As I celebrate my first New Year’s Eve away from home, I realize I’m past the halfway mark of my passport expiring.
It was Dec 2012 when I stood in line with Ma at the passport office. “Thank god we only have to renew a passport once in 10 years” she said as we inched forward in the queue. It got me wondering where I’d be the next time I renewed my passport.
Since that afternoon in 2012, I moved away from home, learned what complex carbs were and started using sunscreen. I gained 7 kgs, new stretch marks, and more stamps on my passport than my first 17 years combined. I paid my first taxes, got a credit card, and started buying my own tickets back home. I started accruing 4.5% interest on my student loans.
Since 2012, I’ve had to talk louder on the phone for my grandparents to hear me. Flowing conversations with old friends trickled down to annual birthday wishes. My visits home shrunk from 3 months to a week. And for the first time, my father lost a basketball match to me.
I’ve come to realize that defining moments rarely announce their arrival. Simply disguise themselves in our everyday lives, hiding in conversations, thoughts and hopes. That when you notice them, they feel strangely familiar, almost like they’ve been there the whole time.
To think that around the world, preschoolers got their first gold star, young mothers had their first full night of sleep, older mothers came home to an empty nest, the newly-weds agreed on a mattress and fathers became grandfathers.
So many defining moments go unnoticed every day, and yet the world unites to celebrate something as unremarkable as the earth completing a full circle around the sun.
As this year wraps up, I wonder what milestones the world has in store for me. Maybe my address will change. Maybe I’ll have a different last name. Maybe my passport will be a different colour. Maybe I’ll have a niece to spoil.
Makes me realize that if every milestone announced it’s arrival like the new year, and was celebrated pompously with champagne and fireworks, we’d all be so much more aware of how far we’ve come.
Come to think of it, could there ever be an adequate testimony to somebody’s year?
Aren’t we all just celebrating new years with our loved ones, knowing that we carry stories no amount of fireworks could hold a candle to.