This Sunday, I turn 48 years old. There are people who look at me and ask me questions about my external appearance. Social media is about appearances – and yes, I got on here over a decade ago because I wanted validation. You see, growing up, I was filled with insecurities and self-esteem issues. They have survived in me – like a heart beat that is consistent. I am quite sure even when my heart falters, they will not.

But over the years, I have learnt some valuable things. I have learnt finding and giving forgiveness is necessary. Envy is a waste of time. It is necessary to have a good friend and confidante by your side. It is important to be honest as often and as much as you can. When you feel honesty is hurtful, you need to be honest at the appropriate time, or be forever silent. I have learnt that the best of us are flawed, the richest are insecure, the most beautiful are frightened.

Being a romantic at heart, I found that love can last forever, even if it is not reciprocated. Love solves a multitude of woes, and the loss of it brings on a multitude of woes. I have learnt that time is fleeting. Even though Scarlett O’Hara believed in tomorrow, it cannot be trusted. The time spent with the ones you love is limited, and you need to let them know that you love them.

One important thing about love is that it never lives up to your imagination. It is not what you expect it to be. Life and love are similar that way. They do not stick to the plan, or the expectation. So, the key word to any relationship, even the one you have with your own life, is Compromise. You adapt, and you evolve.

No matter how dark the night, or how tortured the mind, or how torn the heart, time is a great healer. It fills all wounds. Yes, the scars remain. But they must serve as a reminder – not a lesson – as to who you are, what you have and can and will overcome again, if need be.

Death and loss are a part of this life. The fear of losing the ones I love consumes me. Being an atheist, I realise that this is one existence and I need to make the most of it. I need to tie up all loose ends and hope that my life has brought happiness to a few people and animals. My own death does not scare me. I have accomplished all that I have sought to do. I do not leave behind regret, just love.

I have never desired much in life. I was satisfied with what I earned. Ambition is not in my DNA – at least the monetary kind that brings in status. I have goals of a different sort. They deal with interpersonal relationships. Allowing people to be a part of my life and making them happy and giving them love. Yes, I would like to be loved in return.

That brings me to the crux. As I grow older, I hope to reach that place where I do not expect to be loved. A point in life, when I will not need external validation. I will be sure of who and what I am and finally be absolutely comfortable in my own skin. It will be enough for me to just love and live. But I do not see that happening soon, at least. As it is, thinking about tomorrow is not good for peace of mind. So I shall just end with a quiet hope that life will be kind this year. And if it is not, I will find the fortitude to deal with what it has in store for me.

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