Thoughts on Turning 23

On a comparatively chilly Sunday morning in November, I was drinking tea and thinking about the day ahead. There were no assignments to finish, no obligatory social events to attend and no looming deadlines. I just turned 23, started working, and now, what am I supposed to do? Get a tattoo? 23 sounds like the perfect age to get a tattoo.

Seriously, what do people even do at the age of 23?  A few of my friends are still in university, but most, including me, are stuck in jobs we don’t even like. Hoping the grinding and struggling of today promise a great tomorrow. None of us are happy, but then again, the world reiterates that you are not supposed to be happy in your 20s. So, who cares? There is enough mindless content on YouTube and Instagram that we can watch till we turn 90.

I caught myself thinking that in 1952 when Che Guevara took a motorcycle and went to see the whole of Latin America with his friend Alberto Granada, he was 23! This journey made him the great revolutionary he later became. Two decades before that, here in our country, a 23-year-old Bhagat Singh gave his life for his motherland.

The unprecedented content creation on different online platforms marks this age, which also means anything that can’t get your attention within five seconds is deemed as worthless. I think the life we lead amidst the perfectly curated YouTube online algorithms also means that we are made to think the same thoughts and live the same life. Now I understand what Charles Bukowski meant when he wrote, “This kind of life like everybody else’s kind of life: it’s killing us.” My generation is also the one that’s inheriting an overheated planet. So the thought that we are doomed anyway is just stuck inside many of us.

So, the question remains, what am I supposed to do at 23? Isn’t it too soon to have a quarter-life crisis? Maybe I should just order some food and binge-watch something. Maybe the solution to void is more void.

Vinaya K. is an ordinary corporate employee who aspires to live an extraordinary life through words.

Featured image: Andras Fritschek / Pixels