Now in my early thirties, it is time to accept (very hard though) that I am no longer them who define the word 'youth' for a society, and so is true for my contemporaries and here I am talking specially about my Indian friends (My European friends are unbelievably young even in their fifties). We have passed the days of teenage turmoils and quarter life crisis quite some time ago.
We are leading to the more well known middle age. Late nights are now causing acidity and we (well most of us) no longer can or want to live the life of a backpacker. We have almost achieved or received many things, which were dreams ten years ago. Some of us like me might be lingering a bit but we are on the process, we have got an idea about the journey that is going to be, if there are no surprising unexpected turns on the way. A career/education, husband, a child or two, temporary and for many a permanent space for living are on our palms, and are we happy?
When I look back and search my parent's life at this stage I see them quite satisfied and relaxed as if they are in the middle of a long train journey, where they have no hurry to look for the next station, so they can take out their playing cards and play a bit, munch some home made snacks brought in steel tiffin boxes or can buy a cup of tea from the station vendors. I don't know it was the truth or it is my memory which has only kept the golden sketches. Talking with my parents revealed me that they were also stressed out in their thirties mainly economically. They therefore always searched little windows of fun, picnics, going to relatives in vacations, matinee shows, weekend tours to name a few. But they also said that emotionally they were fulfilled, they of course desired to become the topmost in the office and go for a world tour or at least all India tour but it was fine if they could not. At least for my mother, home was her job. She sometimes felt empty in a undefinable way but most of the times she enjoyed doing her job and gave all her intellect, energy and creativity to it. There were only occasionally some grudges on the topic of division of work between the spouses.
On returning back to my present, why do I feel that we are not that relaxed anymore. We are economically quite well off in comparison to our parents (we have credit cards!) but we don't feel true emotional satisfaction. One main reason, we don't have 9-5 jobs any more and working odd hours or all the hours is the norm, if you don't do that you are stamped as being not serious enough, all work and no play does not bring happiness at the end. Our careers/Jobs are mostly contract/performance based and so we cannot breathe that lightly, we can go global any time which were dream for our parent's generation, but the more we see, we yearn more, either we or our partners or we both are very restless or orientation less to be more specific.
Unlike our parents time now most of us are family of two workers and one/two kids, but our society still don't have enough consideration or infrastructure for raising the kids while both parents are working (not always just for money but for their desire). 'We don't have time' is the buzz word of today. We feel tired but we cannot relax. We cannot let go. We need everything perfect and quickly. We take holidays and then fill it up by hectic world tour or other schedules. We cannot spend time doing nothing. And for women it is even worse, our mothers told us to study hard, they told us a life outside home will give us an identity, which they thought they were lacking. We listened to them religiously, we studied hard and got a life outside home, but at one point of time we found that in the quest for an identity we are stuck in between dual identities, one who wants to stay at home and other who wants to climb the ladders.
Depression, frustration, high blood pressure, chronic pains, hormonal imbalance, obesity are some of the symptoms almost all of us are confronting already, just in the beginning of our thirties.
And the worst of all is that we ignore them with full power as it is so unknown of, we haven't seen our parents having these in their thirties so how can we? We don't think that the job style has changed from moving to sedentary, we don't count the alarming increase of eating outs and late nights, we overlook that our social structures have changed from being a family to being an individual. Two working partners after having long day at work rarely take time to sit together and unwind.
Is their any way out? As a parent I don't want to pass this kind of life to my child. I know I cannot switch off the computer or T.V they are growing with and I cannot stop them taking challenging jobs which demands odd or all hours of life. I cannot ban all the junk food around her. I cannot ask my daughter to get only education and no career. But I want to see her healthy through out her life. To gain that I do want to provide her a speed/quality control mechanism.
I don't know what exactly that would be, I am still working on that, but may be I will try on the lines of learning to wait, expecting little less, if possible ignoring little bit of peer pressure, cultivating a strong hobby to create a distance from work if and when needed, also to use it as a cushion if and when work gets sour.
I am on a trial, but the choice is clear; a life which has health and smiles in it, little less of achievements and success will do for me.