This year, I find myself performing a forgotten ritual I practised for my birthday – spending time at the airport alone to do some soul-searching. The only obvious reason that I am doing so again is needless to be mentioned, and I decided to explore the idea of rituals for my 21st birthday.
I definitely did not expect to spend my 21st at the airport, I thought times like these would be only a distant memory, yet I find myself currently seated at the same spot like 2007-2009, looking at the same view. The only changes in the environment are the décor of the place – there’s an exhibition explaining how the logistics of an airport works. No matter how much a place may change, memories stay the same. No matter how much a face may change, your memory of that person remains.
This time last year I had grand visions for my 21st, an extravagant party no less, as I believe in the idea of celebrating birthdays. It is a yearly ritual to remind yourself that you have a purpose in life, and to explore new meanings you have accumulated. It is quite unfortunate, yet without regret, that I lack the means to celebrate my birthday this year.
Previous years, I have had more questions than answers, asking myself how I could deal with things that were troubling me every moment that I was idle. Maybe it’s maturity, or maybe it’s fatigue, whatever it is, this year I have an eerie sense of calm as I type these words. It is as though I no longer seek answers and am content with the questions. It feels as though I am able to embrace the unknown rather than fear it, finally feeling free from within to dive into the darkness.
Definitely it is quite ironic that no amount of “Happy Birthday” wishes could help me feel happier. The truth is I am far from being happy with the life events that have occurred this year. Learning how the one you love is not the one for you is surely not easy to deal with; my faith (in love) has yet to be tested so hard before.
I would like to believe I have put in my fair effort at showing those meaningful to me how much I value their birthdays. I appreciate the friends I have who put in their bit of effort in acknowledging mine and are thankful for them, even if they do not share the meaning of birthdays in the same regard as I do.
The ritual of spending time at the airport is a compromise made to the original idea of exploring new places each birthday. I would like to travel every birthday in the future, learning new things as I venture into the unknown. It would make me feel reborn, like how a new baby comes to life fresh to learn in an unfamiliar environment. By putting myself into a new place each year, perhaps I could gain new enlightenment and enrich myself with new insights. The airport is the closest place I could get to the free unknown that lies beyond.
Every year, on this day, I would be lost.
And in the midst of being lost, I hope to find myself – over and over again.
Another year older, another year wiser. Or so I’m told.
True to my words, I am still lost, and in the midst of finding myself.
True to my words, I am at a new place this birthday, in my hall in NTU, after deciding against heading to Raffles’ Marina tonight.
True to my words, I am far from happy, and I have an eerie sense of calm about it.
Schoolwork and projects has prevented me from heading to the other end of Singapore and spend my birthday at the airport yet again, but I still find myself doing some soul-searching. I thought of how much I have changed since the past year, and though I feel not much did, I know deep down I am no longer the same person as I was.
I used to believe strongly in birthdays, yet those left ironically can’t be a testament to what I would do for someone’s birthday. Birthdays mattered so much to me, it is a day you should be happy and a dedication to a gift to the world: your very own life. I believe in the butterfly effect, and every person’s life you have come into contact with would definitely not be the same without you. Yet, the past year has taught me that birthdays don’t mean shit unless you want it to.
I no longer see the point in giving and making an effort for someone’s birthday anymore, including mine. People all have their own lives, what is yours in terms of their time and energy? Then, I felt birthdays are clear indicators to how much you mean to a person, or people. Their actions to you proved your worth to them in their lives. Now, after all the people who left (especially those whom I spent time and energy on), I realised that my closest friends are the ones who did almost nothing at all. They may not be there for this one day, yet, they have always been there for me when I needed them.
Losing faith in birthdays is a sharp reminder of how I have lost faith in a hell lot of things I believed in. It reminded me of how much I have changed, even if I do not feel so. It also resembles a niggling scar of what caused me to have a paradigm shift on things, giving me a whole new perspective on life, and love. It has been the most difficult struggle over the past year. I am still recovering, and thankfully the relapses are not as intense as they once were, and thankful I managed to get myself in order somehow. Of course I’m anxious about getting another full-blown episode, especially since I have no more means of escape, but that is a problem I should not worry about now. There is still the cognitive dissonance concerning if anyone could ever find value in me in this transient, free-spirit state. Yet, it is this uncertainty that I thrive in, which unfortunately unsettles a lot of people who seek security and stability. I am already beginning to feel myself wary about revealing too much about myself to people I’m getting closer to.
I am fighting hard from turning myself numb, because fear has kicked in. I have posted before of how I cannot afford to fear about turning numb since naturally, I have an inclination of diving right into my fears to overcome them. Me fearing numbness would mean it would only be a matter of time before I have lost complete and utter faith in love, turning me faithless. Hope is what keeps faith alive, and if I were to remove the most fundamental block of my life, hope would cease to exist. I have been living without hope for quite some time, which explains why I feel as though I’m floating through life instead feeling alive. I’m at a wonder sometimes how I could manage to get things done, somehow, and I fear it was with numbness that things are possible.
I do not want to live a life going through motions and living just for the sake of it. I used to pride myself being different, and thankfully I have learned to appreciate how everyone is different after all, even though who live a conventional life. I still want to be a better person, and I hope I do not be a person in the eyes of everyone else but myself. I guess this is something I would solely focus on over the next year, since I’m already too comfortable being alone. I wrote a note on resolutions last year, but honestly I am not looking forward to anything much now and simply trying to live with each day, by terrible day.
I want to feel things again, finding connection with myself without numbing myself from another, and feel alive.