Dear 18-Year-Old-Me: Growing Up is Overrated, Take My Word For it!

Dear 18-year-old Surangama,

This is your 29-year-old self sitting down to write to you, simply because she has nothing better to do! So if you don’t want to end up revisiting your younger self, wondering why you missed out on life, well, you’d better read this letter!

You’re on the threshold of adulthood now. For all those years as a kid when you wanted to grow up, well, let me tell you this, growing up is overrated!

Remember, with age, comes responsibility. So, basically, while you're still 18, you should make the most of it!

College Life Will Be So Much More Amazing...

You're just about to start college now. And that amazing! You leave behind the invisible chains that shackled you throughout your school life. Remember those endless hours trying to get a ryder right in geometry, or trying in vain to memorise chemistry formulae that made no sense, but had to be done, just because you were in school? Well, those days are pretty much over. From now on, no one can make you do stuff you hate, or don’t enjoy, or just simply suck at!

And, college life has its own set of fun! Not only does it spell freedom from school curriculum, but also from that life.

You will open your eyes to the outside world. You will learn to be more compassionate, sensible, and have radical thoughts about changing the society and world.

You will, of course, do none of that. But, my advice to you is, do not shy away from devoting yourself to a cause. Whatever you do, do not do it with half a heart, for this time of your life never comes back! And for god's sake, if you have a crush on someone, DO something about it! Stop moping!

Surangama at 18 (L); Surangama at her current age. (Photo Courtesy: Surangama Guha Roy)

Once you're out of college, ready to take on the big bad world, you should get out a bit. Don’t get stuck in the system. Your parents will mind a bit, you being an only child and all that. But it’s time to start moving around. And it'll do you good, trust me.

When you're done with your Master’s degree, try to get out of the country, because you need exposure. You need to know what it's like to be outside your cocooned life. You can't just pick up a rucksack and take off! That's not accepted in your 'culture'!

But there are other ways of doing it. Earn a new degree, qualify yourself more, get a job, and travel. Don’t listen to all those green faced relatives about how a young unmarried girl shouldn’t be going away on her own. They're just jealous!

See the world, make new friends. Oh! And did I mention, fall in love? Yes, girl, it's high time. So get on with it, if you haven’t already!

Now, this might sound weird. But also get your heart broken, at least once. A broken heart, and an affronted ego, toughens you up like nothing else does. So trust me when I say, that those hot tears of anger and frustration will actually do you good.

People around you will tell you how it is time to 'settle down'. Because, by the time you're 25, you'll be entering the 'waiting-to-be-bride' category. You will be emotionally blackmailed about how you'll be left all alone in the world. You might feel a tad suicidal at these wonderful visions of life, but trust me, you won’t be the only one going through this. So chill!

You live in a society where your business is everybody else's, except yours! You'll never succeed in satisfying everybody, and it's futile to try. And the faster you get the hang of it, the better.

So stop listening. Get married when/if you want to. Don’t, if you're not ready. Do not marry until you've met the man you want to spend the rest of your life with. And do not 'settle down' into a job if you're not happy with it! Quit it, and explore your options. Remember, no one ever did anything great by playing safe!

Take control of your life. You are stronger than you know.

One last thing before I sign off. Remember to show your love to your parents. All those years when you were a hostile teenager clumsily transitioning to adulthood, you weren't always sensitive to their feelings. So even as you seek your freedom, try to do so by not stepping on their toes.

Do it right, this time. But be you. Because you’re worth it!


Your cheeky older self,
Surangama Guha Roy