Although my 20th birthday was 32 days ago, I’m writing this post today since I wanted to experience life as… Let’s cut the crap and just say that I’m a bit lazy when it comes to maintaining this blog or even the others. (I did write a short rant on my “tumblr rant blog” though. You should check it out).But I believe it did work out in the end as I learned a few new things that I’m going to use in this post that I believe will improve the quality, of this post.

As midnight struck on my not-so-ancient wall clock, and the date change to the 24th of the third month of 2018, I waited for my body to transform into the new phase as I shed the old teenager skin and emerged to my new “adult” form, leaving all the childishness behind and trading it in for sophistication and seriousness. But to my surprise nothing happened after even an hour had passed and my body remained more or less the same.

If we go by what Heraclitus of Ephesus, a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher said, i.e. “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man”. What this means is that we are changing every second, if you put one of your foot in the water followed by the other, both of them would be in a different river as the water that touched your first foot has flown away(as water does) and the water that touches your second foot is new water flowing in from somewhere else. In the same way, man is not the same even a few micro-seconds apart. We’re changing, ever so slightly, every passing moment. But all that is a bit too much to process for us so let’s just stick to the once-in-a-year, “one year older” change.

The first thing I learned was that we don’t change the way Heraclitus thought we do - not practically, nor do we change the way we think we do, i.e. on our birthday, as I experienced it. We change when we want to. We change when we experience life, when we think, when we learn and when we educate. We change when we want to and we have ZERO control over this change.

The second lesson would be something I read a long time ago on Wait But Why, one of my favorite blogs of all time - as you grow older, the people who matter in your life become more obvious. The people who’ll stick around in ten, twenty or thirty years become more obvious. Because on my 19th birthday, I received more than ten messages the second it turned 12. On my 20th, I received one. I also received fewer wishes than last time, but I received more genuine ones. I’ve always believed in quality over quantity and as I grow, the quantity of my birthday wishes may decrease, but the quality is surely growing - and that’s what matters.

I’ve also been reading a lot less, but learning a lot more. I learned that we don’t always have the time to pick up a book and take out time to read it, but we always have time to think. We can always observe and so, we can always learn. I’ve been studying a lot of History and Philosophy lately too. Subjects I thought I would never be interested in. I’ve been studying Capitalism and Socialism, topics I thought I always understood but in fact knew nothing about. My interests have changed so much in the last three years alone that if I meet my fifteen, sixteen or even seventeen year old self today, I’ll punch him in the gut.

Life’s changing and so am I, but this number I put in front of my “age” does not define how old I am, it is my experience and knowledge that defines that. So if you’re going to tell me to “act my age“, I just want to let you know, that I am acting my age, but that doesn’t matter, as long as I’m acting to my educational standards.

Happy belated Birthday to me, and thank you to anyone who wished me - means a lot.

Ammar Shah
Ammar Shah Ammar Shah is a writer, Digital Marketer and Software Engineer based in Karachi, Pakistan
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