Yesterday was my 30th birthday. Time must have been set to fast-forward, because the last time I checked my watch I was only 22.
I had always imagined 30 to mean a steady job and a mortgage and maybe a marriage, an equation that adds up to the sum of a comfortable predictability. At least, my facebook feed tells me that is what most of my friends are doing.
I put a wrench in predictability last summer when I quit my job and moved to Tanzania. Sometimes I wake up in the dead of the night still terrified by what I’ve done, the future now a great unknown just outside of my grasp. Other times, when I’m sitting in the back of a bajaj, on my way home from work, the wind kissing my face and the sun low in the sky, I feel like I have stumbled upon a great secret that nobody else has thought to look for.
Last year, I celebrated my birthday with old friends. We went to the best brunch place in Vancouver and then looked out over the skyline from the windows of the beautiful new apartment I had just moved into. I had no idea that a few months later I would break my lease and that my next birthday would be spent with new friends. Dinner at a wine bar on a hot, muggy night while a band played happy birthday and everybody got up to do a Tanzanian line dance. The next day, lying on the white sand of a small tropical island, my reflection blue-green in the salt water.
Life has changed so quickly that I don’t know where I will be for my next birthday.
I don’t believe is astrology but my online birthday horoscope provides a small measure of irrational comfort: “This will be a year of huge changes, the kind you look back on one day and realize that’s when you branched out on a completely new path. Will it be a better path? Most likely it will be the best”.
If I had a print copy, I would cut it out and tape it to the small fridge in my apartment in Mikocheni, so that it could whisper its comforting message to me every morning.