Contemplations of a 21-Year-Old

Contemplations of a 21-Year-Old

Contemplations of a 21-Year-Old has been edited by Nidhi Shah.


A 21-year-old single woman who is a recent graduate but is still jobless. And if that is not enough, then one can add the adjectives clueless and aimless.

Presently, this is the best description I can give about my life. If someone were to ask me for my plans ahead, I would be as clueless as a five-year-old. Perhaps the only difference between the two of us is that when I was 5, I  could say anything that came to my mind. And people would find amusement in it. One day I could say that I want to be a doctor. Make my friend act as a patient and play the role of a doctor myself. The other day I could say that I want to be a teacher. Wrap my mum’s dupatta around me like a saree, take out a slate and a piece of chalk. Make my dolls act as my students and play the role of a teacher myself.

Days when conventional careers like doctors or teachers were unappealing, I could say that I want to be a housewife. I could play the age-old game of ‘ghar-ghar’ with my neighbour’s son. Where he would act as my husband, reading a newspaper. While I would act as a dutiful wife, preparing tea for him. That was the best part of being a 5-year-old. I could be anything: doctor, teacher, wife, princess, astronaut, sailor, pilot, artist, anything that I would like to be. For 365 days of the year, I could be 365 different things.

At 21, I cannot afford to do the same. When I was 5, I thought that by the age I am right now, my life would be sorted. I would have completed my studies, had a well-paying job, own house, independence. But here I am, a complete mess. When I look back at my 5-year-old self, I feel disappointed. I feel like I did not stand up to that little girl who had hoped and dreamt so much for me.

My answer to ‘What do you want to do in life?’ is still changing frequently; if not every day then every month. If not as wild as becoming a princess, then definitely some major jumps. My aspirations change every month, from being an HR professional to a marketer. From a writer to a designer, from a businesswoman to a social worker. I ask myself, why is everything so confusing? Why is it so difficult for me to choose one thing, stick to it and dedicate my life to it? I get all sorts of answers, ranging from ‘Because you are good for nothing’ to ‘You lack focus and direction’.

However, the best answer I, a 21-year-old, have received in response to my contemplations is that life is too short to do the same thing every day. One can be all that one wants to in this very life.

When I look around me, I find people of my age having the time of their lives. Like they do not need to worry about anything. Like they have it all planned, no contemplations, and it is just me. Just me who cannot figure out whether to attend the next lecture or not. But maybe, things are not that simple for everyone. Maybe, everyone I see is as confused as me. Maybe, everyone is trying to come out of the same mess. But maybe the way one deals with his/her mess is different from the other. Some choose to celebrate their confusion and take pride in it because life is meant to be thrilling. While the same confusion bogs down others.

Here is a suggestion to all the young folks out there, who do not know which road to take. Please breathe and let it go. Life is not that complicated and you will find your way out. Just like Rachel did from a waitress to a buyer’s assistant in a fashion house. Or the way Chandler did from doing statistical analysis and data reconfiguration to going into advertising. As of now, embrace the chaos happening in your life.


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Shreya Goel
Shreya Goel

Shreya Goel - Martinian | Sleeping Dwarf | Potato Nazi | Wallflower | Potter head | Friends fanatic