#13 A life too long, too short

I watched 24 Netflix/Prime series this year. One of them was The Good Side, a show about afterlife that I watched mostly for Jameela Jamil, where heaven is filled with people drunk on happiness to the point where they are brain-jaded and simply want to leave. Like a death after death. At that point Kristen Bell observes Life is precious because it’s short, that’s why it’s special, because we know it’ll end one day.

Today (two weeks from the day of sharing) was not a good day. Today I also realized that Adulting is hard not only because there’s nobody providing after you, but because it feels like even Nature seems to have stopped keeping track.
At 5, 10, 15 years of age there’s a whole set of social and biological changes you (are expected to) go through. Parents walk (or maybe push, and some yank) you through some of it, but Nature takes care of the rest. There is so much to be discovered and to look forward to.

One day at school your friend tells you her elder sister got her periods, and then you wake up with pubic hair one day. Everyone watches as you grow taller/fatter with cyclically better/worse features while you can only hope it ends well. One day we’re discussing male anatomy over our biology records, and on another we are finally texting guys and on another kissing them. There is just so much new stuff to explore, so much awkwardness that you slowly find your way around.
(Okay I realize all my examples had to do with sexuality and reproductive health but you get it – or maybe that’s all we are as human beings and that’s all Nature intended to keep track of anyway, but I can’t digress today).

Then all of a sudden you’re 25. All you have to look forward to are when the barely-visible but definitely-there folds appear, when the freckles spread over like curry on hot rice and when those inevitable greys make their way. You’ve seen just enough of the world to not have too much to look forward to. Sure you learn new things about people every day but it feels never-ending. People are simple, people are complex. You’ve by now figured out what you need to do to keep in touch with those in your life and with some you indeed do, but you always wish you knew more people and yet once you do you aren’t quite sure if you want them to stay, or if they would.
And on most days they are annoying but by now you know people are what really lend your life meaning so really there’s no way out.

So then what else is left? Why isn’t daily life rife with learning? Why is personal growth all that remains? Why isn’t Nature edging me towards it? Are we just bound to witness trees change the same colors (and not even that in the tropics)?

What do I have to look forward to? So that you can help those less fortunate than you was what I came up with when I was younger (but really my mom came up with that), and I don’t seem to have discovered anything more exciting since, and I am not sure there is one. (And I do agree, it is good enough).

So today for the first time, I wondered at how long life is, and maybe just maybe wished it was shorter. What if we were told we’d only live until 40? How different would things be? My head hurts trying to picture that and I will not vomit that oft-repeated tirade on live every day as if it were your last or whatever.

What else is left?

And I get why people get married then, because what else is left? Yet it’s weird because how can it be that there isn’t more to life, especially when both companionship and progeny are optional? So then it makes sense to me now – it looks like this what Nature had in mind because it begins to deprive you of things once you pass the “reproductive age”. (At the time of publishing I have found something worthwhile, but that doesn’t change the four weeks of hopelessness when I was lost, and I can’t be sure it wouldn’t return.)

I think my issue is the realization that I have been so passionate about so many things all my life, my struggle has always been picking one thing out of my long list, life has always seemed too short to do it all and mortality has appeared cruel, and for the first time my list feels blank. Maybe I’m disillusioned because at 23 I was certain I could help everyone I wanted to but today I feel like our problems are too big to be solved (maybe that’s what a year and a half in the US did to me, or maybe that’s just mid-twenties, I’m welcoming ideas). Once blasphemous, today I can almost understand how the prospect of death might be charming to some, and for all the wrong reasons I believe.

Tomorrow I’ll come back to say life is indeed too short to do all that we want to but for today, I’m wondering what a long life I have ahead of me.

Note : As of the day of sharing, I have found one thing to add to my list so I’m happier (thank you Rohit :)). Last year I thought dancing and training my body muscles was a good personal goal to have but it somehow seems too short-lived a desire today (in other words, I’ll be over it too soon). Reading other mortals’ thoughts seems like a nice thing to look forward to. I’m still not back on the life-too-short sentiment yet but I’ll come around soon, I hope.

Also I’m not depressed, I just feel different and am still navigating my way through unfamiliar territories.

PPS : I almost forgot my GitHub reads an extremely self-centric “The day you feel that life’s long enough to do everything you want to, is the right time to get out and search for something new 🙂“. Well, child is father of the man, no?

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