It was, you might say, the dawn of middle-age for her. At least going by her chronological age. Surely it had begun to show in the texture of her skin (a tad rough in places, the face marked a bit with small but clear brown spots), the creaks (like when she got up after sitting down for a while), in the time to recover from minor illnesses (she did not bounce back so fast, took a week to seven days), and a million other things. Miraculously the hair retained its original black colour. Not a strand of white or gray in the profusion that covered her head. It would have pleased her a lot if you said the same of her mind, that it retained its youthfulness, the years notwithstanding.
Life had been rich, it had been full. Countless experiences to look back upon with fondness. Countless people to remember with fondness, a few with regret about not speaking to for years now, but mostly a fondness. Current life was settled. Job, check. Career, check. Husband, check. Child, check. Good Friends, check. Family, check. No extremes, neither a genius nor an idiot. Neither a real stressful job nor a too easy-going one. Not obscene amounts of money, no pecuniary worries either. And so on.
Now came the question, what else? Really, after you have finished your education, completely, with no thought in the head of signing up for another degree, once you have a job and a career that is a keeper, once you have a family and a household set-up, and things running smoothly, what else? What is a bite-sized end point that gives meaning to daily life? Tough to see! Of course you could blame her for making this a complaint; so many millions struggling to have that level of comfort, making ends meet, forever thinking with frustration of who to marry, when to have kids, how to settle family squabbles, how to this, how to that. And here is she, all done, apparently. Biding her time, clicking seconds and days off a wall clock-cum-calendar, just completely all done.
A million books to be read, but after a point they all seem to say the same thing. A million movies being made every day, but wait, that’s not of interest to her. A million new people she could get to know…A spiritual awakening…A re-emergence of god…Another child…Volunteering…Change fields…New job…
What? What? What?
If every birthday is to be treated as reaching a crossroad rather than a milestone, surely she was there. Which road to take now? How many damn roads are there? What is she going to do now? How is she going to do this?
How? How? How?
In the middle of it all, the light clicks. Click. All of the externalities of life are meaningless. Everything. Food, hunger, skin health, black hair, elevators, load-shedding, shiny floors, Wifedom, Motherhood, Friendships, all ephemeral. The only thing that survives is inside, inside the heart, its love. So that’s the road she decides upon. All of life the same, except when lived with complete love. They do say that names are special, even if they repeat, they are unique. She was named well, cause at the end of it all, or perhaps right from the beginning in real fact, what she does best, young, middle-aged, or old, is that. Love. Like her name says. End.