Thursday, December 30, 2010

Paradigm shift

I was recently hanging out with one of my favourite twenty-somethings (yes I do have a few friends who were born in the eighties) at a birthday do. She is 24, hot (and mean cool-hot, not hot-hot, which I find uni-dimensional), great at her job, super-popular with the boys and quite an achiever. Unlike other girls her age whose chief preoccupation is what to wear this Friday, or what colour should they get their tints done or lenses changed to (yes, I know I am being mean, but there is a point to make), she gives the impression of not labouring too much about her look, yet rocking it. On most days.

I was more intrigued about her when I found out she was dating a fly on the wall till a friend told me the classic rule. Hot girl never dates hot guys. Anyway, she is not dating him any more, but from what I saw of the new guy from Facebook, he ain’t no Adonis either.

Anyway, this is not about him. Here was her dilemma: most of her peers were getting married or were on the verge and planning babies and all of that. So she wondered: if she didn’t take the whole relationship thing seriously, would she get left behind? Should she really stop serial dating and finding that one guy to marry and have babies with? She did say that she didn’t really need a guy to feel complete at this point, but what if she got left behind? She didn’t want to be single at 30!

This was new. In my days, 30 was when the alarm bells rang, the biological clock went ding dong, the parents went chop chop and the friends started dropping dead (read getting married and leaving you) like flies. So somewhere in the next few years, you eventually wound up getting married.

But 24? Seriously? I feel so out of touch.

Aren’t the young people supposed to raise the bar? Change the rules? Shift the paradigm?

In my time, 24 was about career angst and how to communicate with the parental units and how to find a way to make money doing something you borderline like. These days, young people don’t seem to be wasting time pursuing degrees that are so not them (I mastered in Pharmacy, but wanted to write, at 23). So career paths are clearer, less murky and at least you are not on the wrong road. But marriage? Babies? That was nowhere on the radar at 24 even in my time.

So are we regressing or what? Will the next generation actually have babies at 20 and be grandparents at 50?

That, to me, was the revelation of the decade.


  1. Well, being closer to 30, I am not sure whether that makes me qualified enough to comment on the point you've brought up. However, here's my two-pennies worth:
    The pressure to get married has always been there. It is what society imposes on an Indian woman the moment she hits 21. It really depends on each individual - does she choose to pay heed to that pressure (and succumb at 24?) or battle it out until she is well and truly ready?

    These days, every young thing seems to be in a "serious, committed" relationship - see the pride with which people flaunt their status on Facebook!

    Peer pressure and societal pressure - not a good combo.

    (Btw, interesting blog. Just chanced upon it while blog hopping!)

  2. Hey! Happy drifting here. Well, if you are not qualified to comment, then I am not qualified to even write this, but all I am saying is I didn't think the preoccupations would be the same, infact far more intense, about marriage and the stuff with the youth of today. But i guess this is the fast-forward generation, and you are so right about the flaunting of facebook status. Perhaps that puts greater pressure, since everyone seems to live in sort of a Big Boss house!

  3. hey i have been following your blog for quite a long time, and you have been my inspiration though i have just started writing a year back. well to start with i have read and loved each and every article of yours. and i can assure you that the fast-fwd-generation is not that bad after all so dont worry you wont turn into a grndmom when you are 50.because there is still a huge chunk, who are all about career angst, pursuing degrees, and think marriage as a far away affair.
    talking about facebook, its just a phase,ultimately one would get afflicted and would switch to something else( lately BlackBerry);its just a cycle (:))

  4. Thanks rishi, that's nice to hear. So there is hope, I guess. Happy writing!

  5. You brought up a good point about the pressure on a woman at 24, but in my opinion it is not the paradigm that is shifting, it is the mindset. It is less societal pressure and more peer pressure (read fb). The point to make here is that at 24, there are a lot of women like her who are downright happy about their singledom and take pride in their self-sufficiency, but the truth is that their final tick off the list is marriage, and these days, in most cases, at 30, you dont have much of a choice besides remnants and losers. The man from Mars has already done his homework, and the woman from Venus, has to unfortunately settle for a goner. Now is that fair?
    PS: I heart your writing.

  6. Thanks so much shraddha.
    So facebook is the new parents! Interesting. But i don't agree about the not having a choice bit. Its all about when you are in a good place with yourself. The mars people will be drawn like magnets. But if you think you will wind up with a loser, you most certainly will.

  7. i agree with ur post.. i mean i was baffled why my sister 24, is so obsessed with getting married.. even though she is doing well for herself.and is good looking etc. when asked why she is so "desparate" by me, she lashes out at me saying i am being judgemental etc. (which I know I am) .. she . at 24, marraieg was not a criteria.. i happened to fall in love and get married etc. but it wasnt a oh-god-i-must-get-married-else-i-will-not-be-settled-and-get-depressed-everytime-thecatch-iwant-toget-doesntworkout- for me..

    anyway i do think there is a paradigm shift.. i see it at work also - tons of kids in their early twenties, really wanting to settle down