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There Is No One Way To Be An Adult, Do Your Own Thing!

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Last week, an ex-student of mine put up a photo of herself on her Instagram stories. In that, her hair was up in a bun, her eyes were defined with black kohl and her lips with a scarlet lipstick.

She looked all powerful and grown up. I reacted on her photo with a comment saying “grown up”. I could sense a shift in her as a person through that photo.

Representational image. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

To that she responded, she feels like an “adult” nowadays. Her school bestie is getting married and at her age, there are expectations set by her own self and others, that creates a “pressure to adult”.

This got me thinking… Is there a difference, really? Do we always evolve for the better with age? The human trajectory from being a child to an adult, does it give one a better grasp on life? 

What is it like being an adult? What is this adulting? 

The contexts and narratives of mine and the earlier generations are redundant. We need to unlearn how we live and find new paths to navigate the world. I wish when I was young, adults talked to me about these things. 

Maybe kids are better off. At least, they are well-intentioned, have lesser baggage and are naive, till adults poison their minds, unfortunately.

Adults Don’t Have It All Figured Out

We need to accept certain facts. Adults are vulnerable. They stay foolish, make the same mistakes again and again. The inane and mundane makes them break into a laugh riot. Irrational fears and baggage lead them to form toxic habits and behaviour patterns.

Simple things are a luxury. They are unreasonable, so much so that they do mess up a lot. They can love and hate deeply, too. Oh yes, they are deeply flawed—insecurities, jealousies and politics—they do bring it all on. The list is long. But, you get the drift. 

A certain notion of an adult is just handed down to young people, where they are assumed to have an upper hand on things. In reality, adults themselves are a far cry from the definition of it. Nope, adulting is not how it is sold to us as… Rather, it’s pretty overrated. 

The only thing which stands out as a difference between an adult versus the child or young adult is just one elementary factor. That is accountability. 

Looking with an authentic lens and derive the root of adulting, blaming others or the environment doesn’t work there. Every adult is accountable for their own life. Every choice made as an adult has implications and comes with conditions applied, just like with a credit card.  

Yes, our childhood, background, environment, conditioning, value systems, people, things and situations contribute to making us a person. However, as an adult we can not constantly hold all those narratives guilty, as the bane in our life.

We have free will to better ourselves and our lives. That is our sense of accountability to our own selfx. 

How Do Adults Shirk Responsibility?

Do we exercise that choice as an adult? That’s another story all together! As much as it may sound arduous, we are responsible for all our life choices as an adult and henceforth, the actions. We can’t keep passing the buck.

Mostly, there are two kind ways adults shirk accountability. Which one are you? 

First kind: as an adult, are you constantly tormented by external factors or the people in your life? 

Well, you are responsible for allowing that hokum drama playing out in your life. As an adult, you have the means to walk away from that or take action to manage such anxiety-causing nonsense. Playing the victim or suffering like a fool is simply shirking taking the onus of accountability.

Get a grip on your own happiness. No one else can buy that for you. You are solely deserving and responsible!

The second kind: are you a trigger-happy tormentor? Do tactics like being self consumed, manipulations, using others to serve you, control and petty politics helps you better manage your life? This is again shirking accountability. Shutting down your own conscience or moral compass can’t keep you going for long.

It will catch up. You will get tired. Shame and guilt will show up physically and mentally. It is being delusional and again, shirking accountability. Playing out havoc will backfire! There are always outcomes and after-effects. Don’t crib then.

Accountability is the key to being an adult. 

I guess if you are a child or at the threshold of adulthood, remember that the adults are selling you a hoax. You don’t need to buy into it. Do your thing, find your own authentic, unique way.

Featured image is for representational purposes only Photo credit: Piqsels.
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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

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Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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