I Say Goodbye to the Storm Clouds | Part 1 of I Spend My Birthday in the Mountain and Other Stories

Saturday, June 06, 2015

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I Say Goodbye to the Storm Clouds

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It is a dreary day.

From the small window of my bedroom, I peer out into the world. Through the galled leaves of the Santol tree, I see clouds a-gather. They are menacing, but the crepuscular rays that pierced through them give me hope. Behind them, I know the sun is doing its best. The blue will come.

March and April had always been like my personal set of storm clouds – full and stout, a disaster waiting to happen. For the past twenty-one years, these months had presented themselves to me as a lurking, looming, dreadful presence. The kind, I now understand, that stems from a quiet awareness of having missed out on great things, of having failed yet again to write a riveting chapter in one's story. If we are to oversimplify it, March and April – my storm clouds – had stood for my yearly accumulation of regrets, guilt, and excuses.

I was twenty-one when I'd started to walk the path that was meant for me. This was March of 2014 – almost two months after the Tragedy and almost two months before my 22nd birthday. I was only starting back then, fumbling. Despite my new-found freedom and stronger sense of self, it was no surprise to me that the anxiety and the dread that I had always associated with this month was still undeniably there. I didn't want to etch another tally mark into the trunk of my life tree, which was, frankly, having a hard time recovering from all the hacking and the sawing of the previous year. I didn't want to be a year older. 

I was afraid.

I was terrified of the amount of rainfall my storm clouds would bring. I feared, for twenty-one years, that when these cumulonimbi of regrets finally burst open, I would drown.

But then I took on the Great Adventure, shortly before turning twenty-two. The transition was gradual but it happened.

On my 22nd birthday, not only did I grow old, I also grew up. I grew up remarkably. I grew more and more comfortable with my choices.

The interlude between year 22 and year 23 was euphonious and, for the most part, fluid. I knew it was so when my storm clouds did not come.

For the first time, I was truly excited for my birthday.

The thought of adding another year to my life no longer educed a crippling fear of torrents and hurricanes, for I have this profound certainty that the previous year was lived well. It was not perfect, but it was exactly the kind of life that I wanted to live.  

I must be doing something right to feel such joy in growing old. 

I look out the small window from my bedroom, and through the galled leaves of the Santol tree, I see blue skies. No more storm clouds – within and without.

I am doing something right.

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