We live in a world of comforts. Our pizzas are delivered to us at our doorsteps; we are spoilt for choice in online shopping, choosing everything from sneakers to underwear with a simple click; even dating is as simple as swiping someone’s face right or left. We are earning big money, much more than what our parents did. We are young, we are independent, we are living it up.
Yet we are miserable. We are stressed because our jobs are not perfect; we are unhappy because our partners are not perfect; we are insecure because our bodies are not perfect. We are much more stressed than our parents were; we are definitely much less fitter than them when they were our age. We cry ourselves to sleep sometimes; we drink to forget our woes; our relationships are short-lived.
We live in a world that is constantly telling us how to be perfect. How to achieve success, how to get the best physique, the best skin, the best partner. The pressure to be the best is real. You have arrived if you earn enough to afford a swanky car, or rent a plush house, or can be photographed partying with a chic crowd every fortnight, or are a looker who is popular with the ladies – that is the aim you have to constantly strive for. There are guys pumping iron in gyms, there are guys belting out numbers in boardrooms, marching towards their perfect lives with untiring zeal.
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We have dismissed academics and replaced Sharmaji ka beta with Mr Malhotra’s engineer-turned-startup-guy son who plays the drums and drinks like a fish. He is the new role model every youngster has to aspire to become. And he is much more difficult to outshine than Sharmaji ka beta.
There is no time to breathe. You’ve got to achieve. You’ve got to have fun. And you’ve got to make sure the fun you just had is duly documented on social media sites. Having fun has become an obligation. It’s the assurance you give to yourself that all is well in your life. Or that all could be well in life. We go to bars on Friday nights after long unending weeks of slogging at the office, to bitch about our bosses and drink away our blues. Or to just give ourselves the semblance of having fun.
No kidding, we have comfortable lives and we are in good jobs, but there’s always a mini crisis lurking around. We are cranky. We are anxious. We are the brooding twenty-first-century heroes staring at an invisible tragedy in the face.
Nobody sees it but it’s real; it’s omnipresent. It’s there when we take the metro after rushing from home without eating breakfast; it’s there when our colleague nails the board meeting; it’s there when we see our friend holidaying in Belgium; it’s there when we notice that receding hairline in the mirror or the wrinkles appearing under the eyes; it’s there when your Tinder match doesn’t respond to your messages after your first date.
We are never happy. Because we are too harsh on ourselves. We never pat ourselves on the back that…hey, you are doing a great job being an adult. Instead we reprimand ourselves, push ourselves harder, stretching our limits—physical, emotional and social. We look at the perfect son of Mr Malhotra and push ourselves further, till the threads begin to snap, layer by layer. Ironically, there is hardly any parental pressure; Mr Malhotra’s son prides himself in defying tradition and so do we.
Because everyone told us to be perfect. Everyone told us to go have fun. Ambition is a bitch. It is that double-edged sword that forms the thin line between success and obsession. It is not okay to be poor and sad; but it’s acceptable to be rich and sad. Sadness is acceptable but not poverty.
Nobody told us to relax. Nobody told us it’s okay to not be perfect, it’s okay to not be ambitious. Well, technically, they did but we concluded either they were losers or just old. Because our timelines are filled with pictures clicked from the perfect angle under the perfect light. But we forget they are just pictures.
When we sleep at night, the last things we see are the screens of our phones—wandering aimlessly over timelines, trying to find something amusing to laugh at, or something fascinating to long for. Our attention spans are terrible; we get bored easily and quickly, I checked my Facebook account 18 times while writing this article – there were no notifications there; it was a futile exercise of habit.
We forget to breathe. When was the last time you went to your office or home balcony, looked at the view and took a deep breath, not thinking anything at all? Not worrying about that pending assignment, not making mental notes of the grocery list, not thinking about your latest crush. Just existing in the moment completely.
We, the ordinary young men and women of the urban world, have control of our lives; we’ve got jobs (no matter how easy or difficult they may be), we’ve got houses to live in; we’ve got friends and family, period – we are effing on top of the world. We should be celebrating, and yet, here we are, anxious and worried to death.