I had this week’s article written and ready for publishing two weeks before my deadline but a lot has happened since then so I decided to write an entirely different article, one that would be more fitting. I also dusted off my trusty Mamiya C330 so I could capture the sense of this piece on film.
This week, I’ve only just realized that I am in fact no longer in my 20s. It’s been a month after my birthday yet this realization still hit me hard. Now that I’m 30, I’ve become painfully aware of my own mortality. And because I haven’t done even half of the things I’ve always wanted to do in my life, I am in full panic mode.
I am now very convinced that I am someone who still has not made her mark in the world and that the time I have left isn’t enough make any significant changes to rectify this. I feel that I am slowly becoming invisible and I feel that my complete disappearance from this world is inevitable; I feel that when I die, nobody will remember me because I haven’t really done anything that changed lives or even just inspired many.
While I can’t tell if it’s much worse because I am living in a city of millions, where everywhere I look individuals are driven by ambition and the mad sense of achievement, where it’s so very easy to get lost or to lose yourself, I definitely feel more alone. It’s like I’m standing in the middle of a crowd, slowly vanishing while everybody else is only getting more visible.
I guess this is how it feels like when we come to terms with our own impermanence. When we’re young, we feel like we will live forever, we feel like we have all the time in the world to do everything we want to do. Then we hit that temporary devastating point when we realize that no, we will not live forever and that in fact we do not have all the time in the world.
In a way, getting to that point is a good thing. It must be, if only because it pushes us to stop procrastinating and start living our lives to the fullest; to work harder at our dreams and start doing the things that we really honestly want to do; and to never take anything for granted. So that even if we don’t do or get everything we want in life, we can at least get to do some of them and make our own little marks in this world.
I hope that’s what it does to me. I have already used up 30 years of my life and I don’t want to waste anymore. I have books to read, places to see, cultures to experience, and many more things to photograph. If I am lucky to have enough time to do even half of those things, then maybe I won’t disappear completely.
All photographs by Michelle Rae. She lives, breathes, and haunts in the City of Angeles.