Lately I have been in a strange predicament – waddling through the last six months of my twenties. The remaining months, I imagine, would be revelatory to me, as only a transition of this nature could be. Even so, I busy myself in doing things that I have always found myself doing through ups and downs, things which I did when I was a twenty two-year-old and things which if I am fortunate, I will do when I turn thirty. Age is a number, I have been told countless times, but do we really believe in it? In my mind for instance, I have always been eighty-seven, even when chronologically I was still fourteen.
But it is not so much the age, the new number, that has been on my mind. I have not been losing too much sleep over it, thankfully. What I have been wondering, on the other hand, is about the change itself. What will change? That’s what I think about. What will change when I turn thirty? Would I become mature as opposed to how I am today? Would I become serious about the pursuits of a lifestyle we are expected to have by a certain age? Or would I become more of a woman, socially? Would I want to “settle down”? Or would I simply unsettle, at last?
The more I think of it, the beginning of a new decade excites me. Although it has taken some time to reach this state of mind. At first, I thought I am hardly anywhere near what I had wanted to be. To top it, I have at least for the moment little interest in a career, no romantic pursuits, and no particular skill or talent that I can convert into a business. I am not seeking a passion. Nor am I interested in devoting my time and energy into “one thing”. True to that, I have many interests and I have been fortunate to pursue them at different points in time, without the need to succeed in them.
Would I become serious about the pursuits of a lifestyle we are expected to have by a certain age?
More often than not, the lurking uncertainty of the new age is what appeals to me. I come from a lower middle class family, I have no property or inheritance to my name, and on most days I sneak around the class boundaries that have been erected around me. With my relative visibility afforded to me by my education, I really cannot claim anything much in my favour. But perhaps, it is the lack of so much that makes me feel free or at least unbound. For the last five years, if there has been one goal on my mind, it has been to achieve complete personhood.
In The Second Sex, I think Simone de Beauvoir meant something similar when she said that it was possible to live in the society and be free from it. Many may come knocking at my door and call me an idealist or irrational. And yet I find that this goal, this tremendous power of being a person in a society, being aware of what it is capable of doing to us, and doing to those who are our perceived “enemies”, this could be a worthy goal for me. It gives me courage to enter into my thirties with a head held high for no reason, but to have survived and still knowing there is a lot more to be lived through.
After all, the times have been changing faster than ever before and the world yesterday resembles very little the world that we breathe in today. We had set out to change the world, believing there was something wrong in the world. And, for a while it was true. But we have a bigger challenge now – to change ourselves. Between the two, changing ourselves is harder.
When I was young, everyone around me told me that I would become a doctor and I accepted it to be as my own. Then I wanted to become a palaeontologist, a cricketer, a FBI agent, a movie star, a millionaire, a philanthropist, a UN ambassador, a writer, a talk show host, and so much more. I gave everything a bit of a try, envisioning myself in each role, and learned a little more about myself. But I learned one thing best – age has little to do with it. We can start to change when we want to.
For the last five years, if there has been one goal on my mind, it has been to achieve complete personhood.
After a whole lot of crying over the things that I haven’t done yet, I sat down to make down a list of things that I wanted to do before I turned thirty. None of the items on the list are mammoth tasks, they are rather simple; they are really things that I have been trying to avoid. When I finally put the things down, I was ready for the last leg of my twenties. Each item were pieces of fragments, in itself almost meaningless, but when they come together, create something of meaning. I like to think of my life so far and afterward as that.
Individual fragments making a whole.
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