of this very minute), I have officially completed 30 years of life on this planet is meant to be epochal in some way.

I can’t completely disagree 🙂 The run-up to completing 30 has been eventful, to say the least. I finally moved on from being a student. I’ve moved into parenthood. I’ve moved locations in the US.

Yep, those events are each epochal in some way. But turning 30 in itself (and no, I don’t mean the terrible-even-for-me movie)..

The 1st of January that just went by served to remind me quite forcibly of where my friends (and hence myself) are in life, so to speak. Most of the people I pinged to wish greetings for the New Year spent exciting, fun-filled evenings… quietly at home. Hell, more than one person (including me) may not even have realized when the clock actually struck 12: being otherwise engaged in such exciting activities such as changing their kid’s diaper, putting their kids to sleep, sleeping themselves, etcetera. Now, while I can’t claim that I am (or ever have been) a party animal, the sheer calm acceptance of the New Year… the unsaid fact that, in the end, the 1st of January is just a day that succeeds the 31st of December, was very striking.

Everyone is getting older.

Lest I be misunderstood, I still have stimulating conversations with my friends contrasting ‘Bichchoo’ and ‘The Professional’. Last week, I watched ‘Justice League: Doom’, ‘Superman and Shazam: The Return of Black Adam’ and so on. I keep telling G that I have to figure out how to fit in some gaming somewhere (and she, of course, smiles sweetly in reply). Heck, when a 7 year old recently visited our house, the two of us spent an animated hour talking about my Transformer toys. Hallmarks of growing older? You tell me.

So as I turn 30, I can wax nostalgic about 20-year old memories: ‘Jurassic Park’ came out in 1993 and is incidentally one of the first movies I have a distinct memory of watching on the big screen. As of 2013, ‘Baazigar’ and ‘Khalnayak’ will be 20 years old. A.R. Rahman’s ‘Roja’ is 21 years old and is still as mindblowing as when I first heard it. What else.. the terrible 1993 Bombay blasts happened 20 years ago. ‘Informer‘ (another sort-of-first for me) was all the rage on MTV back then. ‘Myst’ and ‘Doom’ debuted in 1993. South Africa’s ridiculous 21-runs-off-1-ball incident was already a year old, and the world was still marveling at Jonty Rhodes.

Y’know who else used to tell me about 20 year old memories 20 years ago (e.g. Sholay and Gavaskar)? Yes indeedio.. uncles, dads, and other old people talking about things that were way older than I was. And now, it appears I am one of those people.

Time has inexorably brought me to this point. And as much as I may try to clutch at straws that serve to keep me connected to being a kid (even though, as G never fails to remind me, I have a kid now), they are but straws. Not anchors to days past. Life is moving on, change will happen… a lot of it well out of our control in any way. Yes, I do have people around me who find this stuff just as inexact and confusing.. which merely makes it a little less scary (or more scary depending on how much of a pessimist you are). When I talk to my friends, it never fails to amaze us how long it has been since we know each other. In some ways, it feels like the 10 or 15 years we have known each other have sped by. In fact, turning 30 will mean that I have known some of these people for almost 20 years. Actually, at this point, I should probably stop keeping count of such things and just bask in having companionship of such caliber.

Hitting this age also means that you really start feeling how those bedrocks of adulthood you have grown up with are now so much older. And with that comes the realization of how frail they are becoming. Of course, they may outwardly appear to be doing great, but it is in the small details that you see the tell-tale effects of age. Which means that ever so slowly, whether you realize it or not, the tables are turning… the bedrocks of adulthood will soon need you to be the bedrock for them (in a manner of speaking). 10 years ago, you may have been living in some form of denial that this day would never come. But it must. And guess what? That day has crept up on you while you were turning 30.

