I turned 25 last Saturday. It’s a big number. Technically, I am half way through life. Almost everyone who wished, inquired how did it feel to be 25; does 25 provoke a worry in my heart that I am growing old. I laughed and said no. Not that worrying would somehow halt the process of growing old. Like with every other complexity in life that you worry about and how worrying does not amount to be of any help, it wasn’t going to help here either. However the fact is that 25 did not worry me at all. Rather, I was excited to have left behind a weird year and it just felt good. As a child, 25 was the age by which I hoped to settle down professionally and I am in fact approaching the end of my master’s. It might sound bizarre to some because I am already behind a lot of my peers who have settled down in their careers for a year or two maybe and some are even getting married. But I like to take things at my own pace and I cannot rush myself into things. So yes, life begins at 25 for me.
There was a day last year when I cam back from office to a flat that I had rented out with two other girls who I did not know from earlier. So I came back at around 6, unlocked the door with minimum possible noise, walked into my room slyly, switched off the lights, bolted the door from inside and pretended that I was not home yet. I continued the pretense till 11 in the night when I believed that my flatmates had retired to their respective rooms calling it a day. I ordered myself dinner, silently walked to the ground floor to collect the food and walk back inside the house and my room slyly so that nobody noticed that I was inside that house. Why did I do that? I had a major fallout with the two of them. That entire month was filled with confrontations and name calling and abusive behavior. Just that morning they had threatened to throw me out of the house that I was paying for. I remember being so exhausted and suffocated that night. There were five more days remaining in that house and I could not fathom seeing past those five days. I simply lied in my bed and wondered where I will find the strength to put up with another confrontation. But as you can see, I did see through those five days albeit with very little self respect left and a life time of savings wiped off behind me. I managed to get out of that house and out of all the negativity it had fostered in my mind. You see, that is the fascinating thing about time that somehow we manage to move on.
This is just one story of the many anxious and worrisome days of 25 years of my existence. Take a minute here and think of all the times when you felt exhausted, when you felt like you’re going to fail, when you actually failed (an exam, a relationship or a situation) and believed that you would never be able to move past the sting of failure, but you did.
I have always been worrisome. Five on seven days, I am worried. Every now and then I find something to feed my anxiety. As a child, any day that I woke up late for school by say, ten minutes I would spend another ten crying as if a catastrophe had befallen my life. I still get worried when I am running late but at least now I don’t cry and on some days I manage to rationalize that the outcomes are not going to be drastic.
As a teenager, I don’t think there was a day when I dressed up for an occasion without thinking that I was ugly. And every time my mother tried to comfort me I would confront her saying that she is not complimenting out of honesty but out of affection. From then to feeling okay with the way I look, that is another lesson that I have learned.
I still remember how I began experiencing sudden bouts of anxiety in 2014. I would get up 3- 4 times in the night to check if the stove has been left on accidentally, sometimes at intervals of two minutes. I would constantly worry about not having the locked the main door before stepping out. At times, I would come back to check on it. I used to sit in the car, imagining all the possible ways of collision. Some days I would worry about dropping my phone unnoticed. A pattern began to forge in my head where every time I felt that I was accountable for something, I would panic that I am going to fail. However, with time I have managed to muster some sense into me to calm down and some spirit to keep fighting my anxiety.
The thing that nobody appreciates about age is that the more the number of years you add to it, the more fertile is your mind and the richer are your experiences. With this post, I am not trying to imply that I have evolved into a perfect/zen individual at 25. I still worry over silly things, I still allow situations to overwhelm me, I still allow judgments to bother me, I still detest failures and I feel miserable every time I fail but every time that happens I convince myself that I can move past this . I have 25 years behind me standing precedent to the fact no matter how terrible that one day, one month or that one year may seem like, our survival instinct sails us through. Life goes on and with every year you learn something be it something as simple as calculating the time value of money or something as complex as designing a currency swap arrangement to benefit two borrowers in different countries.
At 20, when your teacher first talks about ‘beta of a security’ you manage to register nothing of it. But at 24 when you attain the sanity to spend some time with the concept, you understand that beta is the measure of a stock’s sensitivity to market movements. Let’s say you hold a share of Infosys, the beta of which is 1.2. It means that every time the market index moves, your share will move at 0.2 times higher than the market movement. That is a fall in 10% of the market index means a fall of 12% on your share. Since the movements of your share are steeper than the market movements, you are holding a risky share. The good thing about a risky share is that you can demand a higher return for the extra risk you are bearing. So beta in a way compares your share’s risk and return to market variables.
See how simple things become with time and wisdom. So the next time, Pinterest quotes, Monday Motivation posts on Instagram and the productivity listicles do not cut it out for you, take a moment and look back at your own life and all the little battles that you’ve fought and all the little achievements that you’ve accomplished on your own. Remember the bigger the age, the higher the achievements and the higher the motivation.