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A pivotal time

india Updated: Jun 13, 2009 13:54 IST
Anoushka Shankar
Anoushka Shankar
Hindustan Times
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This week, I turned 28. As numbers go, it doesn’t feel like as much of a development as some earlier, more stereotypically significant birthdays like turning 18 or 25. But actually, I think it may be one of my most significant birthdays yet.

Turning 28 is considered a pivotal time, according to astrology. It begins a period known as “Saturn Return,” which marks the time when Saturn moves back to where it was in the sky when you were born. This causes immense shifts in a person’s life, both, externally and internally.

I wouldn’t be writing about this if I hadn’t found it to be extremely true in my own life. While things have gone on as usual on the outside, on the inside, I’ve been hitting moments of total turmoil, confusion and frustration. For the whole last year I’ve been feeling this immense push, a need to change aspects of my life and grow deeper into my true self. It’s as if I’ve known intrinsically that something important was ahead of me. It’s hard to describe why, but I knew it had a lot to do with my age.

The period of Saturn Return lasts until a person turns 30, and is usually considered one of the most challenging and formative phases a person goes through, because Saturn pushes and guides you into becoming who you really are. It forces you to let go of old attitudes, relationships and lifestyles that no longer serve you, and helps you discover what you want out of life and how to achieve it. For this reason, in astrology, a person’s first Saturn Return is when one truly reaches adulthood, not at 18 or 21.

It makes sense, when you consider how often you hear of people “freaking out” when they turn 30. It’s such a marker, and we all tend to think that once a person is 30 they should have their lives sorted out, and be fully on their paths. Learning about the Saturn Return, I wonder if making the most of it helps put us on the right track, thus reducing the “freak out” effect!

It’s a rather unsettling feeling, knowing it’s time to spring-clean my own life of things that I may be deeply attached to. But it’s also inspiring and exciting, when I think of how wonderful it would feel to reach the other side of this hurdle!
Life is always providing us with small and subtle chances to learn and grow. I’m using this opportunity, my 28th birthday, to make my own personal “New Year’s Resolutions.” What would yours be, if you were asked today?

Oh, one last thing: I haven’t replied to any letters in a while, but I’ve run out of space this week. I’ll devote next week’s column to replying to you all, so please keep those letters coming! Thanks.