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Birthdays have never been a source of existential burden or torment for me. I’ve never found myself thinking “My God! What do I want to do with my life? Where do I want to go from now on?” Not even last year, when I reached the respectable age of a quarter century – the quarter life crisis is apparently something to look out for nowadays. Now that I’ve passed that point, I should be safe, shouldn’t I? Or should I…?

I’ve never really felt my age; it was just a number. In a strange way, I don’t feel it even now. I just feel a sense of unease at the idea of 26. Because it spells maturity. For some, it can even spell marriage. And possibly even family. It translates into decisions becoming harder and harder and ever so much more necessary and unavoidable. It means being a true adult, renouncing the thought of running home scared each time there’s a bump in the road and that of quitting when things don’t turn out the way you thought they should or when they’re almost unbearably hard. It means facing the labyrinth that we call life all on my own.

I’ll be crossing a threshold in a couple of days – birthday no 26 – and I didn’t even see it coming until I noticed myself standing in front of it. Slightly bewildered, not certain whether what’s waiting for me after I take this step will be sweeter than what I’m leaving behind me, but certain that the only right way is forward.