I’ll say you are on the right track if by 25, all you have had are a broken heart, a missed on-site opportunity, rejection, loss of someone close forever.

You were probably born in the latter half of the 1980s or in the early 1990s and are currently in your mid-20s — which could be why this caught your attention.

You might still be single, or in a relationship, or about to be married. Or probably your relationship status is just so confusing even to you that you say “it’s complicated”, and try to leave it at that. Whatever it is, though a part of your mind says you are happy the way things are, a small part is envious of your married friends who seem to have suddenly moved on too far, leaving you behind.

If you are a young woman, and still unmarried, society’s eyes are on you. Everyone you know or you can’t even remember ever meeting in your life, suddenly come up to your parents and ask why you are still not married and suggest some cousin’s nephew and go on about how he’s the right guy for you. This will be enough to fuel your parents’ worries. And suddenly you’ll find yourself going on a pilgrimage every weekend instead of to malls or movies, to get rid of the ‘doshams’ in your astrological chart.

All of a sudden, the world seems to be filled with only married couples. Your Facebook newsfeed is full of engagements, marriage and honeymoon photos, and every picture or post shared is about love or relationship. As if your relatives are not enough to drive you desperate.

Life doesn’t get easy if you are in a relationship, either. You start worrying about whether your partner’s family and yours will accept, and get along with, each other. Even if they are open-minded, there will always be someone in the crowd who will bring up caste, stars, community or a hundred other reasons as to why the marriage might not work. You might have lost your girlfriend just because her parents think she’s old enough to get married and you are not, or because you’re just not their idea of Mr. Perfect.

Just getting married won’t solve your issues. Because, then they’ll want to know when you’ll be starting a family. Don’t even get me started on that! In short, society just doesn’t leave you alone whatever your status.

Most of you would have successfully got on to the corporate treadmill, only to realise you don’t control the speed on this one. Your prefect badges, gold medals and certificates are neatly kept locked inside along with your musical instrument, painting kit, stamp and coin collections, only to be taken out occasionally to be dusted and kept inside again. Your days are filled with issues, lines of code, defects, customer calls, coffee-cups and office treats. Some of you might not even get enough Vitamin D as you are in office before sunrise and out only when the moon comes out.

Even worse are the ones who live by time zones in a different continent. You end up living for and only during weekends. You tell yourself it’s all for the house or the car you want to buy, or so that your matrimonial profile would look good. Occasionally, when your heart stirs up an old dream, you convince yourself your current job was everything you ever wanted and the on-site opportunity that seems just round the corner would solve everything. Very few of you have the courage to follow your dream.

Your school-and college-mates are far and busy with their own lives. They are either busy with their higher studies or married life, or climbing up the corporate ladder. Not just your customers, even your friends are now in different time zones. A call out of the blue, a few WhatsApp messages, make you wonder how much life has changed. There is no longer “the gang”, and everybody is busy creating their own identity in the world. You read blogs that say “Things to do before you are 25, places to visit before you are 30…” and wonder whether they’ll ever happen to you.

But I’ll say you are on the right track if by 25, all you have had are a broken heart, a missed on-site opportunity, rejection, lost someone close forever. You’re now just better-equipped to survive the rest of your life.

Cribbing about the way things are isn’t going to change your life. So get out of the familiar walls, try an adventure sport, visit new places, make new friends, care for the less fortunate in society. Just go out and seize the day!

akshagiri@gmail.com

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