Today, 31 December, is my birthday. Am the second and last child my parents had. That makes me somewhat dear and precious to them. It makes me privileged to have a loving and picture perfect family and the least I can do is reciprocate their love and radiate it elsewhere.
Another year under my belt doesn’t scare me just like it doesn’t excite me much. But it keeps me conscious of time. Time has to be the most precious asset, you cann’t afford to loose it though it seems to slip away on its own. Another year revives my desire to be all I can be, go everywhere I can and leave footprints. Another year for me evaluates whether or not the world is a better place because I live. That I can look back and say I not only asked God for stuff but helped him.
As we get older, we change but for me some things haven’t and will not. Like the desire to be different, to be more than just a face in the crowd , to be more than just a name on a register. I choose to be unrealistic. Being realistic is the most traveled road to mediocrity. Mediocrity scares me. Most of all I want my life to represent Possibility, as a writer, as a human being, as a boy or man. That no dreams are too far to reach, no goals are too far to achieve, the world is ours.
As I grow I leave less thing to chance, probably because I know where am going. I design towards my destination. Am willing to burn every bridge and scorch every piece of the Earth, in search of what am after. By now the only fear I should have, is the fear of fear. That way I may get to live in a moment of perfection. Perfection for me is not flawlessness or limitless credit cards, it is when I can look at myself in the mirror with clear eyes and a pure heart knowing I took every opportunity on may way and I did nothing half heartedly. That I did not walk away when somebody needed me. That I did not close my eyes to injustice, that I did not feed vices. Sometimes this year Biko talked of focusing less on the moving train and enjoying the locomotion.
Today I got up early to take a walk. I did not take an ipod with me because I wanted to think free of interruption like a man or boy should on his birthday. Think about what your are becoming, the roles, responsibilities and privileges that come with it. Reflect and evaluate. But I couldn’t think. My mind couldn’t focus on what I wanted it to. Instead it drifted to the girls in shorts jogging past me (so much for growing up). My thoughts were about the old men, maybe in their sixties, jogging past me to keep lifestyle diseases at bay. Are they happy in their old age? Do they wish they could go back to when they were my age? What do they wish for?
The further I walked, the quieter it was and the air was fresher. A girl walking her dog caught up with me. Okay fine, I might have slowed a little on noticing she was behind.
It was more of the dog pulling her than she was walking it. It was a big German shepherd, male , castrated, unnamed. She says naming a dog is white and western. She listens to Jill Scott, Chrissette Michelle and has a daily dose of System Of a Down. She listens to rock, we can be friends. She is in high school, grade twelve. She has the eyes of a child but the heart of a woman.
She pats my back when I tell her it is my birthday and says it was a good day to be born. The nameless beast was a little strong for her, so we walked a little faster.
Unlike her age-mates, she is not anxious to grow older. She likes where she is at. “it is almost perfect though it will never be.” she is curious and at the same time contained. She has good conversation and a good head on her shoulders. A rare breed. She has a poetic view of life and the world. Thirty minutes or so later we are staring at a magnificent view. One that has man’s effort to get comfortable and God’s unrivalled beauty that remind you are on earth to have a good time. The sun was not out yet but it was still beautiful. It must be God’s way of saying, “Happy birthday boy, I got you”. The nameless dog must have noticed the beauty because for the first and only time it sat still.
From her I took a lesson, the beauty in being different and at times age is overrated. Age doesn’t define maturity, whatever that is.
She left me standing there after saying she might name the dog after me. Well what more can you ask from a Seventeen year old?
Soundtrack: Take a walk – Passion pit, Stop this train – John Mayer