When The Best Years of Your Life Are Behind You

For all my life, I never believed what the world thought of me. The criticisms and the accolades reached a part of me only up to a certain point. Beyond that lay my absolute, unwavering belief in myself- of who I was and who I wanted to be. I called it my destiny- that quiet voice telling me that I was neither as bad or as wonderful as people thought me to be.

I may have been wrong. There is a deep seated panic. Right where the belly button is. For all the talk of being zen, for all the books I read on ‘minimalism’ and ‘essentialism’ and what not, I am having a hard time accepting that maybe, just maybe the best years of my life are behind me.

Maybe I was wrong and the world was right. Maybe, I was only the sum total of the less than the more I thought myself to be. The clarity with which this existential question stands before me makes me want to fight it. Defeat can’t come so soon and should it be as bitter?

The dark slate of the sky leaches into my heart. I raise my palm to close off the water on my palms but like life, like time, the rain trickles through. I catch hold of nothing.

My mind is at odds with my life. What I thought was my destiny is so subtracted from my reality, that even in dreams all I do is climb never-ending staircases before free-falling. The panic of reality becomes the terror of my nights.

It’s so predictable. Pointedly unambiguous. The very life that I had feared, I live it. Once as a kid, I stood in the school’s annual day prize distribution ceremony holding a tray of medals and trophies. I was serving glory to others. I had done nothing to deserve any share in it. And yet, I prayed, hard if I might add, that my name be called.

It wasn’t. My mouth tastes as ashen as that day. I never did learn my lesson.

Maybe this was all I was meant to be. To be nothing else but a footnote in someone else’s history. To be the applause. To be the spectator. To be another has-been. Maybe this always had been my destiny and I just heard it wrong.

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