The curse of being myself.

25 is a weird age to be in, you see. One day you are young and successful, you know you have come a long way and you have an entire life to make something of. Then there are those days, when all you do is stand in front of a mirror and ask yourself — what the hell did i achieve in these 25 years? What have i done? Is this enough? The answer is NO. It is almost usually “No”. It is so much easier to tell ourselves we are not enough. To convince ourselves that we simply aren’t there.

With each passing day, as I get older, I just cannot help shake the feeling of being a bot dancing to the tunes of the society. Then I rewind back to introspect all of life’s decisions, all of which have been mine and mine alone. Growing up in a typical Indian family is nothing short of drama. But that’s not what we are going to talk about today.

I want to talk about the decisions we make and how we rationalise them. I want to talk about how being good at something can be a curse. I want to talk about how the society divides kids based on their talent and how it kills dreams in our sleep. I was almost “the ideal kid” (atleast according to the society! We will discuss the flaw in this soon). Believe me, I had all the qualifications right there. I had top grades in every single subject I took. I had excellent communication skills. My confidence levels amazed my teachers sometimes. I spent most of my time at the library devouring any and every interesting book I could lay my hands on. I was “Best student of the year” in middle school (My parents could not be prouder!) So long story short, I was the annoying over achiever either loved or hated.

No, this is not the story of a prodigal topper kid who goes on to study in IIT/IIM and then suddenly realizes he/she wants to quit and start a firm of his/her own. This is a story of an ordinary girl with extra ordinary dreams, the story of no destination but a kick-ass journey, a story of non conformist views and passionate pursuits. A story that all of us can identify with.

As I grew older I saw myself tumbling through life, one stage from another, like a blur. Like when you can remember the sceneries so quite well but you cannot really remember what you were doing there. Everything seems so insignificant, everything that you held dear and close starts seeming so small, so disposable, so mundane. You see a pattern , in the way you think, the way you dream, the way you look at others around you, the way you look at the world. The only pattern is that it keeps changing. It changes with every passing year, month, day even with every passing person you meet. You realize you are different. You seek something different. Not engineering, not corporate wars, not hippie music, not self help books. At this point, the world tries hard to catch up with you and eventually succeeds in pulling you inside the realm of a socially acceptable standard of living. I didn’t resist. I couldn’t.

But the voice inside my head knows this is not me, knows this is not enough. “Why are you always so lost?”, they ask. “You are so well settled, find a nice boy, make babies and thank your stars.” A younger me would have asked them to make love to their own self, in a not-so-nice way. But the now me knows enough to not waste any energy towards anything that does not add any value to the universe. “Why are you so complicated?”, he asks, as he resentfully pleads me to make him understand the inner workings of my restless mind. I wish I could.

So what happened? When did the seemingly normal topper become a complicated specimen of a rebel? I try to travel to my past to find answers, to find a solution, or even a clue as to who I was before society unsuccessfully tried to change me. Would I be more satisfied if I had kept at academics and become a famous surgeon? Or should I be happy I realized early on that academics is not and is never going to be a reflection of who I am. Would I rather follow the chronological process of meeting the right (well, almost, atleast according to Facebook statuses) guy, getting settled at the right age, reproducing before my eggs become useless. Or should I stay true to my feelings, tell him I am disappointed when I am, and that this relationship is not about dinner dates, but about fulfilling a craving so deep within your system that it validates your existence in this universe.

Should I become who they want me to be or should I be myself? 25 years and still going strong — The curse of being myself.

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