How Hollywood-ish is the 30-something rebel livin’ la vida loca (living the crazy life) of her 20’s? The fact that I just typed out livin’ la vida loca goes to show that I belong to the Ricky Martin fan club era days. And yes, I was in love with him – then. Back in the day.
So, without delving too deep into the absolute pathetic existence of my 20’s and the reasons behind it (primarily just me), let me summarise. Single child. Formally educated. Nerd. Solitudinarian. Scientist dreams. No fear of missing out. Non-risk taker. Non-adventurous. Sucker for routines. Strongly opinionated. Inferiority complex & body image issues. Obsessive compulsive. Sarcastic to the point of no return. OG dreamer. Ahead of her times. Never fitting in. Didn’t get along with many girls (still don’t). Handful of real friends. Music & books for company. Occasional mug of beer. 8:00 PM curfew. Protected & under surveillance (and put that into an Indian home context). Piercings, tattoos, sex and drugs were words we did not use. Belonging to a ‘good family’, that lives in a ‘society’ (I’m not sure where all the others live?!).
This is not to say that I was unhappy in any way. I was blessed with family, love, a comfortable home, and more than enough to cater to my needs and even some of my wants. Which may be why I never felt the need to add another layer to my existence. It was, if I may call it so – flat. But, as with cold beer or hot women, flat is not the way to go. Predictable is boring. It sure might be reassuring, stable, safe & organised – but really, we’re talking about a 20-year old here and not her health insurance.
I can’t deny that as the 20’s brushed past me, my bucket list of the wild/crazy/adventurous/fun things I wanted to do someday, stretched to infinity and beyond. All I did, was to write them down neatly in my handy dandy notebook, numbered by priority (OCD, remember?). Don’t feel bad for me; I checked some of them off. And some, I feared, would just be ramblings of a forgotten life. The opportunities were plenty, but I found myself weary of taking them. Insecurities, family, fear of judgement, falling in love too soon, being focused on creating a stable future, and overall, being almost too proud to be able to hold myself back from ‘distractions’ – kept me from realising that control is so overrated. And sometimes, experiences (both good and bad), when in moderation, are the only goddamn ways to learn, weigh & forge the life you want to finally live. I didn’t want to make mistakes. But, soon I knew, I’d much rather have learnt from them.
Small mistakes in the 20’s means smaller mistakes in the 30’s. No mistakes in the 20’s means boulder-sized mistakes in the 30’s. If there’s one thing you take away from here, let it be this. Because protecting yourself from the unknown is like having a hard shoulder to cry on when the known isn’t (and will not be) everlasting.
I learnt it the hard way, so I’m entitled to preach.
But, like Mick Jagger sang “old habits die hard, harder than November rain” – it takes conscious choices to change patterns. So, I’ve tried to let go. Done what I’ve felt like doing in the moment, without too much thought or self-judgement. Essentially, I’ve been living the present. And, concentrating on getting some stuff done from that bucket list.
And, I feel happy.
But, there’s more meat to the matter. Because, at 33, you gotta do it all with grace. You can’t get away with things while you make the young-dumb-broke-single justification. Somewhere, you gotta balance the act. You don’t want to be a 30-something wanderer, you want to be a 30-something rebel. And yet, nothing’s nice overdone – not steaks, not cinema, not makeup, not rebellion.
Any rebellion is a craft – carefully planned, executed and mastered.
So, here’s some more free advice.
The last thing you wannabe is a 30-something trying too hard to be a wannabe 20-something. Not cool. By all means, do the dumb shit – but you’ve earned the wisdom of a decade more – so know when to stop, and where to draw the line. Know who to tell, and how much to tell. Know what to wear, how to behave, when to shut up, and where you’re unwanted. And please please stop saying – “30 is the new 20”. It isn’t. Just like blue can never be the new black.
There’s grace in acceptance – of age, of smile lines, of greying locks, of post-pregnancy stretch marks, and more so of preferences – quiet over loud, nights-in over nights-out, ‘me’ time over crowds, fitness over smokin’ hot, classic rock over pop, buzzed over smashed, conversations over sex, and Jockey over Victoria’s Secret.
It’s really okay. The spark in your soul and the soulmate who sparks it, will never get old – at least, not in spirit.
Until next time,