Eighteen is hard.
Eighteen may just be another number, but for Reva, it is so much more than that! For her, apart from the fact that it is how old she is, it is also a blanket of uncertainty that surrounds her as she steps into adulthood. Quite literally too, if you take into consideration moving away from the only home she has ever known since the day she was born, to live by herself in a hostel, in a new city, with new people, and experience new things.
Eighteen is the start of her college life; an adventure in its own right.
Eighteen is the age when she is ‘not-so-sweet sixteen’ or ‘a dancing queen, young and sweet, only seventeen’ anymore. Eighteen is when she is recognized as an adult deemed fit to vote by law. Yet, eighteen is also the age when she still can’t decide what ice cream flavour she wants to order, much less a political representative!
It is the age when she is confused. Can we blame young Reva? After having just crossed the threshold of adulthood, disorientation is a given; everyone stumbles and many even stumble-and-fall. Quite frankly, it is absolutely okay to fall, even though the people around Reva may claim otherwise. It’s just that they have forgotten their own past clumsy stumbles!
The age eighteen is a paradox! It blurs the lines of freedom and the responsibility that comes with it. Eighteen is like an endless chasm between the two stages of Reva’s life. It is like an abyss between adulthood and her teenage years; one filled with youthful chaos, doubts, and endless uncertainties that plague her mind.
A conflict rages in her mind regarding who she actually is. An adult? A teenager? Still a child?
While this identity crisis rages in her mind, balancing all the aspects of her life is not at all easy. Striking an equilibrium is often hard in real life, unlike the self-correcting market equilibrium she learned about in economics. Well, Reva resents this neatness of economic principles as she struggles to find her own 'equilibrium'.
Balance is essential in anyone’s life, but especially during chaos. It would not be an understatement to say that chaos defines Reva’s life at eighteen. Finding equilibrium in life during this age is thus a herculean task, more difficult than even pleasing Gordon Ramsay. Or Reva’s mom. Or finding horcruxes and destroying them. And Reva is certainly no Harry Potter!
Stay in to study and burn the midnight oil or go out with friends? Participate in a lot of college events? Continue to uphold the persona she established in her school days of being the teacher’s pet by tapping into her inner nerd? Join the ‘cool gang’ or just hang out with the ‘geeks’ who are into pop culture, theatre, Korean dramas, and mystery thrillers?
Striking a balance is easier said than done and Reva can attest to that after her hectic first semester of college. College is not what movies and books portrayed it to be. It is not all rainbows and sun shines for being an independent adult comes at the cost of learning to juggle multiple aspects of one’s life. After all, independence often has the shadow of responsibility lurking around.
They said that it will be okay, that it would be easy once she got her priorities straight, and learned to manage her time wisely. But what no one told Reva is how “getting your priorities straight” is easier said than done. This abyss sucked in numerous others before her, yet no one told Reva how to claw her way out into adulthood!
So how exactly does she attain equilibrium when her academic life and personal life are concerned? Reva would like to know the answer to the question very much. She would even go as far as to sell her collection of BTS fan merchandise. If there is a manual on how one can find that perfect equilibrium in life, Reva would sell her right arm to buy it. She thinks it would be better and more applicable in her life than the Principles of Microeconomics, no matter how much her Economics professor would agree to disagree!
After all, eighteen is hard!
This Night Owl Original has been authored by Mrinalini. Mrinalini, or Milli as she likes to be called, is a college student who loves coffee and is very much partial to British Classics. She is usually found nursing a cup of coffee while reading in her cozy study. When not daydreaming, she likes to string together verses or pen down stories. She is a theatre enthusiast and plays the guitar (but only when forced!).
Photo by Yastika Sharma.