Tuesday, June 13, 2006

numerical indication, passport, or a wrestle?

after a short jog around the park near my house recently, the swings nearest to the entrance of the park caught my eye. they were the swings my neighbour caroline and i used to dash to every time a heavy downpour ends because we would swing and run our feet through the puddles of water that would gather under them, pretending we were on water skis.

i sat onto the swings and started pumping my legs, urging myself forward faster and higher...definitely faster and higher than during those pre-teen days when my neighbours and i were still close and we found joy in what may now seem the silliest of thrills.

one of the swing's bolts was digging into my left thigh though, as i was pushing myself on the swings. it was a literally painful reminder that although i would love to go back to being 11 again, getting myself dirty splashing in puddle water, the growth i've been through over the last 10 years - both physically and emotionally - as well as external factors, like people's expectations of me, will prevent me from going anywhere but towards the future.

as i got off the swings, it occurred to me that all this reflecting on my childhood can only mean that i'm just not ready for adulthood yet.

that all happened a couple of weeks ago.

just two days ago, i had a little family gathering at my house just to celebrate my so-called "coming of age". what made me chuckle is that being 21 is little more than a license to vote and legally enter a casino, but people celebrate it like it is the most important birthday of their life, with a catered dinner and red-clothed tables.

but don't get me wrong - i had a fabulous albeit a little frustrating (from all the layaning i had to do as the "host") time.

anyway at the end of the night, i opened up the gifts my relatives have generously given me although my mother never explicitly mentioned that it was a gathering for my birthday, so people won't go through the stress of getting presents and angpaus. it didn't work. my guess is that the moment she put down the phone, they picked theirs up and dialed their closest kin to find out what the occassion really was. lol.

but i digress.

one of my aunts, as well as my two unmarried cousins (they're pretty handsome...any takers?), gave me the two biggest packages of the lot. my aunt and uncle gave me possible the cutest bag ever. i mean, it was a brown, soft, wooly(!) sling bag with a sheep on it. hehe. as for my cousins, they wrapped up a photo album with a soft cloth cover in the shape of a puppy.

i just had to smile when i saw their gifts. it was almost as if they were letting me know that it's perfectly alright for me to feel less of an adult and more of a child. however, i did suspect that it could mean i'm still "little shun" in their eyes and they would like to keep it that way because for every year i add to my age, they add one to theirs too. imposing agelessness on others, it can somehow guarantee their own agelessness as well.

anyway...i turn 21 today. i'm not very sure what to make out of it all, whether i see it as a numerical indication of adulthood, or a passport into a casino, or a time to start wrestling with my reluctance to grow up.

all i know is i am immensely blessed to have a large, raucous family and friends who will kidnap me to tgif or sms all the way from melbourne...and they're the ones who lessen the pain from the bolts that will continue to dig into me for the remainder of my journey through life.

lishun at 7:15 AM