I’ve always been ambivalent where the topic of age is concerned. Sometimes I’ve caught myself panicking because life seems too long and I don’t know how I’ll get through, and sometimes it seems too short for all the things I want to do and all the places I want to see.
After a long internal discussion had while tossing and turning through the night, I arrived at the following conclusions:
1. Growing old can be really good. Sure, childhood was carefree and magical, but it was too full of ignorance and I really didn’t appreciate it while it lasted. My early youth was too clouded with confusion and intense emotions. My current youth is challenging and flirts with so many opportunities that could lead to a million different futures.
My youth is exhausting, and I try my hardest to retain what I see and feel, and remember how my life is passing like a train at the opposite train station. I feel like I can watch my life pass me by while I constantly run in the other direction. I want to grow old and not fear it.
2. I want to be old with holes in my memory that glaze over trivial things. I want to sit in the garden basking in the sun, and feel the same warmth I used to feel when I was 9 or 12 or 25 years old. I want to tell the people about the time I’m living now and the differences that they can’t find in the neatly edited history books and old newspapers.
3. I want to be a first-hand witness of all that is happening right now.
4. I want to tell them about meeting people who told me about the world before I was born.
5. I want the memories of my life to weigh me down.
6. I want to be a subject of wonder to young people when they see me sitting in the sun and basking in the sunlight, and make them wonder of all the things I have seen before they were even born.
7. I want to see how the world changes, for better or worse.
8. I want to tell little children about the cartoons I saw when I was their age and reminiscence about some joke from them that I can’t recall properly. Still, I will laugh at it non-stop because the memory of my youthful laughter continues to make me happy.
9. I want to see how my face changes in the reflection of mirrors and store windows. I want to see my eyes stay the same while everything around me and within me change slowly, yet somehow also at light speed.
10. I want to wear my failures and setbacks like achievement badges, similar to the ones I had when I was quite young.
I want them to encourage the youth that they’ll get through it all and someday be an old friend to a young heart, like me.
11. I want to see how my friends and siblings grow old and how their aggressions and disappointments humble them. I want to sit quietly in a dimly lit room and see the memories of their youth in their laugh lines that have deepened over the years.
12. I want an ocean of memories right here in the bundles of pictures and videos in the top drawer of my wardrobe.
13. I want to tell how it felt when I started a music instrument for the first time, and I want to express it in words from other languages that I’ve memorized over the years.
14. I want to tell people of the beautiful sunsets I’ve seen.
15. I want to be a witness to how the world is before certain gadgets will come along and alter our existence forever. I want to be someone who will remember how mundane things were so advanced for all of us, while it means nothing much to all the people born with them.
Death will come in it’s time, but, until then, instead of fearing it, I want to embrace the time I’ve been given, however long it is. I don’t want to part from this beautiful planet one second before I’m supposed to.
Oshin Ahlawat is a young poet and writer based in New Delhi, India. “I believe people who write are like tornados and cyclones. We wreck a lot of lives; for better or worse. It all depends on the people who read our work. They decide where the damage is going to be; the heart or the mind and whether it’s going to be for the good or for worse. I wish to give them the choice to decide that. I’m just going to focus on doing what I want”, she says.
Check out the psychedelic paintings by upcoming Berlin artist duo Abetz & Drescher. They combine a futuristic feel with nostalgia and pop culture.