Dealing with duality as you get older

I have always been an emotional person. Also, someone who often felt that she wasn’t fully understood by anyone. Getting older has broken that myth: that I am so unique in my thoughts, in my pain, in my desires that no one can fully understand me.

You get around in the world, meet enough people and you realize that you are really part of the milieu. There is definitely more than one person who has felt the way you’re feeling and no matter how hard or difficult or easy or beautiful your story may be, there’s someone else who might have lived that exact same life, in parts at least. The only thing that comes out of this awareness is that if you still feel you’re unique, you have not met enough people in the world.

This realization is extremely powerful.

It is powerful because, when you know that there’s nothing extraordinarily unique about you, the angst of feeling misunderstood should no longer have that power over you or your relationships. Because then it’s about finding solutions. Then the question becomes: if someone else is having the same constraints as you, how are they living their lives? Is there something that you can learn from their story and apply in your life?

So getting older has been cathartic in some ways. Cuz now, although I’d still take the occasional delight in crying my heart out every time I have a heartbreak, there’s a small part of me that’s a wise, old woman. That voice tells me, “Get your shit together, cuz what exactly are you cribbing about? There are things far worse in this world than what you’re going through. Do you realize how lucky you are?”

And that’s one train of thought.

Within me, sometimes, there’s this wild 18-year-old. The one that only read romantic novels growing up and hoped for the forever kind of stuff. And that girl, every day going through this life, realizes how different real life is from the stories she grew up with. Unfortunately, she has no idea of what a fairytale modern-day story can be and if that would satisfy her as much as the stories she grew up with. Hopeless romanticism is useless in the world of AI and multitude of options, cuz here, no one is waiting forever for anything, anyone. We all must move on. What would Devdas do in 2023?

So, growing older, for me, is about this duality of being. This split personality phenomenon. And finding that while there are a lot of people that are out there like me, whether or not I have met them, it’s just I myself that must deal with the duality of my emotions. There is no one else (although the 18-year-old will probably never stop looking for that someone) that I can expect to share in this responsibility.

So, in a way, I wonder, am I making any progress at all as I get older? As I write this, I have NO IDEA.


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