Long ago during the days of anonymous AIM chat rooms and dial-up Internet, little Tania was a mastermind of ideas. Before becoming burdened with adulthood and its accompanying anxieties and risk-aversion ways, she was quite the action-taker, believe it or not.
What I should also mention (can’t handle third-person reference for more than 20 seconds) is that I used to be significantly more involved with my local public library at the time, borrowing upwards of 30 books a week. I say this not to humble brag, but because I am in awe of the person I used to be and potentially could have been if that childhood habit had persisted. Most of my ideas were generated from reading hundreds of pieces of literature in the course of my childhood.
I didn’t care about the specifics, but rather, just went full-steam ahead with my plans. For instance, Ann M. Martin’s “The Babysitters Club” inspired me to launch a real-life version. Start my own baby-sitting club without zero experience? Why not? I began by communicating the idea with unwavering confidence to my friends (coincidentally, they were also fans of the series). Plan out all the deliverables by hand (that is, scribble furiously on sheets of loose-leaf and essentially steal copyrighted ideas from Ann M. Martin), design a “logo”, host meetings and create excitement.
Okay, so that ended up going nowhere.
However, when it came to other executions, I was relentless. Back when children were hurt by skinned knees from bike rides rather than mean comments on Instagram, I was a fairly active child who loved being outdoors with the neighborhood kids. Weaving in and out of the hallways in the apartment building I grew up in, pestering those around me to play tag or simply run around the front yard helped plant the seed to start a community garden, so to speak.
How to start? I didn’t have any money–allowances are a foreign concept to Bangladeshis. Hell, we’re lucky to be living under our parents roof and paying rent by way of mandatory chores. My next course of action was to immediately ask my “wealthier” friends for a loan–that is, $5 from my equally poor neighbors to buy a ton of flower seeds from the local bodega. Through word of mouth marketing, aka asking my four friends for help, my would-be gardening club flourished for a good three days (or as long as my estimated attention lifespan.) I even managed to witness a few marigolds blossom.
Fast forward a decade and change–the spontaneity is long gone, replaced by deep set insecurities and indecision at the prospect of taking such chances.
I was recently struck with pondering just why this course of action occurs: barring the obvious–typical adult responsibilities, financial burdens, bills and the like–what exactly prevents someone like myself from making these major decisions in a more mature capacity? Fear? Uncertainty? Potential failure?
I’ve been on a mission to change my life in the wake of a quarter life crisis. I didn’t realize part of that meant regressing back to the old me.