It feels as if you’re standing on the edge, on the precipice of something.
It’s not something you know, for sure, but just something you feel.
Beyond where you stand today, everything important that you seek is shrouded in fog.
Every question hidden in mystery, every circumstance of the future concealed behind an indistinguishable veil of time.
The funny part is I’ve always had this feeling a few times before at different points in my life. The day I left the city where I’d lived the longest, the day the results of those apparently “life-deciding” university entrance exams were about to be announced. The funny bit in this slice of life recollection is how important those events felt back then — how I felt as if I was indeed standing at the cusp of change — at the eye of a tornado, quietly waiting, helplessly, as time changed my life’s landscape in a blink.
Only it hadn’t. Neither of those life-changing events had changed much. So my experience, and at this stage I believe I’ve had adequate to speak on some things, negates the existence of such single life-changing events.
The edge where I am standing at right now may very well reveal itself to be a straight road, dotted with little yellow markers and signboards to guide me. Sure, knowing my own self, I’ll likely step away from the road and walk elsewhere, ignoring those signposts and not trusting anyone.
But it is also possible that I’ll take one step ahead and fall off the edge. Only to land in a new place, where I’ll meet new challenges and new people and possibly have new goals.
I’m not exactly afraid of change nor am I jaded enough to not expect anything new to come from it. But I feel that we maintain a precarious balance between our past and future and I don’t think we can successfully maintain all the strings that bind us to our past to where-ever we are headed in our future. There’s always the risk of upsetting that balance when a change happens. Friends you had built strong bonds with fall slowly out of touch and no amount of social networks will help bridge the gap between the need and the urge to reconnect with them within you. Family who played a critical part in your upbringing and I, for one, certainly consider my parents as most important people I know, will slowly fall out from your inner circle to the outer.
In such a new world, would I be the same any more?
If we are byproducts of our surroundings — the culture, the city and its people around us, what if those surroundings change? Would we be the same people anymore? Or would we be someone else?
I’ve always been appealed by this aspect of human identity. How people tend to have a very limited notion of “this is who I am” and “this is who you are”, as if we are clearly defined characters from a novel. When someone does something strange or starts behaving strangely, people say they’re behaving “out of character”, almost ironically acknowledging our own narrow perception of identity.
That’s the only legitimate fear I guess I have at this point. At twenty-two, I’m no longer stuck in an in-limbo as I was last year but now I’m standing at an edge where the lines between my past and future are being drawn — sharper, thicker and final than anything. I’m more confident of my future — what I want to do and who I want to be. The fog is starting to clear but I’m not able to see how it affects me — the now in the present and all the strings I have carried from my past. And that’s the only thing that worries me.
Now, merely a few months away from graduation and possibly moving to another country, do I feel more than any other time, that I am really going to enter into a new phase — one that decides which part of my past will be carried with me into the future and which will remain in the past, forever.
I tend to remember dreams at seldom like most and just like a condensed screen my memory of them is wiped clean the further I stay conscious. Lately I’ve been having really peculiar dreams, where the dreams have absolutely no narrative and no weird, surreal peculiarities about them. I’m just who I am, at different stages of my life, talking to people I used to talk to. Laughing and playing with those I once did. Inhabiting those very fears I once did. The retrospective quality of the reality is perhaps the most surreal element of those dreams.
All I do in these dreams, is talk to my old school friends and to people I haven’t seen or heard from in a decade. Chances are I probably never will. But it makes me think if this is a way of my subconscious mind of doing something which I cannot in reality. Converse with people from my past, where every word is enriched by the sweetness of nostalgia and juxtapose my current fears upon them. In these conversations, sitting on the tiny backyard of my school, eating our lunch boxes under the large tree, I have discussions of the now, of my future, of where we will be.
I never had such discussions in my first-grade, but seeing it through the lens of my own subconscious, it’s almost as if its’ my past self staring at my present, participating in discussions hoping to help me.
Beyond the Edge
All that said, I’m for once really optimistic about my future. Maybe, it has to do something with how much I’ve achieved in the past year. And how more than the achievements the sense has really helped diminish the “Wasted Years” syndrome I spent wallowing over for a lot of my late-teens. It’s still not gone, it probably never will.
Regrets remain and our mortality is just a reminder that the only guarantee there lies is that more will join the existential burden waving over your head as the years pass.
But knowing where you stand — with your feet on solid ground and knowing what you what you want with the future is something.
I’m sure few years down the line, I’ll laugh at the naive optimism I’m ending this blog at. But today, just like for much of the past year, I cannot find a reason to be sad. (I generally don’t, I’m one of those melancholics searching for a reason).
Today, I wonder, as I stand at the edge of the change, whether it really matters if I do not know the answers to the questions that were shrouded in fog. Knowing the answers wasn’t going to change my mind nor my idea about my future. It may make me feel differently,but the vagaries of mind are always something you have to deal with.
Relieved of that fear, I feel lightened, knowing that for once I’m sure of what I want. And right now, that seems within my grasp.
In this crucial year, the future I’ve dreamed of is all there for the taking. And for once, I feel like I can finally rely on my life-long companion, my mind, to be on my side when the time is right.