I recently appeared for an interview for a masters’ course, and I don’t think it could’ve gone worse. I’m laying heavy emphasis on the word ‘thought’ because my perfectionist self does not excuse even a frivol of a mistake. I’m pretty sure I misinterpreted questions and gave pathetic answers. Post-interview, I ended up exhausted and at my best friend’s place.
What takes a backseat in the face of my criticism, however, are my very real abilities. Situations where I ‘think’ I made mistake. It takes my best friend and a long consolation session for me to make partial peace with the situation. (What else are best friends for?) Further, just to stress how neurotic I can be, the said college was not even my first preference. Cutting to the chase, I did get an offer letter from that college and I did not end up going there. This article is not a description of my experience but a reflection of what it taught me, and perhaps in an extension you, dear reader. (philosophy, maybe?)
Three years through college and two years through my sacred twenties have exposed me to quite a bit of advice about living young. I have worried so much about doing the right things that the consequences of tiny f*ck-ups feel like tectonic shifts. However, this feeling shouldn’t be new. There’s always that one sliver of regret or guilt (or FOMO) in every situation. From getting straight As to being known as the party animal or being that social media influencer, we want it all. Overwhelmed with questions, hustle culture draws us in and leaves no space for originality, uniqueness or diversity. Additionally, the saturation of motivational gurus and Insta agony aunts have us running on quick hacks to success. Finding solace in everything online has become our second nature – embellished with doubt, envy and comparison. Sometimes I don’t even understand what we are running after.
Excuse my little rant. But there isn’t one right path, choice or decision, dear reader. After having lived in this fear of f*cking-up, if I have learnt something it’s that our 20s are meant to be messed up. Case in point: –
This is a time when we have nothing to lose, and there’s such variety in mistakes. Just like great Dr. Jug (Shahrukh Khan from Dear Zindagi) said “Hum Kitni Qursiyan Dekhte Hain Koyi Ek Lene Se Pehle… Phir Apna Life Partner Choose Karne Se Pehle Options Dekhne Main Kya Problem Hai?”
Well, the advice does not limit to just a life partner, but a career, courses and just about any other choice. It’s always better to make an informed decision or even to just go with your heart, as long as it feels right to YOU. If that doesn’t turn out to be perfect, or long-term, that’s fine too!
- Your 10-year-plan might just be good for an interview
Did you add a pandemic to your superb plan?
None of us did but still (acknowledging the privileges) we continue to thrive in this situation.
It is great to have a plan for the next 5 to 10 years, I am a planner myself! But being rigid about it might seem too overwhelming. Life has its ways of working out, sometimes better than you hoped and sometimes much worse.
- F*CK ups are inevitable
Even the Avengers messed up bad and you’re just a human with the superpower of completing one series per day (and oh how you have flexed these powers in lockdown). The point being, you are going to make mistakes. Some days you will lose your Tupperware, and other days you might lose a job. The important thing is to move on. By that, I don’t mean to suggest that you remain in denial or ignorance. But maybe try and remember to keep your Tupperware back into your bag and in no time you’ll be iron man.
- There is no RIGHT
No, Mr. Right does not exist, neither does Ms. Right. Also, a public service announcement – a Right Time also does not exist. I left a professional career like law, which seems so right, for a B.A. Programme which seems like a last resort. Colonel Sanders started KFC at 65. It is you who validates what is right and what is not.
- You can’t have everything at once and do it all
FOMO is your lived reality. You can’t have everything because a version of it exists, but better. Thus, enjoy wherever you are.
- Not f*cking up is the biggest f*ck up ever
It fills me with immense joy if everything is working in your favour but if it isn’t then Congratulations! You’re living your 20s. That one mess up can be the best thing that happened to your life.
A note of caution to not take this as being toxically positive, and desperately trying to find good in everything. I just ask you to look at mistakes objectively. We might just survive this too.
Anyways, here is a bonus poem for making it through this article.
Adulting can be new
It might come easily to few
but it’s fine if you take one step or two
everyone takes their own time
it’s just about fine
you’ll learn it eventually in a day or two
as long as you are being the amazing YOU 😊