On Christmas and Growth - Sometimes Both
So, here I am. At the beach, on Christmas night, braving the wind, collecting my thoughts. Thoughts. Plural. They aren't very coherent, or conjoint. They just pop in one after the other, like prints off a printer. And despite my best efforts to link them, I fail. The city is cold. And I don't mean temperature-wise. It's Christmas, it is meant to be cold weather. The city, on the other hand, is cold as it is almost lifeless, which surprised me. It's the festive time, and I expected people in the streets - chatting, laughing, and generally having a good time. I think that's the difference between festivities in India and the festivities here: India is very much about the outdoors - loud celebrations, chatter and outgoings. It seems to be the opposite here - very personal, very homely, and very warm for the close ones. Which is fine, except that it took me a while to realise, and in the process of realizing it I may have overstepped a little with people. It is what it is, and it is done. I smile as I realise that I was never a huge part of Indian outgoing festivities, yet they have left a huge imprint on my personality. I never truly belonged to the loud celebrations India has to offer, yet the very quiet and cozy idea of celebrating here doesn't really go well with me either. Maybe this Christmas is an anomaly. Maybe it is a little more jovial, a bit more chaotic. Even if it is, I don't see it being a part of my life any soon. That's because, as I noticed before, Christmas here occurs to be a very personal affair. It is enjoyed by people and their very near and dear ones. And at this point in time, and until the foreseeable future, I don't see myself being near to anyone - forget being a dear. I think I have accepted this, finally. It's tricky, as every time I think I have accepted the vast emptiness around me, it is punctured temporarily and I let it deflate, only for it to inflate again. But this time I see things differently. I think I realise the need for a guard, the purpose of wariness, and the use of caution. I understand that people have a different hierarchy of needs than mine, and sometimes, due to no particular fault of theirs, I'm not on the list. It has been a time of learning. Some voluntary and welcome, others enforced and crude. All necessary, nonetheless. It was about discovering what's what and who's who and aligning out people's priorities with mine. That doesn't mean I can't get upset. I can be and will be, pretty upset about things that link back to events that have been repeated all over. Events which repeat regularly and don't leave a new scar, but deepen an old one over and over again. I've had enough of scarring myself. And I have had enough of not being a choice. But this is too good a time for me to ruminate on those. So I won't. And hopefully, I will forget them, but not the final lessons. Anyway, 2023 will be the first year in my active memory that I shall cease to be a student, at least in the academic sense of the word. And just like education has turbulent beginnings - separation anxiety from home, loneliness, forging new relationships, failing, and rising back up - as does its end. Despite all that, I have found my study years deeply educating, more than they were supposed to be, and I am grateful for that. I embrace what's coming my way next. I say 'what', and not 'who'. And it is going to be so, I know. My fingers are starting to freeze. I need to get going back, via the empty roads, into my empty house, with what I think is a full heart. It begins where it ended, and the cycle of life opens at the close. Merry Christmas!