Transit Twenties: Our Age of Nomad No-Madness

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Our twenties is an age of inevitability. The inevitability of separations, changing paths and drifting apart(s).

(A conversation with a friend who lives out-of-town and had come home for a holiday.)

Friend : This going away (from home) by itself is exciting. But this going away again and again. Makes me think of every leaving after holidays as a going away.

Me: Saying goodbyes again and again takes a toll on me.

Friend : It is draining. Sometimes I don’t know whether the anticipation of coming home is more than the exhaustion of going away.

***************

I am very confused.

They all told me that the twenties were supposed to be an age of freedom. A time of conventionally “living it up”, whatever that means. I don’t know about the rest, but my twenties seem to be all about trying to hold on. Holding on to career dreams, relationships, family and money at all costs. Honestly, I cannot remember the last time I felt “free”, whatever that means.

Sometimes, I tell the Universe, “Cut us some slack now, will you?” Then the rational me interjects with a smartass quip. “Instead of talking to the Universe, shouldn’t you be applying to University?”

Let us talk of separations. We are chasing our dreams all over the place, having forgotten where we started from; or where we are going to.

For three years I was in constant transit. Most of my online shopping consisted of flight and train tickets between work and home. One day, I turned to my colleague and said, “I am buying so many tickets but where am I going, really?”

It seemed like I was always going and leaving, but never staying.

I am often called the “nomadic one” among my friends because of my wanderlust. Every time I went home on holiday, there would be this odd mix of happiness and dread. The dread because I knew that I was just passing through my old life back at home. The evening before departure would be the worst. All the goodbyes, the “call, e-mail me, keep in touch” conversations.

There would be the mellow evenings where we would all just sit and talk softly, and laugh and eat. Those would be the evenings with the golden light, the ones that I wished would last forever and then some more. Then we would say our goodbyes and a little bit of my soul would keep clinging to that piece of gold.

There was one last such evening when I realised that my nomadic madness needed to take a break. I was sitting with a friend at this bookstore. The minutes melted into hours and before we realised, the soft winter afternoon had faded into a chilly dusky evening. I had an early flight the next day. Even writing about it now makes me feel strangely desolate inside.

It seems like we are dragging around a sack of uncertainty with us, wherever we go. The moving currents of our lives take us in exciting new directions, towards thrilling encounters, no doubt. Call me a pessimist, but what about the ones we leave behind? The ones we drift apart from, evolve out of and lose touch with? What about that one cousin you were inseparable from a few years ago. Now, your only connection is the odd text or e-mail?

The irony is, there’s no one to blame. We are the parents of our own separations and journeys. We are following our life paths for good causes and with good intentions.

It’s just that I can’t help being a sucker for a Lost Time.

 

 

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23 comments

  1. Ah, that bittersweet time. Sometimes I think the friends we make in high school and college, and the memories we make during that time, are the strongest ones of our lives. The ones we look back upon and long for. The ones we still count as our best friends, our best times, even when all we do to keep in touch is Like each other’s Facebook posts. Don’t let that happen to you.

    1. Bittersweet. Exactly.
      There is something so romantic and ideal about a childhood long gone by, isn’t there?
      The sad thing is, that Facebook thing that you said, is already happening, y’know?
      Thank you. :)

  2. This post really resonated with me. My 20s were not a nomadic time – they were all about stability. Now, as I approach 40, I wonder about what I missed, what could have been different. I found this very thought provoking.

  3. Strong post. Your details and admissions here reminded me of the film “Up in the Air” with George Clooney and Andra Kendrik. Maybe check it out if you haven’t seen it yet.

  4. Wonderfully written. I hated my twenties for all the reasons in your post and loved them just as much for those same things. I looked forward to my thirties and reliving those memories but would not trade what I have now to be young again. I hope I feel that way in my next decade.

  5. I love the way you described ‘the evenings with the golden light.’ It evokes such a strong emotion in me. Like you, a part of my soul is still clinging to those pieces of gold! Great post.

  6. I am not sure what to say to this… I think most of my twenties were spent recovering from childhood and trying to forge a life with little to no guidance… is it still like that? The twenties I mean? Being in my fifties I am no longer in the same building stages that the twenties are riddled with which as you said inevitably bring separations and moving on.

  7. Now this is a story to which I can relate. This reminded me of my own twenties – three friends and I almost got matching tattoos that would have read “the wanderers”. (I am subsequently happy we decided to forgo this absurd impulsive idea). Thanks for the read.

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