Understand my fear that if this is really our prime, that if this is the most alive I could ever be — then I do not want to be young.
Forever Young — Mr. Hudson & Jay-Z was the song of choice for my 22nd birthday. There we were, 20-something year old friends singing the hook by the cake, telling the world how we want to be young forever. The previous weeks to that had been the most trying I have had in a long time (soon, I will tell the story). And in the sober equivalent of a drunk birthday speech, I spoke of how there is a lot of pain and suffering in this world, but in that room — that night — there was none.
A week prior to the 24th of February, I drafted a piece titled “Of Caffeine, Crackheads and Sedatives”, questioning whether this time — the present — is really our prime. I opted not to publish the same, because I did not wish for any of them to worry about my (mild?) prescription abuse, to help me cope with the insomnia. Who knows what dark, twisted thoughts I was going to confess? Everyone was dealing with something, or running from it. It did not feel like a time to feel. There is hardly any time left to feel. Less so any time to talk about it. Stress wallpapers every conversation with my peers, and I often ask: “How did we get here?”
The contradiction of youth is that it is easier possessed than felt. We are constantly admonished about how we get to be young once, about how this is the peak of our powers — and that we must make the best we can out of it. Then we are thrown to a world that takes, takes and takes some more. What has it cost you to become the individual you are today, and what more do you reckon it will cost to become who you want to be? Each pursuit chisels a bit of your person — and whether it forms of you a work of art or scars you is beyond my powers of prediction. The truth is that we all must change, and that process can be excruciating. The stress we constantly face, in some ways, is really a stretching to scale — a conditioning to the pressures that life ever so faithfully brings our way.
Lately, my mind begs me to just be — not to do. To be let to be. The race to “make it” has taught me to loathe stagnation and in doing so I have forgotten the difference between laziness and rest. So I pay with sleep — or rather the sheer lack of it. Even when I shut my eyes, it is darker in my mind. There is so much to say, but nary a word to explain it. Perhaps I need a better reason to get out of bed every morning apart from the terror cradled in the possibility that I might not live up to myself.
I am resigned to the fact that life always comes back begging, requesting, demanding.
This is not a cry for help or a search for answers. It is me humoring the flimsy hope that once again, a stranger like you will understand. You do not have to believe me or validate me — just understand. Understand my fear that if this is really our prime, that if this is the most alive I could ever be — then I do not want to be young. At least not forever.