By Kanchan Gautam
I peer at my bathroom mirror and notice the three lines on my forehead are back. Usually they stay for a few days if I have been bad about moisturizing and using sun protection, but this time it’s different, they are back and they are here to stay permanently. It seems my body has started betraying the hundreds of dollars I spend on it by starting to age. Normal wear and tear is to be expected for any item be that a human body or a car. After about 29 years on this planet, it seems be slowly showing.
2018 was the year I chose to dedicate a significant amount of my time, money and energy into finding and perfecting a great skincare routine. I had become so dedicated and regimental that I created a morning and nightly routines. I had product rotations so I could reap the benefits of every type of anti-ageing, collagen boosting, skin rejuvenating, and skin smoothing product on the market.
Needless to say when I noticed the fine lines on my forehead after I had been religiously following a 10-step Korean Skincare regime, I was alarmed. I wondered “Is this it?”, are my days of youth nearing an end. In a short few months I will no longer be a 20 something year old but a 30 something year old. Can I even consider myself a young adult anymore, or am I officially an adult-adult? I thought one surely can’t be considered a young adult if they have wrinkles and a few stray grey hairs.
One of the first pieces I wrote for Nepali Chhori almost five years ago was about adulthood, more specifically what it meant to be one. I have asked myself what signifies this shift over the last decade of my life. What milestones one needs to meet to graduate to full adulthood or if it is different for each individual. As I have come to the conclusion this shift is different for everyone, here are the three concepts that I found essential markers of adulthood. One’s willingness to accept their shortcomings, flaws and acceptance that sometimes one might be the problem or part of a problem in certain situations. As simple as these three things seem, they are difficult feats to accomplish for anyone regardless of their cultural background. For most individuals blaming others, or outside circumstances are easier than facing the hard truth that we can be part of the problem or sometimes we do not possess the right skill set to take on or complete a task.
Self-awareness is a beautiful thing, allowing ourselves to see who we are (the good, the bad, and the ugly) facilitates our journey towards becoming better human beings. In doing the above, we also become more accepting and understanding of others. We realize our flaws or accepting we are part of the problem does not make us weak or any less of a person than the next, it’s rather indicative of our strength and willingness to continue being better humans.
As I spent the last days of 2018 observing my fine lines, I realized these don’t make me any more of an adult than I was at age eighteen with no wrinkles, rather my understanding of the world and self-awareness of my own strengths and weaknesses are markers for my graduation from young adult to adulthood. Here’s to another year of self-reflective meditation and snail mucin serums.