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This story has been published by Rabia Rauf.
I will be turning 29 this year. For some, it is just a number but for others, it is a big deal. Well, for me it doesn’t matter. We all have heard the phrase “age is just a number”. This may sound absurd but I consider it as a banal phrase. I feel you need to get your life together at a certain age and time.
The reason is that our society has embedded this in our minds. We are given a set timeline of our own lives where we don’t have a say in it. Finish your degree at 22, get a job at 23, a master’s degree, and spouse before 25, and kids before 30. They keep on reminding you everything stops at the age of 30 as it is too late to start over.
We are so manifested by this thought that the need to win at a particular age has become a race.
Not a day goes by that I don’t think “Oh snap, I wasted another day of my life”. In the middle of the day, the ocean of thoughts strikes you. A year left to achieve everything persistently runs through the mind. Without even realizing we prove to society, they are right.
It is no longer a conflict between society and us. It has become a battle with yourself. We push ourselves beyond the limits, moreover, try to surpass ourselves.
We compare ourselves with others and have become apathetic. All our lives, we have been compared to people be that your siblings, cousins, or friends. There might be gloating people around you, who brag about their achievements to let you down.
Chances are you may have encountered braggadocio in your life whom you closely know of. They make you feel ridiculous with their unwanted questions. They will often ask you questions like “when are you getting married? “You are going to be 30 soon, aren’t you suppose to conceive at this age? “When are you going to apply for a job or a master’s degree?”.
These questions will follow with boast statements and making assumptions about you. For instance,
My daughter was just 21 years old when she got married, maybe you aren’t getting good rishtas [proposals]!
There must be a problem with you that’s why you aren’t able to conceive.
You only manage to get a suitable partner if you have a good degree or a job.
Sadly, this is the kind of society we live in. We are pressurized to the extent where we give up on ourselves so easily. Society has made us into complicated, problematic, and frustrated individuals, who are determined to satisfy others instead of being self-centered.
Often we try not to rush into achieving things. However, our minds are stuck on getting our shit together before our 20s end. It is one of the many reasons why people wish to move out of Pakistan especially women.
Our parents are highly influenced by society’s opinions and to please them. They force their children which probably won’t result well in favor of them. I wish our parents never allowed others to voice their unpleasant opinions for their children. Wouldn’t it be easier for us to live if we could discard toxic people’s judgment, mindset, and thoughts?
So, try not to live every day in a hustle. Take some time out to think about what you want and prioritize yourself. This race is exhausting yet trying our best to keep running till the end. Winning it doesn’t matter, every step leading towards the goal counts hence the growth.
In this journey when you realize that what we ever needed was ALLAH, then you gracefully accept yourself and become content with life. Let’s not make our children go through the same. Allow them the freedom of speech we never had. Give children space to self-reflect. Tell them that it is fine to take one step at a time instead of rushing into making decisions. If any human being around you is sparing no effort in achieving their goal and dreams no matter what age they belong to, try to acknowledge their decision and be considerate.
Given that we normalize the saying “age is just a number,” we will be able to create an unruffled society with no age restrictions where the younger generation can embrace their experience, memories, success, and failure.
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