1. The need to make money. I’m used to having my self-worth measured by the number of ‘A’ grades on my report card, not the size of my bank balance. Also, see below.
2. The need to spend money. Internet bills, mobile phone bills, wedding presents, birthday gifts. Adulthood may force me into bankruptcy.
3. Vague feeling of guilt. Six years into my career, I still can’t afford to move out of my parents’ home and I may soon need tape to hold my decomposing laptop together. Where did I go wrong?
4. The need to be semi-respectable. I don’t like wearing collars, long sleeves, socks and shoes. This doesn’t make me immature. Really, it doesn’t.
5. Trying to figure out how to drive. Yes, I’m a 27-year-old who could never figure out this driving thing. I have friends who drive me around and taxis and rickshaws are wonderfully convenient. Why then am I made to feel so ashamed about this?
6. Having friends who are also adults. Isn’t it just great that every one you know can only talks about finding spouses, having found a spouse and complaining about the spouse once he/she has been reeled in?
7. Learning small talk. When I run into acquaintances at a coffee shop I can no longer ask “What’s up?” and walk away. I have to go through the excruciating stop-and-chat ritual and find out how many more kids they’ve dropped into the world since I last saw them.
8. Buying things I used to assume just existed in nature. When I was a teenager, things like toilet paper, soap and soft drinks just miraculously turned up at my house. Now I have to seek them out, compare brands and part with my hard-earned money for things that used to be free.
9. Being asked what I “do”. I don’t “do” anything. If I’m having a bad day I just say I’m between jobs. On a slightly better day I’ll explain the concept of freelancing and working from home.
10. Taxes. This isn’t a normal rite of passage for adults in Pakistan since most of them just dodge the damned things.
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, April 17th, 2011.
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