Thirty!

 

1st anniversary of my 29th birthday!

 

1st anniversary of my 29th birthday!


As a random treat to myself (after all the cake and mojitos courtesy of my friends), I rewatched the Loki finale. Yep, three months later and I'm still processing it. Did I expect to feel as much as with WandaVision? No. Did I cry at the possibility of worlds, of entire universes, of unrealized selves opening up and becoming a reality? Maybe, a little bit.


Okay. A lot.


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Would I want to meet another version of myself? 


I always catch myself wondering about - and often, wishing for - other universes. A slight inconvenience? "Other Karla wouldn't have missed this e-mail, ugh." A major detour? "Another Karla would have been at the finish line by now." A missed opportunity? "She would have taken the train as soon as the doors opened." 


It's not so much intriguing as it is oddly comforting. Other worlds laying tangent to our own. The infinite possibilities of more definite futures. Of lives lived more fully, of decisions determined more resolutely. Of huge choices made and left unburdened by the expectations particular only to this terrain. A totally different person who looks, thinks, acts, and maneuvers the world nothing like me.


But then, perhaps, in another universe, there exists a version of me that is only slightly different. One who made almost the exact same choices, got to the exact same point, living an almost identical life, except for that one single incident that didn't wreak literal havoc to my organs, and living happily just the same.


Am I the sum of my sadnesses? Am I who I am because I had to overcome? What if I didn't have to, and everything else on my plate right now I still had anyway? What would become of me, and what if we met?


Would I ask, "What's it like being 35% less sad? How does it feel not having all of life tied down to a moment?"


You know how in video games, there are certain crossroads that you just know will ultimately take you to the biggest, most important battles? And at that point, you choose to save the game so that in case you lose, you can always go back to that moment and redo everything? I think, at 30, I've lived long enough to know the "save points." And sometimes, I still wish I could go back to it. Maybe do better, think more thoroughly, make a different decision. Find out the life that could have been if I didn't press A or jumped over a cliff.


But this isn't how real life works, unfortunately. And no matter how many times Loki and Sylvie convince themselves that they belong to a different, better timeline - they had to grapple with where they are and where their choices brought them.


I guess He Who Remains said it best:


"Been a long journey for you, hasn't it? Lot of running, lot of pain. And you, you're a flea on the back of a dragon in for one hell of a ride. But you did manage to hang on. I guess that counts for something."


Perhaps this is the biggest lesson of growing old - and growing up: hanging on. It counts for something. When we manage to thrive despite the uncertainty and the ambivalence of it all. Life will keep throwing curveballs; the universe will keep dangling the past and the lost futures. But there is real joy to be found in flourishing. To bloom where fate plants you, and to find peace in being exactly where you are at precisely that moment in time.


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This year may be different - a thousand miles away from home, missing loved ones, traversing the unfamiliar, in the middle of a pandemic. But different is also good: it means finding family in new friends, diving into new experiences, and seeing silver linings despite the roadblocks. I'm thankful and happy and incredibly lucky to be where I am. Who would've thought? Turning a new decade and finally crossing something big off my bucket list.


I'm so, so grateful. 🌸

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