I once remember watching a video about an 80-year-old woman who received her college degree. It reminded me of a conversation I had with my mom. While her fingers rhythmically shelled peas on the living room floor, she looked at me and said, “It’s too late for me to better my English. I’m not young anymore.”
Age is a funny concept. It’s inevitable, yet unattached, to the accomplishments in our lives. You can be 14 years old and graduate college or you can be 80 years old and graduate college.
I think about some of my cousins and friends (who are we kidding? Your friends *are* your cousins when you’re desi) who are stressed out because they’re single and feel the need to be married by a certain age. I sometimes find myself feeling pressured when I measure things I have done or have yet to do, given my age. Should I be more successful? Should I be married by now? Is it too late to do this?
I think what we should be asking ourselves instead is: Is there a stop button that’s magically pushed if I’m not married by 30? Does the rest of the time I have left on this earth not matter if I’m in my 40s and haven’t traveled to that country? Am I going to let a number stop me from learning new things and getting the degree I always wanted?
We will continue to follow the tracks of time collecting for yet another year. It’s something we don’t have control over, and maybe that’s what terrifies us. However, what we do have control over is what we let define us. It’s society that tells us to reach certain goals at a certain age. But what happens if we don’t?
So what are you going to do with the time you still have? Are you going to spend it giving up on your dreams because of your age? Are you going to stress out about finding a partner by a certain age? Or are you going to continue living, learning and growing?
I encourage my fellow South Asians, or any children of immigrants, to listen to your parents’ stories. Listen to their sacrifices and let them be your motivation to accomplish all that you want out of life, unmeasured by other people’s restrictions or societal concepts.
Your path hasn’t stopped yet, and it won’t stop just because you didn’t accomplish something by a specific time. Live your life, chase your goals and forget your age.