On the flip, I’m watching the little one growing up now (it has been 4 months already!) and I’m seeing her learn the many things we don’t realize that we actually learnt… abilities that seem like you just sort of knew — as far as you can remember. Yeah, it means you have come far, but more importantly, it tells you how very far the little one has to go. A very different, agile, evolving responsibility from any other. Whether you are a parent currently or not (or even plan to be a parent), by turning 30, you are officially setting up a platform in some way for those who are currently 20, 10, or 0 now. Probably going to have to start teaching someone something, maybe even mentoring them. From here on out, you can’t get away from it by saying you’re not even 30 anymore. Because you are.

Last but never least, 30 merely serves as a marker for the completion of 3 years (plus 3 days) of my marriage to G, and a little bit more than that for our relationship.  While there are many things we have done together, there is the promise of the many things we have still to do.  And therein lies why turning 30 is not as scary as I might have thought it would be when I was 25 or 20.

The hope. The promise. That 30 marks a beginning.

Of a journey towards 40: something to really look forward to.

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one more year before..

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..the next 5 years are supposed to run away with themselves, and you’re 30 before you know it.

I said that 4 years ago. I’m not going to say “That feels like yesterday.” Coz it doesn’t. And it wasn’t.

But it doesn’t feel like too long ago..

In the past 4 years, a lot of things have changed: marriage, life, activities, pastimes, what have you. At the same time, some things are somewhat the same: the PhD, research, being a student, etcetera. I can only imagine how many things will change in the next one year. Just how much, even I don’t know yet. As I said at the start of the year, 2012 is a year of great promise.. a year of which only 25 days have passed so far. Even now, I have a sense of my life reaching a winding down stage. At the same time, there is also a sense of anticipation.. of winding up for something bigger. Bipolar? Very likely.

But as of today, I’ve given myself a great birthday present — a significant portion of my PhD dissertation (something I currently call ‘my life’s work’) is going to see publication in a peer-reviewed journal. On one hand, this is just another milestone you reach during your PhD. From my own personal perspective, this particular paper has been in the making for 3-odd years; during most of which it has been under review.. as well as constantly faced rejection. A trial by fire.. with random reviews, reviewers who just didn’t get it, and finally, reviewers who gave the manuscript it’s due.

In the end: it is my paper, a culmination of a LOT of my research, and I’m glad it’s published.

It is also my second journal paper this year. Both within a few days around my birthday (I know, I spoil myself). Hopefully, not the only two for the year.

I had a set of random goals for 25. I actually don’t remember setting any such for 30. I guess I never thought that far out. The closer I’ve gotten to it, the more I have focused on immediate milestones. Today.. By this time next month.. In the next year.. Living in the now, seeing what I have to do today. I guess you realize that beyond a point, life can be considered too dynamic to over-think and over-plan. You put in what you can best do now, and let other things pan out the way they will.

Fatalism? Not really.

More like I’m only a year away from being considered an old, married man. Might as well get into the mindset for it.

Ya damn kids.

twenty-eight

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I don’t want to feel it, but I’ve reached it.

Twenty-f***in-eight. 28.

Man, that seems old.

That I refuse to acknowledge it is only one of the few plausible reasons left for me not to post on time for it.

Why? Because with it comes the the acceptance of the fact that the more “grown-up” phases in life must soon be faced too.

Also comes the realization that many things have changed within me over the past few years. Focus. Cynicism. Frustration. Desires. Goals. Outlook. So much.

Funny how such things work. You don’t want to change, but you’re changing anyway. And then you feel like you don’t want to accept that you are changing. Which leads to.. a vicious circle.

Also dawned is the realization that multiple conference papers will not present/write themselves. That’s 3 years now that a birthday has seen the effect of a conference.

I wonder what 29 will bring.

26 is more…

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…than just 2×13. And when I say that I don’t mean its actually ’20+6′ or ’30-4′.. but that 13 still seems to be only yesterday. And 26 is here, right now today. Already.

