"I can't believe it hun. I'm turning 30," I said.
"Hunny!!! You're actually 30!" Fran said.
"Well, don't go looking at me like I'm some kind of relic," I said laughing.
"So seriously, how do you feel?" she asked.
I sat down beside Fran and handed her a glass of Chateau Pauillac.
"Well, honestly, I didn't think I would be happy after what I went through last year," I said "But, surprisingly, I am happy."
"When I was younger, I had fantasies of how I would be like by the time I turn 30. I dreamt of owning an apartment in some strange city in a foreign land. Somewhere like Istanbul or Budapest overlooking the Danube river, perhaps. I thought by this age, I would be in a happy relationship. And guess what? Hahaha. None of it came true," I told her.
"I'm so excited and curious for you hun. You really are in a different place," she said.
"I really am no? I surprise even myself sometimes. And isn't that the best thing of all?" I said, laughing
"It's great how we can surprise ourselves. That we are not afraid to be different from what we we were a year ago," she said.
I have been thinking a lot about age and birthdays and the unavoidable, incessant passage of time. People say age is but a number, but lest we forget, it is still a number.
"But you don't look 30!!!" my friends would tell me.
"Oh, but I feel like 30," I would answer.
It's there, in the lost friendships, and shattered dreams. In the way your heart can ache that never did before. It's in the quiet memories that you struggle to forget.
These things age a man, when he starts to understand the joys and sorrows of life. To find love and lose it. To meet death in its many forms. And happiness with its many faces.
It was the New Year of 2010. I was on a rooftop watching as the fireworks lit the sky like a thousand tiny suns. And I told myself, isn't it a wonder that each one in this city, at this exact moment, is saying a wish.
"I hope my son finishes his college degree."
"I hope I can find a job soon."
"I hope I'll find love."
Each person, secretly wishing that maybe this year will be better than the last. I was one of them.
And out of the blue, my friend and former teacher in college Gad sent me this:
"In the coming year, you will find that, of course, it is possible to give oneself with wild, unbound passion again. And again and again.
Wisdom like that has to make the new year a good one."