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  • Writer's pictureSharika

The world's quarter life crisis

I feel like the world is going through a quarter life crisis with me.

A quarter life crisis where one would get a giant Chinese scripture tattoo to only end up spelling chicken noodle soup.

I personally have never been one to shy away from speaking up. I feel seen when I have my hand raised in classrooms growing up and now working with people from all walks of life. I think a lot of it has to do with how I grew up. My parents would listen to every story I would tell them; and being the only girl in the class for a better part of my primary education, I knew if I wanted to command the room I would need to speak up. And that has shaped me a lot in the ways I perceive the world as an adult.

Before I continue I do have to state this as a disclaimer, that my perception of the world may or may not be similar to many, I am positive that even within my extended family, my perspective and viewpoint can seem “radical”, “idealistic” or as women are often called “angry at the world”.

But I do have to challenge those labels; because let’s be honest it doesn’t seem radical to want a healthy planet, it doesn’t seem idealistic to believe that people should love who they love, and it doesn’t make me angry for believing that I have the right to do whatever I feel best for my body without some 70 year old men thinking that the only way to consolidate power is by dictating what the half the population of a country can do to their bodies.

There is a lot happening in the world and as someone who has the privilege to interact in a hyperconnected world, I have realized that the fight we fight today isn’t just about what kind of a life we want for ourselves living in one part of a country but for every person who is our generation cohort. And I know I might not be phrasing this right. I keep coming back to figure out how to articulate this in a way that may not seem idealistic.

2020 for me has been a learning curve more so than what my education so far has led to. 2020 led me to become more proactive about raising my voice for issues that may not impact me directly, and it has also taught me to use my growing platform to speak up about what is right.

People do say that what happens in a country thousands of kilometers away does not impact me personally, so I shouldn’t be angry or I shouldn’t be feeling anxious. But let’s play it in a scenario. For example, I live in Japan and as an Indian first generation immigrant, I tend to keep up with the issues in India, not because I’m physically in India every year, but because issues and the lack of attention on issues in India reflects on my cultural values and leads to the my immediate society’s perception of me. Whenever there is news about violence against women in India, it isn’t something I can ignore or wish to not comment on, because I will be asked and I will be judged by the people outside of my home around me.

Social media has played one of the largest roles in how I have learned about the world and as much as people can hate social media and become against it, social media is what has led to many rising activists, it has allowed for platforms where people can share important issues, share laughter and really impact the way we all see the world.

For example, if social media had not existed, I may not have been able to educate myself as much as I was able to about police injustice and the Black Lives Matter movement. I believe that everyone should be treated equally no matter the color of their skin, no matter their gender and no matter who they choose to love. But without social media, I would not have been able to articulate my thoughts expansively and be a part of the discussions that happened around me.

Another example would be when I recently posted about how angry I felt that, in the middle of a pandemic, women in Poland had to protest for their reproductive rights instead of being able to stay safe from the pandemic; and I was told that I don’t have ties there so why would I speak up. But the fact of the matter is in a hyperconnected world, if one part of the world feels as though a percentage of the population's rights don’t matter, who can guarantee that it won’t trickle down to another part of the world.

So with the world in turmoil and my anxiety skyrocketing with every notification from the news app on my phone, the one thing I would say is that stop believing that what happens in another country doesn’t affect you. We have to collectively come together to fight against systemic injustices. Just because it doesn’t affect you personally doesn’t mean that it may not affect someone in your family or someone in your community. We have to believe that the only way we can reach towards a healthier planet and fair society; is by thinking us versus the problem and not being divided. Because as the happiest place on Earth says “ It’s a small world after all.”

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