“What do you want to be when you grow up?” — the one question that plagued our childhoods. Somewhere along the line, the answers changed from becoming an astronaut to becoming a doctor who does charity work on the side to even more elaborate, albeit comparatively tamer, plans of where to study for university and picking out a major that has lesser odds of resulting in unemployment. Along the same lines, we also acquire expectations of what life should offer us. We imagine certain experiences locked away for us in the stream of time and space. But what if we feel an invisible force telling us that time is running out to unlock those experiences?
Growing up, we are surrounded by movies, art, music, literature, etc. that celebrate life and dive into the possibilities of what it can offer. These can vary from an array of tropes that begin with people getting whisked away into a world of magic or a person in their early twenties shunning society and running off to an adventure spanning across the country. A prominent feature of all of those would be the subject's journey to self discovery and coming across a lifetime of wonderful events, all before their mid twenties and even younger.
As a result, there is a subtle ingraining of the idea that life, imitating art, will offer us the extraordinary at our doorstep, without even searching for it. But soon, the realisation that life is not a coming-of-age indie movie slowly sinks in. While waiting for the incredible, we are often met with the mundane. However, the notion is still drilled into our heads, and we keep yearning for more and more. This feeling is not be confused with having ambitions, though. We just end up going through life slowly, trying to figure out a right cheat code, all the while thinking that our time is slipping from our hands. Ultimately, we subconsciously impose time limits on ourselves and feel an invisible force telling us that a certain life experience must be acquired by a particular age. Due to that omnipresent feeling, one may go by an imaginary manual of what they should be experiencing.
In retaliation to that, the one thing that should be accepted is that life does not play out like a neat movie with jump-cuts. It can be gruelling, boring, but amazing nonetheless. Even if someone feels like they're missing out on things unlike everyone else, it would be beneficial to remind ourselves that no two lives are the same. The invisible force should not quietly dictate how life should be lived.
At the end of the day, experiences will come naturally. There is no script that has to be followed by everyone. Similarly, there are no time limits restricting you from finding your North Star or a life changing moment sooner or later in comparison to others.
Fatima Jahan Ena considers herself to be a chaotically neutral egg with feelings. Fight her at firstname.lastname@example.org