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Tick-tock, Tick-tock: Is Life really on a Clock?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Delhi North chapter.

Have you ever thought about taking a gap year? It’s a terrifying thought, isn’t it? But somehow, the reason for it being daunting never seems to cross our minds. Taking a year off from our life for whatever reason there might be—to travel, to discover one’s interests, to figure things out, or just to simply take a break is frowned upon so much. In today’s age of constant hustle where undying productivity is ideal, taking time for oneself is always questioned.

I call it the ‘Calendar of Life’ — the timeline of deadlines that have been set up by civilization to achieve certain things in life. An age to gain education, travel, party, relax and rejuvenate, have stability, have a committed relationship, and whatnot. Sometimes it may seem like we’re breaking these stereotypes, but the pressure over these deadlines is quite real for most people. While it does provide some structure to a person’s life, it has become too rigid under the control of society, which does not let one peacefully deviate from it.

What is the worst that could happen if someone doesn’t do the expected for just a year? They might graduate a year later and join the batch of 2025 instead of 2024. They might live a less luxurious life for a said year and not be constantly striving for materialistic wants. The goal of having a ‘settled’ life might not be achieved by the time they are 30. I don’t believe that this is as bad as they make it sound. Life is not meant to follow a pattern. In fact, even if one does follow this Calendar of Life, it is highly likely that things go in unanticipated directions. Even deviating from this path might lead to unexpected responses. Since either way there is no guarantee of achieving what one plans years before it is actually done, why not create your own calendar whichever way you want?

If one does take such a break, they might figure out their lives and their interests or they might not. And even if they don’t, they would still grow, become self-aware, learn and experience throughout that time. Sometimes these experiences could be inefficacious and decelerating as well, but again, that is what life is about. In the long run, it will be viewed as a ridge in the timeline of your life where you might even learn an important life lesson to live the rest of your life at its best.

One of my friends just finished her 5-year-long design degree and graduated earlier this year. While most of her friends and classmates hurried to find jobs, she decided to take a break. When asked why she did so, she came up with various reasons, each just as valid as the other. She felt burned out. After 5 years of constant hustling over assignments, exams and grades, she felt like she needed a break. She wanted to sit back and figure out what kind of career she wanted to go ahead with. While slowly taking up job offers and interviews, she was still working on her career but at her own pace. It looked quite out of place to an outsider, but she was at peace as her peers began working at their new jobs and earning money.

Just as out of place as a couple in their 40s goes out to party every Wednesday and Friday night when all I can hear is that no one parties after their early 30s.

Just as out of place as someone who spends all the money they earn on travelling, partying or whatever enjoyment they find in life when all I can hear is one must save for the future and make their assets grow.

Just as out of place as a world-renowned designer who designs their first dress at 70 when all I can hear is that one must have a stable career by the time they’re 30.

And the list goes on. But are these people really ‘out of place’ for doing these things? I believe not.

People who accomplish every step on the Calendar are all right up there along with those who don’t (as long as that’s how they want to live their life). Everyone should be allowed this space to figure out their life and timeline at their own pace. While no one is actively striving to avoid this, the subconscious thinking that revolves around it is what needs to be broken down. Let’s live and let live!

Ananya Mittal

Delhi North '24

Ananya is a first-year student at Hindu College, pursuing economics in her coming years at Delhi University. She is working towards fulfilling her dream to work at the United Nations and other international organisations hoping to create change in the world, for the better. Another dreamier dream of hers is to work at a magazine like Scarlet from 'The Bold type' and that, apart from many other things, is what brings her to Her Campus. When idle, she likes to sing along to Taylor Swift, talk till someone tells her to stop (not), dance like no one's watching and get lost in the world of books. She loves cheesy story-endings, sunsets and soup. She strongly advocates for egalitarianism, environmental conservation and a better and safer world for humankind in every way possible.