Catchy Title at a Round-Figure Age
I turned 25 yesterday.
Alright, let’s face it.
We give too much importance to aging. We all know that it shouldn’t matter this much. We are all theoretically aware that that list of 25 Things You’re Supposed To Do Before Turning 25 is bullshit. And yet, there is a part of our brain that keeps giving it a similar amount of attention that Indian Media gives to conspiracy theories. Of course, it is possible that this is just a problem for me. So, I want to start giving it the amount of attention that it actually deserves: the amount Indian Media gives to actual news.
Wow, what an obvious punchline. Your jokes are getting old, Alay.
Then again, so are you.
It is obviously wrong to say that Age does not matter. It does. There is biology attached to it and it is going to do its job whether we acknowledge it or not. In a more cultural sense, there are experiences and expectations attached with different ages and again, whether we want to acknowledge them or not, they are going to do their job.
So, what is my catchy title at a round-figure age?
25 things to do before 25? Yuck.
25 things I’ve learned at 25? Sure, but I am hardly the person who can give life advice. And obviously, smarter people than me (than I? Eh, who cares.) have written about their life lessons and it just makes sense to tag them here. So, here and here, two of my favorite catchy titles at a round-figure age. Trust me, they are much better lessons than I could have ever given.
Cool, then. For my own spin on the genre, I want to list down things that I want to do with my life. It has nothing to do with the fact that I’m turning 25 except that it gave me the length of the list. This will include things that I imagine will resonate with everyone. And it will include things that no one other than I will relate with. Some of it might be helpful. Some of it might be useless. And most of it will probably be forgotten, even by me.
So, with all its flaws, I present 25 Things I Want To Do In Life, Now That I’m 25 -
- I want my pre-pandemic self back.
There were a lot of things wrong with that dude, but he was more confident, more expressive, more committed, less insecure, less bothered by other people’s opinions, and felt helpless less often. It wasn’t easy being that guy, it had taken a lot of effort to get there and the thought of putting in that effort again is terrifying. But I want to get there. And get better from there.
- I want to change the world.
But wait. The truth is we are all changing the world with our choices and our conversations and our breaths. The world is such a complex place that it is easier to feel helpless and insignificant. I remember feeling ecstatic when Jim Carrey had said, like many of you I was concerned about going out into the world and doing something bigger than myself, until someone smarter than myself made me realize that there is nothing bigger than myself. I want to feel that way more often.
- I want to learn a new language (mostly Spanish). Why Spanish, you ask?
- I want to read One Hundred Years of Solitude in Spanish.
- There are a lot of people that need help, emotionally, financially, mentally, and so on. I want to help as many as I can while not being overwhelmed by my insignificance.
- I want to run marathon(s). Emphasis on the (s).
- I want to meet all the people that I once used to be close with.
Moving on and losing that touch is not always a bad thing. But a lot of those people were awesome and I want to see what they are doing in their lives and hear their stories.
- Talking about hearing stories, I want to randomly go to people and be engaging and honest, and charming enough that they will tell me their stories. Contrary to a lot of people, I love talking to strangers and I love small-talk.
- I want to be a teacher.
Because I’ve read What Teachers Make and because I’ve heard Tim Minchin say, even if you’re not a teacher, be a teacher. Share your ideas. Don’t take for granted your education. Rejoice in what you learn, and spray it. But more importantly, I want to be a teacher because of all the awesome teachers and mentors I’ve met and have been constantly inspired by. If you are reading this, you know who you are, and you have my eternal gratitude.
- I want to take better care of my body.
Every time I envision a future-me, I think of him as someone who looks fit and healthy. And I realize that if I want to get there in the future, I will have to put in those efforts now.
- I want to cultivate a good and healthy sense of humor.
- I want to be a writer.
I think a lot of people who know me know this already. But I don’t just want to be a writer. I want to be the best one. It might be unreasonable, obviously, to expect this from myself. (And beyond that, how does one even be best at any art?) But I want to learn enough craft and think enough ideas and write enough stories to reach a place where I can have the desired effect through my words. I want my words to hurt the reader, make them cry, make them sad, scare them, make them feel loss and longing, and I want my words to be warm hugs, lathering the readers in comfort, making them inspired and empowering them. You know the feeling when you are reading a book and there is a thought that resonates with you so much that you pause reading, stare into the distance, and think about what you just read and realize that your perspective has permanently shifted? I want people to have that experience while reading my writing. Too ambitious and self-important? It’s okay, I’ve got a lifetime to figure it out.
- I want to cook food that satisfies my soul and makes people smile.
- There are pieces of art that have deeply moved me. Blade Runner, Bojack Horseman, Invisible Cities, One Hundred Years of Solitude, This is Water, We Need New Names, Zen Pencils, Attack on Titan to name a few. I want to relish more of those, and hopefully, be a part of their creation.
- I want to trek in the Amazon Rainforest (provided it survives despite our negative influence).
- I want to live in another country for a while.
Be friends with the locals, order food in their language, party with them, understand what makes them them.
- There are a few things that I think I do have figured out. I’m aware of my privilege due to my caste, gender, sexual orientation, religion, skin color, class, money, and so on. The problem is, I have yet to figure out how to have honest conversations about them. I want to learn how to have better conversations.
- Right now, there is a generation growing up with depression, anxiety, and many other mental health issues. And I never knew how potent these things were until people around me started asking for help. I want to learn how to deal with these things, how to help someone who goes through these things, and how to maintain my own sanity in the process.
- I want to regularly play sports.
- I want to sit next to my parents, my sister, my family, my friends, everyone around me and enjoy their company and share things with them and listen to their stories. The pandemic gave me a good opportunity to do so. And I like to think that I did manage to do this a bit. But I want to do it more often and much better. I want them to know that I’m with them and I’ll always be there with them and they can always reach out to me.
- I want to give a speech.
I don’t know about what. I don’t know why I’d be giving a speech in the first place.
- About two years ago, I started learning the keyboard and joined music classes. It was a surreal experience as a 23-year-old, sitting next to five 6-year-olds, learning at their level (some of whom were much better than me). It was simultaneously embarrassing and funny. There are a lot of things to learn in life and I never ever want to feel ashamed about learning something new.
- I want to perform music live.
- With books, comics, philosophy, D&D, and awkward conversations, I think I’ve pretty much subscribed to a starter pack for Nerdship. And I love it. I want to explore that more.
- I want to thank everyone who helped me, motivated me, encouraged me. And I want to be more socially responsible towards people who care about me. I want to remember birthdays, reach out to people more, thank them more, appreciate them more. Because some people are just treasure, and life is fun and wholesome because of them. I don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to thank them for that.
If you thought that this would be a lesson-learned list disguised as a wishlist, I apologize. I wrote this because I wanted to write it for my future self. And writing this made me feel good.
But I do want to thank you for giving ten minutes of your life to read my rambling. This, by no means, is an exhaustive list. There are a lot of things I want to do and this is barely scratching the surface. But like I mentioned, I don’t have an expiry date on these things, because they are not attached to age.
And just in case I don’t end up achieving any of this by the time the same day next year makes its way to me, here is the last one.
26. I want to be okay with taking my time in life.