Do you remember that time when you were a child and all you wanted to do was grow up? And then, when you finally started growing up, you realized that you’d made a grave mistake? That’s pretty much how life is for everyone.
Being an adult is hard. Adulthood is basically a curse that’s made to look attractive to unsuspecting children, but once you’re caught in the trap, there’s no going back. Being an adult in Pakistan, however is a tad bit different. If you’re in the process of growing up, here’s what you have to look forward to. And if you’re already an adult, you’ll know the following to be true:
1. You’re never old enough for your parents
So you thought you’d finish school or college (or even university) and you’d be able to live your life the way you want?
Pakistani parents will never see you as adults. You could be 50 and you’d still be accountable to them for telling off your future son-in-law or missing Fajr that day. There is no escaping Pakistani parents. The only thing you can look forward to is that you get to do the same to your kids.
2. Making life decisions for the first time is a big concern
Okay, picture this: you’re an adult, you’re living on your own and are, by default due to the living on your own bit, the head of your household. What do you do? Eat? Pay your taxes? When do you sleep? 10 pm? 1 am? Is it worth squeezing in a 3 hour movie marathon before bed when you know you risk getting late for work the next day? What about that appointment you were supposed to make with your doctor? Or the kapray you were supposed to give to your darzi? Who’s going to make all these decisions?! That’s right – you are. Good luck with that.
3. Foraging for food is a thing
Back home, ammi had the daily staple of daal chawal or the occasional biryani ready for when you woke up or came back from an outing. You begin to realize that you’d trade in all the junk food in the world to have a taste of the meal you once complained about. What’s more, you have to decide between eating healthy, which requires a shit ton of money or eating cheap, which would probably result in a coronary attack down the road. Decisions, decisions.
4. Now is the first time you learn what the ‘application of knowledge’ is in practical life
You’re a fresh graduate and you know your entire syllabus inside out. You could narrate pages if asked about your particular field of interest. Easy enough, right? Except for the part where you now need to make trips to the bank alone, balance your finances alone and basically do everything that you weren’t given a syllabus for – all by yourself. Easy peasy, right?
5. You have to “act” interested in Brexit more than Kim Kardashian
A customary requirement or threshold, rather, for being considered an adult is having sufficient knowledge about current events and the ever intriguing political dynamic of Pakistan. It contributes to the mundane dinner time conversation that adults usually have. I mean, if you don’t pipe in with your irrelevant and baseless opinion, do you even qualify as an adult? Of course, the general issue is that there are times you’d rather discuss how Ramsay got his ass handed to him instead of which jalsa Immy bhai is holding now. That usually doesn’t sit well with your fellow adult company. But hey, you do you.
6. You have to build your street cred
Your ammi can bargain the heck out of a salesman. Your abbu is a pro at getting discounts. Galli galli ka shopkeeper knows both of them and they know they dare not mess with their skills. And you? Well, you’re you. You have a long way to go and a lot to learn.
7. And learn how to manage your own money
Things were a lot easier when you had your khaandaan to fall back on. The bills were getting paid, you didn’t need a 9 to 5 job or a part time job if you’re trying to be less of a burden. Suddenly, you’re accountable for where your money goes. You’re forced into spending money wisely or not at all when times are bleak. You’re bombarded with tax figures and sheets of bills. And if that’s not enough, you have to fit in the aforementioned food into your budget, along with basic necessities. Adulthood’s great, guys.
8. Even learn how to balance your life and your “life”
Everyone comes to that point where they have to get serious enough to turn down offers of going out and chilling with their friends. Often, you lose a lot of people who don’t understand how that system works. Whether it’s about balancing your advanced studies or your job with your social life, everyone reaches their breaking point where they give up altogether. And if you’re still managing to balance both, you end up with very little time for your own self.
9. You end up dealing with people you’d rather avoid
When you were growing up, your mom and dad had your back every time you wanted to avoid someone (unless it was a relative, in which case you were shamelessly put on display like a trophy.) When you’re an adult, all your battles and confrontations are solely your own and you’re left trying to wriggle your way out in the best way that you can. I mean, you could crawl back to your parents for help, but who does that, really? Ab toh izzat ka sawaal hai.
10. And you struggle to find some time to yourself
With a busy and hectic schedule, it gets increasingly difficult to find time for yourself to decompress. You watch your binge-watching hours dwindle to a few minutes as your age increases. If you have to catch up on a show, it can take you days or weeks, by which the time you already know half of what’s happened because of those assholes that keep posting spoilers. If you want a nice day in, you’ll find yourself trying to wrap up more work instead of relaxing. You learn to cherish those moments when you can sit down, grab a book or listen to some soothing music before you head on out again to adult some more.
11. You’ll have to learn how to function without sleep out of compulsion and not out of choice
Sleep deprivation comes within the promising package of adulthood. Not only do you have to work endlessly, be sociable and manage your entire existence – you have to do all of it with little to no sleep.
12. And you definitely try to convince yourself and others that you’ve got it all under control
You’ve gained weight because you’ve been stress eating all the junk food that you know will clog your arteries. You haven’t had a good night’s sleep in what seems like years. You’re stuck in a less than satisfactory job. Your life might just be falling apart – but you can’t let anyone know, right? Denial, oblivion and ignorance give you the strength you need to keep marching on and convincing everyone, including yourself, that you’re alright.
13. You’ll have to learn to not let the success (and failure) of others affect your life
Somehow, everyone you know will do better than you before you reach anywhere in life. People will get engaged, married or pop out kids while you’re waiting for a text back from your Tinder match. People will get promoted while you’re still getting your boss to notice your existence. Hang in there, though. Can’t be bad forever, right?
14. Oh and you’ll definitely be missing your childhood
Being an adult convinces pretty much everyone of one thing – we were lied to when we were told that growing up would make things better. Adulthood makes you see things for what they are and you grow up in ways that shred any traces of childhood innocence you had to bits. Often, you find yourself going over old photo albums, reminiscing the past in all its glory, where reality was confined to playing pakram pakrai and baraf paani and the biggest struggle was arguing with your parents to extend your bed time. When you compare your life now to what it was, you’re left reflecting upon and missing those fleeting, simpler moments from your bachpan, which was, inarguably, the best time of your life.
Life is hard, but you push through because you’re a champ.
Cover Image via: Showcase Productions/ARY Films