Wednesday, December 05, 2012

The Big O

To put it simply, turning 30 is tough. To put it more accurately, turning 30 is very, very tough. A day before I turn 30 is a good time to reflect on it.

When you are a child, all you want to be is a grown-up. You are fed up of the way your parents and everyone else around you controls your life, and don't allow you to eat that chocolate which has been reserved for guests, or let you play till 9 in the evening. You have waited for years to become old enough to fill your notebooks with nothing else but scores from playing book cricket. People find it difficult to appreciate you enough. You are just a smart kid, rather than a person whose opinion actually matters. Your parents and relatives and everyone else have often told you that you are young, and do not know the world enough. You want to stop them and tell everyone around you, "You know I am old enough now. Stop telling me. I know what to do."

But then, you realize, you are not old enough. And that you have no idea what to do. And you are  turning 30.

30 is a big age. You remember how when you were a child, your parents had all the answers. They had just turned 30 but they looked so old, and they were responsible adults, who knew exactly how to deal with different people. They knew how to handle the maid, how to talk to the village sarpanch, how to deal with people in marriages, how to deal with deaths in family, how to talk to the sisters of the convent in my school and most importantly - how to handle you. They could navigate through this world seamlessly, without any hiccups. They were able to pass through difficult solutions and knew exactly which puja to conduct when, and what social rituals demanded from them. They knew the value of money and what it meant to earn it. They had theories of honesty, integrity, religion and they shoved it down your throat. And while you cried at every opportunity, you never saw your parents shed tears. Well you did share your mom shed tears sometimes, but somehow you knew those tears were special and had some meaning, unlike your crocodile tears which came up every time you were denied buying a bottle of Pepsi. They were in many ways- and still are - like Superman and Wonder Woman (without the ridiculous outfits ofcourse!). And they were adults. Responsible adults - 30 year old adults.

You are no Superman. And you are turning 30.

You are not even close. You suck at social transactions - you still fumble while speaking to any girl you seem to like, and while you pretend you like being an extrovert and partying, you actually suck at it. You have still not managed to call up your first cousin whose mother - your mother's sister in law - just passed away, and offer condolences, and tell him how sorry you are. You are sorry, but well it is just too difficult to talk and you do not know how to proceed with it, something that you thought came naturally to your parents. You do not know what to gift one of your best friends on his wedding, and are most likely to go there empty-handed -  like you have done before in your other friend's wedding. You have little social relationships as compared to your parents - and even your family interactions are minimal. There are so many situations you have no idea how to handle. You feel embarrassed to admit it, but you know you have somehow not aged enough. All you really know is how to drink and appreciate some good beer and solve crosswords. And maybe solve some Analytics and data problems for your clients. You spend your weekends playing FIFA and watching sports, things you wanted to do as a child. Your life rocks, but you know you are in a cocoon. And your parents, who are after you to get married, want to get you out of it.

And so far, you have always told yourself and them, "I am not yet 30. I can live with this. I am yet to become a proper adult."

But right now, today, or rather tomorrow, you are running out of the excuse.

Turning 30 is very, very tough. It does not mark you as being responsible. All it means is that your excuses for being irresponsible are over.

And you absolutely hate it. 

The other reason, of course, why turning 30 is so tough is because it makes you realize that maybe, just maybe, your parents were as clueless about you when they were 30. And that they just put up a brave face in front of you. And that they were not Superman and Wonder Woman, but rather ordinary human beings.

But like the life of Pi tell you,you go along with the better story - so Superman and Wonder Woman it is. And that they have somehow connived to produce someone who has no superpowers.

This just sucks!!


tab said...

Congratulations and welcome to the club.

Phoenix said...

If it makes you feel any better, you're no more of a loser at 30 then you're at 29 and 364 days. Really, it just plateaus after a point. So you're ok.
Now go get married.

Apurba Kundu said...

Loved your post. I turned 25 few months ago and felt quite similar. Guess this quarter life crisis would continue for a long while.

Meanwhile, I think you'll do alright as you vividly remember what it was like to be a kid. A lot of 25 year olds i know have forgotten that already.

As for me, i don't feel grown up at all.

zubin said...

@Rohan: Hate entering the club :(.
@Taru: Why do people who get married - or engaged - just want to push other people into marriage. Is it a case of "We have jumped into the well. Please join us. Its lonely."
@Apurba: Thanks. I don't feel grown up either.

Witness said...

It's just another number:)cliched as it may sound but it's the start of another interesting phase-trust me you will be feel more cool in ur skin now!

Anonymous said...

Zubi baby,will you take it well if i tell you that you are suffering from peter pan syndrome and just want to hang on to your childhood and relive it,but with all the maturity and freedom you have now.And come to think of it,it's contradictory.
You want to learn how to deal with life,but are afraid of the 'hard knocks' implicit in it.
In short,you're too afraid to live life.Laughably,Fellas like you can go bungee jumping to overcome their fears,but are afraid of petty bloopers we all sometime or the other make.We all 'suck' but cover it well.
i pity your parents.They have been with you all this while,sitting on a boulder waiting for you to wake up,while you have been sleeping under the rock.Think of those who lost their parent(s) early in life and had no choice,or born in poverty.
but Alas Zub,you cud die,having lived an un-lived life.Take the plunge.

Anonymous said...

Firstly,thetitle big O is misleading;)
And i can already imagine you in salt and pepper hair with french beard.Same as you dude, reached twenties with romance and thirties with nostalgia.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday dude!

Phoenix said...

Nope. It's a deep dark well alright. And I would ask most people to never jump in. It's kinda pointless. To you, however, I think this is sane advice. It will introduce a wee bit context, a few boundary conditions, some (that much-hated word) constraints and most of all, it will force you to keep "doing" stuff most of the times. That sense of action - sometimes knowing, sometimes involuntary - it's like being on a train with a ticket to the end. You could get off for a couple of minutes at the station and relax, but then you get back on and keep moving. In a somewhat constrained world. I know I will sound like your parents/relatives/other older-nagging folks, but I think it will help you.

Anonymous said...

At times you just have to think about others.. Appreciate their happiness and need over your's and thats when you become a super hero ;)