When I was younger, like a lot of other younger people, I assumed that life beyond 25 was not worth living. To be accurate, I believed life peaked at 17 (I was fed a lot of American teenage drama by hegemonising American TV shows) and plateaued for a while, and then it kind of ended for all practical purposes at 25.
I imagined I would have achieved all my life’s ambitions by that point – I would speak at least four more foreign languages, I would have won the Booker Prize and become the youngest person in the world ever to do so, I would have achieved first rank in the civil services in my maiden attempt at age 21…
Well I’m 25 now and none of those things have happened to me and now I find that I am 25 for barely two more months after which point I will turn 26. I feel weird about it. A part of me is ready to embrace it with equanimity. Another part of me wants to run back in time
into the safe haven of my mother’s arms. (that sounded Oedipus-y)
But the reason I don’t mind 26 so much is because my life up till now has been pretty non phenomenal. I’m hoping almost anything that happens to me from this point forward will be more exciting than what I’ve already been through in life, which is not much. Highlights include fracturing my collar bone at age 6, getting chicken pox at age 8, getting mumps at age 11, and getting a badly botched up permanent tattoo by an amateur at age 21.
And then all of my 20s were devoted to studying for the civil services. And I mean all. I did little else except study for glory in this damned exam that no one in this world even cares about or knows that it exists, unless they are a middle class Indian with class aspirations of climbing the social ladder. And yet I have, for all intents and purposes, devoted my life to clearing it. A big part of my existential crisis stems from the uneasy feeling that I am engaged in a pointless struggle of making it my life’s sole mission to ace an exam that is kind of quite irrelevant in the larger scheme of things. I hope there is a reason to this nonsensical rhyme.
My advice to get through this all, for anyone else experiencing a similar quarter life crisis, is to keep reminding oneself that Angelina Jolie is 40 years old. 40 years old. Now that’s effing old. If she can get to 40 and live with it – and happily by all accounts – then so can I live with being 26.
But before I get to being 26, I still have two months of being 25 to revel in.
I wanted to commemorate that with something that won’t hold true in two months’ time. Something that applies to me only by virtue of being 25 and will cease to be relevant at age 26. I wracked my brains hard, and came up with a brilliant, brilliant answer.
The 4 Non Blondes.
They were a one hit wonder in the 1990s and boy what a song to be a one-hit wonder with. If you know What’s Up from the show Sense8 then I want nothing to do with you. If you haven’t heard it before, I am attaching the video to this blog post.
I think it is a brilliant fit for me because it sits so well with me being 25, as well as with me having devoted a greater part of my valuable youth to a cause that seems to have no end in sight. The first lines of the song sum it up nicely –
25 years and my life is still / Trying to get up that great big hill of hope / For a destination
And so I cry sometimes / When I’m lying in bed / Just to get it all out / What’s in my head / And I am feeling a little peculiar / And so I wake in the morning / And I step outside / And I take a deep breath / And I get real high / And I scream at the top of my lungs / What’s going on?
And that is why, I hereby officially dedicate this song to myself, to remind myself that struggle is a universal human experience, and also that any kind of struggle can be tinged with a touch of romantic despair, if only you can find the perfect band to serenade said experience with the perfect song.