…than what I expected. Some developments have happened in my life which appear to be almost unreal in their effect. Yes, when I refer to ‘developments’ I am referring to that special someone that you talk of in veiled terms.. as I am now. Funnily enough, I can’t get enough of the fact that I can actually call someone a ‘missus’ soon.

…work. More than last year. I thought I had it bad last year with 2 conference papers due in a month.. but apparently having even one causes you to stay in the lab until 9pm on your birthday. And therefore this year has seen a suitably delayed birthday celebration on this blog.

…realizations about the self than I thought was possible. You think you know who you really are inside, and simply think that the exterior is just some smaller version of it. You can’t always be who you really are.. until one day you realize its no longer about what you think you are.. but more what you are now. And that one thing that can scare you more than anything else.

…rules and regimens that you started forcing on yourself to start being more “normal”. I still find it weird that I want to start following a schedule.. me, who hated the idea since the first time I came upon it. Growing up sucks in that you realize that grown-ups have it mostly right all the time.

…the single thought that its going to become ’30-4′ and less ’21+5′ now.

Anyway, back to reading ‘All-Star Superman’ now.

friends can be pretty crazy sometimes

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not the show, the people.

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a PSP ! these guys are beautiful.

as a side note, on my 25th birthday i’ve received candy, comics and a PSP. i guess i’m not growing up. and been stunned to silence twice.  the other time… i’ll think about telling you guys about it 😉

i am now 25 years, 25 hours, 25 minutes and 25 seconds old

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…however cliched that may sound.

25 is supposedly big. as a very wise man said: ‘its never too late or too early to be 25. One fine day, you just are 24 no more.‘ 25 is an age that you think of as far away. you tend to state a lot of things as going to be done by 25. as a kid, its the age of deadlines. i’ll be an astronaut by 25. superman must be 25. its the age that is somehow associated with things having been done. studies. a partner. a job. a million dollars.  i would now supposedly be considered a mature adult. the next 5 years are supposed to run away with themselves, and you’re 30 before you know it. i can look back at a quarter century of existence now, i can vaguely remember dreams i have had in the last 25 years.

i wanted to be over 6 feet tall. check. i should be on track for a million dollars. doubtful. someone special should at least be on the horizon. lets see. i should have answers to a lot of questions. i have a lot more questions now. work should be part of my life. i’m technically still studying. i used to think about doing an mba. i’m doing a phd. writing should be a part of my life. check. the kid in me should not have any complaints. comics, action figures, candy. check. writing this should be easy. anything but. i’ve always wanted to be different. i can only hope so.

it has been an interesting 25 years. i’m guessing any period of time over a day can’t be anything but interesting eventually anyway. i have my fair share of regrets. i have more than my fair share of high points too. i may not be living up to the potential that i used to demonstrate. i’ve learnt the rule of keeping on going no matter what works. i have faced some of my worst fears, and learnt the simple way of dealing with them. i’ve learnt opinions, beliefs and dreams are things that are completely personal. i’ve found out about how fragile and how strong a relationship can be at the same time. i’ve adopted cynicism and sarcasm as a way of life, and i’m liking it. i’m hoping that i don’t turn into the kind of 25+ year olds i have seen. i have realized some unchangeable home truths about myself: my geekiness, my relative unflappability, my insomnia, my anglophilia… and more.

i want to come up with a final statement, a fitting conclusion. but 25 is less a time to conclude, more a time to speed up. i see the year zooming by already. the question of how epochal a year it can be  is still up for grabs though.

one form of 26 is hitting already. i’m now 25 years and 26 hours old.

welcome, 24

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its not very often that you realise how important people are to you.. and then get overwhelmed realising how important you are to them.
and so, why they are so very important.
being in raptus is probably an understatement to describe my feelings about today. it has been more than special.. it has been one of the best ever.

i really don’t want to say more, i think its weird enough that i’ve been ecstatic this long.

there could be no better way to turn 24. except maybe realising that next year is going to be… 25.