BEING A WOMAN IN HER 20s – PART II

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BEAUTY


The next thing I have to deal with is being conscious about  my appearance. Despite being blessed with  good health, we always try to set standards to our beauty. The society’s expectations of the ‘beautiful’ title has us lining up to the salon every now and then, finding the perfect outfit and getting the perfect haircut to stay hip. I ask, why is this validation required? Does it really matter everybody else other than those that love us, think? What they perceive of us?

We are all flawed human beings and it is okay to be comfortable with that. Yes, a new haircut or a cute little dress will make us happy, but that shouldn’t be the sole reason that defines our beauty. Beauty should be the grace with which we carry ourselves. Beauty should be the compassion with which we treat our fellow human beings. Beauty should be the ability to stand strong and smile through all the travails in life. I only wish the experiences I go through in my 20s make me a better person.


MARRIAGE


We live in an Indian society that up-brings girls with an ultimate aim to get them married. This is proven and significant once you dive into your 20s and finish college.

“When will you invite us to your happiest day?”, inquire my far off relatives.

“Why are you still single? Let us set you up”, tease my married friends.

“Should I circulate your pictures? When will you decide to settle?”, mocks my mother.

“So, will the prince of your dreams ever appear?”, taunt the old aunties in my family.

In annoyance and irritation I keep silent and force a smile replying to them in my head, “No, my prince charming fell off his horse and is probably wandering in the wilderness!”

This phase will not pass until you finally do get married but I have gotten used to the derision and have learnt to ignore it all; thinking that it’s the wisest action I could do. My advice on marriage would be not to rush into these societal and parental pressures because you need to be prepared for this phase of life called marriage – prepared physically, emotionally and financially. Marry only if you are braced and you truly believe that you will love the person all your life no matter what, as you speak your commitment vows on your so-called happiest day! Because baby after that there’s no turning back!


LEARNING AND HAPPINESS


So as a 23-year-old woman, what is happiness to me? Blogging makes me happy. Writing down my thoughts makes me happy. Binge watching a lot of TV shows makes me happy (Who doesn’t like Game of Thrones or Vampire Diaries?)  Playing with my baby sister gives me immense joy. Scaling hills and exploring new places makes me happy.  These may seem trivial, but right now at this age, these activities make me happy. There is no ultimate key to happiness. What matters is finding joy in the little things we do everyday.

Education and continued learning is essential to every being. In the hope of discovering myself and the purpose of life, I urge you to keep acquiring skills, train yourself to learn at least one new talent every semester because knowledge will steer you places and realization will hit that ignorance is not bliss!


In conclusion, I’d like to advise to my fellow 20 somethings, to just hang in there. Tread onto life’s path carefully but also make the journey memorable. As the journey on life’s path matters just as much as your destination does. Continue to be strong, passionate, beautiful in your own unique ways and show a little more compassion to your fellow ladies!

Ending with a piece of advice from a 20s ending to a 20s something is do not take life seriously. This decade is the most precious to me by far because amidst the success and failures of the uncalculated risks taken, it made me tougher, sharper and wiser. Spend this time to explore places, interact with varied people and plunge into impromptu adventures eventually finding yourself in it all. Learn as many novel skills as you can and perfect those that you love! And eventually you will discover that Life is more than a mere mundane journey!


Grateful to Pradyna for this collaboration and for her motivation to make this possible. Follow her blog at Ponderous Twenty Something

Being a Woman in her 20s

This is a 2 part post, where 2 writers come together to pen down their disparate thoughts on what it is like being a twenty something woman. One is just entering her 20s, with hope gleaming in her eyes and the other has braved all the travails, while standing tall.
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As someone who has just entered her 20s, it takes a great deal of courage to admit that I don’t have life figured out. I just graduated and hopped onto different jobs, which come with its own kind of expectations. In this whirlwind, nor do I or any other girl my age, has a chance to  just breathe in and take in the fact that adulthood has just begun for us. Schools never prepared us for managing our finances, working in a professional environment or coming to terms with the fact that our parents are ageing.

The era in my 20s is ending sooner than I can scream out 30! Several thoughts cross my mind as I dwell upon the years that have forgone.They say that living in your 20s is the best episode of life’s roller coaster! Well, from my point of view that’s not entirely true. Beginning with the highs and thrills of college life and ending with various insecurities in fields of career, finances, relationships and the like. I have enumerated the crucial aspects that have influenced me majorly throughout this passing decade along with guiding pointers for you which might enlighten your path through this chapter of life.


CAREER


As a young woman, I enter my 20s with a host of expectations. The boom of social media and fluffed up Hollywood movies has led me to falsely believe that life after college is all hunky dory. The girl graduates, lands a job in an office with the view of the New York skyline, meets a guy, falls in love and its all sunshine, rainbows and unicorns. Alas, reality hits you  with a loud thud in the face!

You get thrust in the real world only to realize what a cut-throat competition it is out there, and everyone looks out only for themselves and you’re left fending for yourself in the midst of all the chaos. You have to look the best. You have to work assiduously to  climb the elite ladder of seniority only to be thrown off the rung by someone better. You have to be the best. But at what cost?

As a woman I have to constantly prove myself in an industry that is male dominated.  I did it anyway carelessly and penniless because of the true love, passion and dedication I always have towards the field of electrical engineering. Life as a career oriented woman did get tougher in the middle of this decade. The confusing career options while comparing your career choices to that of your family or friends and switching back & forth between varied job profiles gave me a true experience of living in the professional world. And before I knew it, I was catapulted back to square one to start all over again!

The beginning is indeed tedious and heartily discouraging but once you have made that mark – nobody; I repeat nobody can impede you from achievement. And the race to get better, achieve heights and make a permanent impact in the industry will continue.

My advice to you is to be strong, passionate and self motivated continuing to persevere at being excellent in the career that you have always dreamt about. You will surely accomplish your career goals someday! Nevertheless take courage to dream, do what you love and whatever brings joy to those yearning eyes; success will automatically follow.


FRIENDS AND RELATIONSHIPS


Over the years growing up, we cross paths with an umpteen number of people, who in subtle ways or not, impact our lives. Some bring joy and some leave you heart broken. We get close to a certain of these people whom we call friends. The time spent with friends is supposed to be the most treasured moments of a person’s life. I don’t need to highlight the everlasting memories one can have with their friends, but eventually as you grow older, you realize everybody has a path set out for them. Everybody has to go their separate ways. Yes this is a hurtful realization, but it has the ability to teach you to let go. It teaches you to imbibe the various experiences  you have with your friends, in your life. It teaches you not to hold onto things, but to move on, as you have countless more people left to enter and influence your life and change it.

I started my 20s with a whole lot of friends and the end of this decade left me with a very few ones. I have had best friends and lovers who subsisted like soul sisters & soul mates for a while and at the next passing moment dispersed away. There was a continual petrifying process of heartbreak and healing during this tenure which coaxed me time and again to not trust and give into easy relationships. But shameless as always, I tread along even though philosopher C.S. Lewis’ words ring in my head –

“To love is to be vulnerable”.

My advice to you is to love, trust and make friends & be lovers anyway. Because journeying alone through this unpredictable and whimsical life is tough my young friend and no woman can live as an island (pun intended). And because love unlike energy shouldn’t be stored, it should be spread out and away into the universe.


Part 2 of the post is coming up soon. All Thanks to Pradnya for this idea and successful execution.  Go follow her blog at Ponderous Twenty Something.