On the Other Side of the 20s

Posted on November 15, 2010

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This post was featured on “Freshly Pressed” on wordpress.com‘s main website on Nov 15th/16th 2010.

It’s my last year as a 20-something. No, I’m not dreading the 30s. I am quite excited about how life is shaping up! In fact, the year I hit 30, will also be the landmark year of me getting married. And getting married marks the end of childhood. Yea, for an Indian girl, this seems to be rather late to end the tomfoolery, but I think it’s the right age for me!

Anyhow, this post is more about what I was at 2o and what I am at 29! My birthday post was more about how I feel at 29. But this post documents the transition.

At 29!

1. I always had older friends when I was 20, 21, 22…I had friends who were years older than me. 29-30 were the average ages that I was friends with. And now…well, I AM the older friend to a 20-21-year old! When I look at the birth dates of some of my new friends, I get a heart-attack! I met someone who was born in 1988 recently and I am really surprised, but I totally enjoyed hanging out with him!

I still have friends who are way older 🙂 Just that they’re now hitting their 40s and some, even their 50s! I love it.

Pappa and Me - February 2010

2. I still don’t feel old or my age or like time is running out. But when I look at my dad, who suddenly looks so much older than he did when I was 21 (which is natural, he’s 60!), I feel like a lot of time has passed. I, who laughed at family attachments, concerns, bonds, etc. am now trying to make these stronger. Even working towards reconnecting consciously, putting in effort and making it a point that my family knows that I love them and care for them.

3. I could really chug my drinks at 20, and even more at 25. But now at 29, wow! I simply can’t. I feel sick  and really really gross the next day. I now realise that my body is vulnerable and I cannot torture it the way I used to. I treat my body with respect. Currently, I am off booze.

4. At 20 and even at 25, I could eat up a 12-slice pizza while watching a movie and still not put on any weight! At 29, I eat a slice of pizza after a great amount of deliberation followed by an even greater amount of guilt.

Namita and Me in 2004, I was 23 years old

5. When I completed my Masters in Social Work (TISS, Mumbai) in 2005, I was 24 years old. I felt powerful, energetic, confident that I could change the world, make a difference, help people. Now, in 2010, after having worked in the development sector for 5 years, I have realised that my job is just a job…it puts food on my table.  And the biggest learning has been…I CANNOT help anyone and if I just about help myself, I’ll do good. This is not selfishness or cynicism, mind you. It is just something I have learned. Call it a spiritual lesson. At 25, I saw life as being full of injustices…and injustices that I needed to set right. I saw the world in black or white. Today, I am willing to make space for the grays. My principles were so rigid that I judged people (though I thought I was telling the truth). Today, I am a little more accepting of the grays and can give space to people who’ve not had the same exposure as I.

6. I spent my 20s fighting with God, hating her/him. I didn’t need G.O.D. to fulfill my dreams and achieve my goals. Also, feminism taught me that religion is patriarchal. As time passed, I failed at many things. I realised I was not good at the “real living” that I aspired for. And then one day, Roberto said to me, “Give God one last chance.” That line changed my life. At 29, I don’t need religion. But I need God. I need God in everything I do. God is my crutch and my elixir. Better than alcohol or drugs, right?

With Sid, a.k.a Roberto

7. At 20, love was all about romance, heart skipping a beat, candle-light dinner, knights and unicorns. As I went through life in my 20s, every man was a disappointment. Not because men are disappointing, but merely because I was expecting something that couldn’t last. When I was 26 or 27, I met a guy whose sales pitch to me was, “I am not a romantic guy. But I am stable, loyal and I really like you.” As time passed, I found myself discovering how I appreciate these qualities. I am glad I didn’t marry a romantic moron in my early 20s and wake up one day to find that I had nothing to say to him. But I invested in a 3-year long-distance relationship even though I was convinced that such relationships don’t last! HA!

With Diana and Judy at my 20th birthday - We keep in touch from time to time

8. In my early 20s, I always thought I’d take aging well. I wouldn’t care how I looked. Yet,  at 28 when I got my first forehead line, I felt a pang. A huge pang. I didn’t buy expensive cosmetics to revert it, but I am careful with my anti-pimple cream and my sunscreen applications (ha ha!). I now realise, when you’re beautiful, you think you don’t care about it. But when you’re slightly less beautiful, you appreciate it more. I do care about the way I look and will most definitely continue to!

9. There were several people I called best friends in my early 20s. Barring one, none of them are in my life. I am glad that most of them have disappeared. But I cherish what I had with a few and keep in touch with them as acquaintances even now. Previously, all my best friends were those with whom I spent the maximum time. At 29, all my best friends live away from me. But we don’t need to speak everyday or hang out everyday. We’re just there for each other and it works…beautifully.

10. In my early 20s, I was very sure what I wanted from life. At 29, I am not at all sure about what I want to do. But I am enjoying the ride.

P.S. watch out for the next post which will list all the things which have remained the same in this decade.

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Posted in: introspection, life