Twenty-Three

“I was three-and-twenty years of age. Not another word had I heard to enlighten me on the subject of my expectations, and my twenty-third birthday was a week gone”

 – Chap.39, Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

I’d taken my sister out for Chinese at lunch and then went on to join some friends and whoever else made it to relax on a cold, rainy afternoon, with lots of laughter and crazy winding conversations, as well as some objectionable cake-smashing, hmpfh. The weekend just before that Monday was filled with lots of shopping and so I was quite sated (for that week, more like it). My good friends from design school were unable to make it, since it was their first day of class and although that was upsetting the afternoon wore on despite the incessant grey rain and the many friends missing. At dusk, my sister and I made our way back home to dress for the traditional family dinner out somewhere. Since it was late, we went to one of the older hotels in town, that had recently upped its game (woo.) A brilliant dinner later, we stood waiting for the valet to bring our car. So tired. What a long day. Some good people around me, but I was quite tired and trying not to get too pensive. It shows. The end of yet another typical Coimbatore birthday experience when I live at home and probably the last as I prepare to move out soon. This photo was taken at the very end of the day.  I wore a simple black dress from Color Plus for dinner with my chandelier statement earrings from Forever21, my usual Fabindia ring and simple black heels, plus the usual basic make-up with a touch of Urban Decay Lounge eyeshadow. Minimal, neat and elegant. Twenty-three…and tired.

This was the first birthday after my 18th that I have whole-heartedly accepted. It’s going to be a good year.

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No one cares that you graduated – Thought Catalog – Ben Atwood

I like this blog. and this article is true. I mean… I’m the converse proof. I am happy. I write. I work and I really work a lot at what I do. I can’t say its absolutely awesome or that there are days I do not fret, but at the end of the day I am happy.

So although I still did go ahead and get a piece of paper to certify that I have a degree according to societal norms, anyway on the side, to …well, you know, just, simply…certain demands were made on me, and lets just get it over with and all that; I sure didn’t work on thaaat part everyday. It didn’t become my life. In fact I couldn’t seem to do it that way. I got work despite that, or rather amazing, revolutionary opportunities that asked of me to bring my exclusive experiences, insights and exposure to the table and not a piece of paper that said I had a degree or two from whatever amazing schools.

To me and to a lot of other successful, happy people I know; it’s really more about the people you meet, your experiences, actions and reactions and always, always staying inspired and growing in some new way everyday. I am grateful for the avenues, opportunities as well as incredible learning experiences I have been exposed to and there’s no denying the subtle comfort of still having  your old bedroom at home, while preparing to face the world on your own.

No offense though, congrats to all you graduates who have worked hard all these years. I really do hope you love what you are doing, and have at many points enjoyed your college lives these last many years. I also hope that you truly do get to live as well as enjoy the rest of your life ahead with all your heart. We don’t see that happening too much especially in countries like ours. There’s absolutely nothing wrong in forsaking yourself for the righteousness of the mantles some of us may have to bear. But if you can, then never say no to your dreams. Never put THAT away for later. There will always be a way, however small , no matter what the circumstances. I guess what I’m saying is by now, I hope you’re all in someway close to your dreams or living it. I hope there is a leeway for the rest.

In any case, I’m not saying College education is not needed or not good. Definitely not. Sometimes you really need that specialized learning or active guidance. But there are also occasions where there are so many other ways to gain it, like one of my cousins said to me last year,

“A formal education system is not the only answer to life and it may not work for everybody.” 

I do hope most of you at least picked the right majors and are now making career choices based on the right decisions.

Then again I remember what another old friend told me sometime back, when I asked him what his job options were post his completing law school. As a top student who loved what he did, he’d already been offered some kick ass jobs straight out of school. What he said really made me think.

“Twenty-one is too young an age to have to pick between an *insert insane figure* paying corporate legal job and a *modest amount* paying civil litigation career that I have always dreamed of” 

Do you absolutely have to compromise? Are you doing this for your long-term happiness or because you are supposed to?  Will you be happy when you stop for a minute and think to yourself?

I don’t know.

Follow your heart and Good luck.

Here’s that article by Ben Atwood. And here’s a relevant comic by Zen Pencils that you should definitely see. 

 

There are a few noteworthy comments posted on this comic’s page.  It’s something I have been wondering about, because I do know some people are really happy doing the said thing, the done thing, the stable life giving thing and there’s nothing really wrong with that.  Read on!

 

Carlos Alfredo López Brouchy ·
This particular worldview really rustles my jimmies.That stupid idea that if you are married, you are automatically unhappy and miserable and your marriage is a sham.

That if you work at a job that you don’t particularly care about, you are automatically sad, pathetic and a slave.

That if your dreams are humble, maybe just a little house, a nice family and a quiet retirement, you are automatically boring, a sheeple and have no initiative of your own.

Couldn’t it be that you are married to someone you truly love even if the relationship has its ups-and-downs? Couldn’t it be that you just do you job to get your salary because for you, there are more important things than working? Couldn’t it be that you didn’t choose to a rock-star/millionaire/adventurer/whatever, not because you were afraid, but because you really rather live a peaceful life?

This, “Live life to the Max or it’s not worth living!” philosophy seems really asinine to me.

