Older. Wiser.

Ageing feels strange.

It has arrived with the baggage of growing up. Year by year, month by month, every single day, it has made its presence felt. It has nudged me to acknowledge the backache I’ve been avoiding for years now, pressured me into taking prescribed drugs for anxiety attacks, and at times reduced me to feeling nothing more than a mere lump of discarded garbage.

All these years, it has crept into my being little by little, manifesting its worth, certain of a welcome. It is bereft of shape. It is bereft of rules. It’s like death sent an assistant over to keep a watch, basically ticking days off the lifespan of sixty or seventy something years.

Every grown-up decision comes with a realization that some more years have passed. Accepting competition at work, making peace with the imperfect relationship, helplessly witnessing familial relations crumble, everything’s a part of getting wiser and growing older.

Like today, it has been raining all day. People are cursing the downpour for causing traffic jams. They’re angry and eager to reach home to a warm dinner and bed. I too am part of the crowd. Inside the auto, I sit quietly waiting for the Innova ahead of us to lead the way. The guy driving this auto is exasperated. He is in a hurry; his phone keeps ringing every two minutes. He spits his frustration every two minutes. Such are days when I feel the weight of age. I’m overworked, sleep deprived and my neck hurts, but that’s usual for anyone returning from work on a busy week-day. My concerns are beyond these. I am angry, at no one in general, restless for no real reason, and worried about nothing in particular. But inside of me, the three have teamed up and taken the shape of this inexplicable fire-like demon.

By logic, I must douse it before it gets in the way. I try and try, and try some more. It’s impossible to put it out, but I am able to somewhat control it, however, it manages to burn some edges. Suddenly, I am jolted out of this brief reverie. The street has cleared up a bit and we’ve resumed our journey. The right side of my temple begins to twinge, as if it is being stabbed by a needle. And then, out of nowhere, I remember the migraine I woke up with this morning. I recall how it paralyzed me for the entire day, and how I worked my way through it somehow, meeting deadlines, attending client calls, responding to emails that popped in every five minutes into the inbox. The migraine felt ignored, for I chose to camouflage it with all my might. But its nature is such that it must return with more power, and so it did.

By lunchtime, I gave in. I could feel my heart throb inside my head. A colleague told me to take it easy. She gave me a painkiller and I swallowed it down with a gulp of coffee that had gone cold. I took a short break and eventually resumed working, once again trying to defeat the migraine. I had no choice.

Trudging up the stairs of my building I now realize how frequent days like today have started repeating themselves and how similar my pattern is to take it in the stride of life.

I wish to believe that I’ve grown wiser; nevertheless, it did cost me one whole day.

Time won yet again.

And tonight, I aged a little more.