I'd like to raise a toast


Here's to falling in love... or not.

“Here’s to the most beautiful girl in the world, for making me the luckiest man alive.” Flushed, she lets out a shy smile and raises her glass, “Here’s to the man of my dreams who makes me feel special and loved every single day.” He gently replies, “Here’s to falling in love.” Their glasses collide; CLINK. Soon the camera zooms out and their cozy date night conversation fades into the light noise of the Italian restaurant. Then the next scene rolls in… That is a scene from every movie you find in February. And of course, they were in New York on a hectic work trip. I don’t think that is how real world “here’s to” work, though. But what do I know? I’m sitting on my asymmetrically dented mattress, getting inspiration from “This February on Universal…” Nonetheless, my version of it would look something like this.

Here’s to … Here’s to the fine things in life: the surreal color of the clouds as you drag yourself out of bed before the sun turns yellow, the ten minute morning prayers that are unreasonably short but do manage to put you back in order,  the coffee that barely has enough substance in it to give you a kick, the underpaid cashier who still gives you the warmest smiles, the little naps in class as an Indian teacher commits treachery on both the language and the subject, the all-nighters that ruin your rhythm for a week, the silent screams, the ‘punching the air like you are Mohammed Ali’s.

But also here’s to constantly doubting yourself. Wondering if you have made a terrible decision so far because the truth of the matter is, nothing feels right. Battling with the expectations you carry around with you as it creates this gut-wrenching feeling that you will never be enough. Trying to tell yourself that you can take it one day at a time, but no, your over thinker self would never let that happen. Smiling, because that’s what they have seen you ever do. Here’s to the sleepless nights and that wet pillow, for they tell the tales of how God pulled you through.

Here’s to that house plant you forgot to water. It’s once blooming flowers now nowhere to be found. Only a trunk and a dry, cracked soil to its name. Here’s to the dreams and passions you left to wither away. To the friendships you failed to maintain; you sit and think how they would have grown into something beautiful. To the song you once passionately loved. Now you hit ‘next’ when it comes up in your playlist. Perhaps it’s just a reflection of your heedless tendency to get tired of things, things you loved. Here’s to the opportunities you failed to seize, the memories you failed to make, the risks you failed to take, the moments that slipped away.

Oh wait, I don’t think I’m doing this whole thing right. Let me try one more time. . . Here’s to the better tomorrows. To being thankful for the silent battles because you have come to realize that you are better for it. To being bolder and wiser in knowing that opportunities rarely hit twice and the only time we have is now. To deciding to put blood, sweat and tears into that one thing that sets your soul on fire. To making even bigger mistakes yet learning to give yourself a little more grace. To realizing that you are so much stronger than you give yourself credit for. To falling in love and doing all those romcom things together (Presumably in New York). Here’s to falling in love with life itself and the adventures that lie ahead.  

That, my friends, is how you raise a toast.  

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