06 December 2004

23, going on 30

The Karamasov Brothers is one of my favorite book. I was about to turn 23 when I read it and a passage in the text particularly stroke me: in a very intense and intimate scene, Ivan, who's 23, is telling his younger brother Alyosha about youth and his love of life. It felt right and I decided to read the excerpt at my following birthday party:

"(…) I have thought of nothing else but my youthful greenness (…) Do you know I've been sitting here thinking to myself: that if I didn't believe in life, if I lost faith in the woman I love, lost faith in the order of things, were convinced, in fact, that everything is a disorderly, damnable, and perhaps devil-ridden chaos, if I were struck by every horror of man's disillusionment - still I should want to live and, having once tasted of the cup, I would not turn away from it till I had drained it! At thirty, though, I shall be sure to leave the cup, even if I've not emptied it, and turn away - where I don't know. But till I am thirty, I know that my youth will triumph over everything - every disillusionment, every disgust with life. I've asked myself many times whether there is in the world any despair that would overcome this frantic and perhaps unseemly thirst for life in me, and I've come to the conclusion that there isn't, that is till I am thirty, and then I shall lose it of myself, I fancy. (…) I have a longing for life, and I go on living in spite of logic. Though I may not believe in the order of the universe, yet I love the sticky little leaves as they open in spring. I love the blue sky, I love some people, whom one loves you know sometimes without knowing why. I love some great deeds done by men, though I've long ceased perhaps to have faith in them, yet from old habit one's heart prizes them (…)"

In two weeks, I'll be 30. So then what? Well, time flies. That's one cliché. It seemed to me that I was 23 not so long ago. Many, many memories jump at me, in the morning in particular. It's not nostalgia as much as it is a bewilderment at my past. I keep on being surprised and curious when looking back.
And then what? Well, life goes on and most surprisingly, I still have the same love of life. I just begin to understand though why people cannot stay in one's daily life forever. I wish all the people I love would carry on with me. The same people I met ten years ago or the ones I met when I came to live in Dublin two years ago. But it's not the way it goes. Adventures call everyone in all kind of directions.

-- Joëlle

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