 

Nenad Lojic · 

While I do agree to your point this was placed towards the stereotypical people who’re actually not thinking with their head and who’re drawn into the system like slaves.
Vinersari Adrian ·  
@Carlos Alfredo Lopez Brouchy you are given a brain like everyone else and all the other body parts like everyone else …yet some of them excel at what they do while u chose not to …wouldn’t u rather give yourself a chance to be the best at something ? i agree with u regarding the marriage part ..but i can;t agree with u regarding the career part …because while others do their best in their field you chose to fade away never to be remembered except by the close loved ones so in this regard i say you sir, deny evolution , and steps in Evolution are given by those who excel at what they do and not by those who chose to fade away just because they want “the simple way of life”
Asif Torrent ·
@Vinersari Adrian: Being a great parent, spouse, carer or even friend could have more of an impact then you could ever dream of, and can change the World in ways we cannot even imagine. Albert Einstein’s mother taught him to dream, what would the World have been without her. Maybe she wasn’t recognised or rewarded for it, but if you wish to pursue a life for the recognition from others or some kind of pride-driven reward, then won’t you become one of the ‘slaves’ that this post is arguing against.
Misha Zambrano ·  for a lot of people being in the safe corner of their cave where no harm can reach them is happiness, i think you are right as well henry rollins is also right, it is just a matter of alphas and betas. yes but also other feelings enter in the scene as for me i can identify with this because I’m a person that cannot work in an office like that- the only thought of seeing the same f*****g walls everyday with the same people doing the same shit at the same hours everyday just living to get on every certain time and vacations once a year …i cannot think of something more soul crushing than that ..but i understand that a lot of people feel happy , safe in that controlled space.
Lachlan Peavey ·
Oh I totally agree, I wanna be a musician, but don’t necessarily want to be some huge star with limitless money (be nice though right?), it’s just what I wanna do to pay the bills. And that’s easier than I expected. But yeah obviously routine appeals to a lot of people, and I’m perfectly ok with that, but the fact that I know people who are undergoing that same soul-destroying repetition and are “too scared to get away” or “don’t know how” piss me off a bit, I’ve got no pity for cowards. Don’t live life to the max, but live life.
Oana Faust
I agree with what you’re saying, but the way I see it, the message isn’t the standard YOLO bullshit, but rather it’s taking a stab at those that are living a “peaceful life”(as you put it) but are NOT enjoying themselves. To those that are self limiting not in behavior, but in contentment/happiness.
Baló Timár ·
Oana Faust exactly. The problem isn’t marriage, career choices, or enjoying a peaceful life. It’s that people don’t fight for those things! They are content with what’s given to them and lack the initiative to improve. Notice the guy goes home to an EMPTY house. This post is not a “rebel yell” it’s against apathy and the notion that you simply “deal with it” and “go with the flow” and put no effort at all into making your dreams come true.
Edzus Bernauts ·
well kinda read overall all the comments, and can just agree with idea, that this post isn’t about everyone who have a common job, family etc, but about those, who have job, but they are working there only cause they have to, not that they want to work there. About people, who dont try to reach their dreams, their aims in life, but instead live with what they have. As before, i’l; also say, that there are many people, who like their peaceful life with family, common job. Cause they live, how they dreamed to live, and thats good. But there are so many people who dont try to achieve something or are afraid of it, so instead they are killing themselves inside. And in the end those people at end of life will have only but regrets about their life, that was lived feeling almost useless.
Carlos Alfredo López Brouchy ·  
I am happy that so many people’s jimmies rustle in the same direction.One thing to clarify though, I am not against people that don’t want to settle down and want to live extraordinary lives, that want to be revolutionaries, athletes, artists, etc.

My problem is with the notion that unless you want to “do something with your life” you are a pathetic husk of a man; as if being a responsible worker, a dedicated family man an a decent citizen was not “doing something with your life”.

 

Dikdik Dwiparandi
Great comments!!

Showing that it does depend on the person n the situation, whether ‘max or zero’ or ‘love n peace’.
It’s our personal choice, or should be, and we do need to know the risks of each choice and be responsible for the process/outcome thingy.
One of the worst case is when it’s not your personal choice, but is chosen by whatever outside influence directly or indirectly, that’s the sucky one and creates ‘inner discontent.’

____

Well…. What do you think ? Where do you feel you are in life right now? I believe sometimes we all just have to do the best we can in circumstances. That is where I am. Living my dream…to the best of my circumstances. One atleast has to do that. Try. Somehow. There will always be a way. Some way. Somewhere.

When do you start feeling old ?


When you start paying bills ? When you have to think of saving ahead and thinking real long-term ? When you weigh each official decision and brood and ponder over what life really means and whether it will all work out? When a whole lot of things become about money and you never thought you’d be one of those people. Or when you learn to let the small things go, and enjoy the smaller pleasures in life but still endeavour to jump up for impulse and for passion, only not so baseless anymore. I don’t really know. I guess it just happens (happened more like it) and some days you really feel it. Like when you get that ginormous bill from your dentist.

At the bottom of it all, life is still good. I’m still doing all the things I love, no matter what has come or gone and fled us all by over the years.

 

 

I’m turning 23 real soon. Completing 23 I suppose to be more exact. Entering that 24th year of my life, where I really make my own way, my own home and everything else. I know a lot of people still say I’m still terribly young to think so much, but you can’t stop life from happening with that can you, now ? I know I have a long way to go but I also know I have to begin NOW.

Life as I know it will definitely change this year. The last few years have had so many uncertainties and ups and downs, as it has been for almost all of us. I still inherently believe that life is good, everybody fights their own battles, you gotta deal with things as they come, do the right thing, follow your heart,  hurt nobody and everything’s gonna be alright but hey, guess what?  I still have that mad glint in my eye. Be warned.