28 = 18 + 10

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I woke up yesterday and I was 28. And if it wasn’t for Facebook, I wouldn’t have remembered it.While last year on my 27th birthday I was all cheery and happy about the possibilities, my 28th birthday was overshadowed by pulling all-nighters, homework, trying to find decent accommodation and the logistics of settling down in a new city which has proven more challenging than I thought.

I woke up yesterday and I am 28, but felt almost exactly in the same situation I was when I was 18. Here I am in a new city (and country), couple of months into the first year of a university program and kind of lost in between all the administrative nonsense that has to be done.

Last year, I was super excited about not knowing where I will be in a year and while still in the same city, I am half way into the first semester of a terrific yet challenging program, quite a change of what I thought I’d be doing, but after living on the road, out of a suitcase for a while getting back into real life is not very easy.

Last year was a great learning year with a lot of travel and a mix of random experiences. I was getting ready to settle down again (however briefly) and going back to school is proving to be quite the adjustment.

Being a grad student at 28 while starting up in a new country and a new language presents its own challenges and it is different from 18. I realized that it is much more difficult to be conforming into a schooling system at 28, it is much more difficult to pull all-nighters and life is certainly not as care-free ( not that care-free was ever the right adjective to describe me or my life) as it was at 18. I guess time has its dues and age does eventually take a toll on you, I didn’t think I was going to get to these conclusions until my 30s but its seems like I am getting there a little sooner, which despite the realization doesn’t make the experience less important.

I am excited about the potential a new program in a new city with a random mix of people have in store. Challenge is good and even at the times when I want to pull out my hair in frustration, it is enough to be reminded that I am where I am because that’s what I have chosen, because I wanted to move to Paris and because I wanted to study philosophy.

If anything hasn’t changed from my 18th birthday is that! Taking charge of my life and choosing my battles (even if sometimes I underestimated the challenges) is the most liberating decision/capacity I acquired and for that I am thankful. And here’s hoping that in the last ten years, I gained the maturity required to stand up to the challenges and use the opportunities presented to me in the best way.

Cheers to a year of less moving and uncertainty, yet more challenge and responsibility!

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