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What changed?

Now that my birthday is around the corner, I am psyched about turning 23, thanks to all those aging cream ads that tell us aging begins in your early 20s! Anyway, I was having this conversation with a friend and telling her how psyched I am and she turned around and said, not like anything is going to change. This is the dialogue that this friend has said to me around every birthday, be it hers or mine. When I got home that night, this statement was dwelling on my mind. Looking back, a lot has changed. Somehow we just haven't noticed, bypassed these things like they were inconsequential. But now I know they weren't, these small changes have now become a way of life. Though I didn't see them coming or happening, they have happened.

Curfew was a huge deal! You had to be home at a certain time. It started with you have to be home for dinner. Then moved to informing a couple of days in advance that you were going to miss dinner and also the information of what, where, how and when, had to be given. Gradually it moved to informing the same day and answering the questions. Now it is informing a couple of hours or even minutes in advance, no questions asked.

Work has become a way of life. Earlier going to work was a huge deal. Internships were a welcoming break. Also, a way to show off to your friends that you were working, that you had an office, a boss and colleagues. Now it is just something everyone does, cribs about, and talks about. Nobody gives you a second glance if you talk about work. But say that you don't, and that sure as hell gives you the attention.

It was devastating when you did not have a big group of friends and also did not have plans every other day. Actually, it started with 'hanging out' after college, that made you feel cool. Then came the whole phase where you had nothing to do so you were out with friends all the time, movies, plays, coffee dates, the bigger the group the better. Of course, you had to be back before curfew! Now, a big group is something most of us can't deal with after a long day at work. We have a couple of friends, with similar interests and thats about it.

Going out for dinners was something exciting. Late nights, parties and bike rides or drives used to planned in advance and stories were made up way before. Unless of course you had cool parents (like I did). Now meeting friends for dinner is an everyday thing. Unfortunately, that is the only time that your friends and you can meet. Parties are just a thing you would do every weekend. Most of your friends and you have some sort of transportation so bike rides and drives are a given.

Having a best friend was mandatory! That one person who you would click weird pictures with and have long conversations with, lug around everywhere. Somehow the dynamics of that have changed. I don't think anyone has a best friend anymore. You have a couple of close friends that you share stuff with and go out with, but somehow there isn't one “BFF” anymore. This has definitely changed gradually because I still haven't figured out when best friend changed to close friends.

Somehow being possessive about friends has become a thing of the past. Now if your friends get along it is a relief. Birthdays become easier, you can meet a lot of them at once instead of having a list of plans through the week.

At some point being at home was excruciating. Especially, all day long. The day we would figure out that we had to be at home, manic calls would be made to several of our friends and acquaintances trying to figure out a plan. The weekend was the most difficult thing because you had to be home, it was 'family time'. Now, going back home after a long day at work is all you can think about. You feel like physically stabbing someone or breaking something when you have committed to a plan post work. The weekend is when you do not answer calls, do not step out or even change out of your pajamas. You consider missing birthdays, because you do not want to get up, let alone dress up!

You become immune to what people say to you. They have affected you in the past but somehow they don't anymore. I for one know, I am immune to all the fat jokes that are cracked on me. I am also immune to all the aunties coming up to me and giving me advice on what I should do to lose weight. You basically do not care anymore, you figure out that the people who hang out with you do not care about anything! Especially the way you dress, you can go out in your jammies and no one will care. Your parents anyway think you are the best thing to walk the face of the earth. (Yes they do, despite all the screaming and shouting and the stuff they said to you)

You start needing your space. Not just physically, but mentally. You go through this phase where you don't feel like meeting people, having conversations or socialize. That is no longer a way to gain attention from people, it is just a way for you to recharge. Somehow you understand when your friends go through this.

Birthdays were a huge deal. Parties and dinners were planned in advance. What you were planning on wearing was shopped for. Lists were made for presents. Slowly, the plans became a thing of 'let's see how I feel on the day'. Excitement is still there but somehow planning a birthday party seems like a huge task. You'd rather just spend time with your close friends and family and be done with it.

So, things have changed and you haven't noticed them because well they happened slowly and they became a way of life.

Disclaimer: This is a personal account. You may or may not be going through the same thing.
Yes this is also a way to remind people that my birthday is coming up soon and that my presents should be bought now.  

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