As the end of this year approaches, things are starting to get a little crazy out there. People are making sure that they don’t enter a new decade with the baggage of this one. It’s a beautiful thing to witness because you see people making amends, unlearning toxic lessons picked up over the years, genuinely trying to be better, and trying to move forward. But I’ve realized that we don’t really make any progress unless we have normalized certain things. So I figured since it’s going to be the end of a decade and everything, it’s time to normalize certain things for the new decade. You know, for a better world!
Discussions about mental health.
I cannot, for the life of me, understand why the entire topic of mental health is treated like some kind of a taboo when it’s scientifically included under the medical category! Parents, if you haven’t had the conversation yet (and I don’t mean the birds-and-bees talk here), please try to make an effort to read up on anything and everything about mental health and simply be there for your kids when they tell you that they’re going through something instead of dismissing it by saying that it is ‘all in your head’.
Now there’s the birds-and-bees talk! But for real, we’re going to be 20 years into the 21st century and there is just a pathetic lack of awareness about sex education. I mean, hey, I get it! It cannot be easy talking to your impressionable, experimental adolescent about something that’s this important. I’ll be honest with you here, but I’ve learned more about sex education from the internet than I have from my school, which only goes on to show how unimportant it is considered. That has to change and there are no two ways about it. Normalize having honest and understanding conversations about sex/ sex education in 2020.
Again. I don’t know who started this stink that saying ‘I love you’ or giving your friends (yes, even those of the opposite sex, nosy Desi aunties reading this!) a hug should be reserved for romantic relationships. Love as a whole isn’t and shouldn’t be reserved for romantic relationships alone. Two people can be friends and say ‘I love you’ and mean it, without having to be in a relationship. I see nothing wrong with being affectionate to the people we care about. Love is love, no matter what way you choose to look at it.
Men focusing on their skincare.
I follow a fair share of men on Twitter who aren’t ashamed to admit that they have a nighttime skincare routine. Men taking care of themselves instead of being all squeamish about it is honestly attractive, and no dear men, you do not get any awards for doing the bare minimum and actually using a body scrub and then a moisturizer instead of using whatever shampoo + conditioner + body wash that most of you normally use. It does not make you any ‘feminine’, nor is there anything wrong with being in touch with a tad bit of feminity. Get a mani-pedi sesh. And screw whatever the world has to say. You do you, boo!
Men being able to express their emotions freely.
I have a whole world’s worth of beef with the fact that men are simply asked to ‘man up’ and bottle up their emotions instead of being given a chance to express themselves because ‘crying is for girls’. No! Just no. That’s not how emotions work and this notion is so deeply ingrained, you may not even notice that you’re enforcing it on somebody. It might just creep in anyway. In 2020, we’re making a conscious effort to let men feel whatever they want to and allowing them to cry if they want to. We’re only human.
Diversity in skin colour and body types.
Oh, boy. You do not want me to open this Pandora’s box! Where do I even begin? Bodies come in different shapes, sizes and colours. Body parts come in different shapes and sizes too. And no. Not everything can be solved by starving yourself and working out like a man possessed. You cannot scrub all kinds of things into your skin and expect to become 10 shades fairer. And everybody who enforces the Eurocentric standards of beauty onto everybody around them simply has to stop! There’s more than just one shallow definition of beauty! You’re not being a ‘well-wisher’, you’re just being plain rude. In 2020, we do not judge people for how they look!
Functional family stuff.
The other day, I was casually scrolling through Twitter and I realized that a lot of people don’t get good night hugs and kisses from their parents at all, and they judge the rest of us who do share an affectionate equation with our families. Hey, I’m 22 and I still cannot function without good night/ good morning hugs from my family. There’s nothing wrong with spending some time with your family and it certainly isn’t cringe-worthy or creepy. In 2020, we’re (re)normalizing the concept of being affectionate around family.
My online friends have been there for me more than any friend has been in real life. They have been nothing but supportive and understanding; they’ve sent me some of the most encouraging messages when I’ve felt the slightest bit low. And I would gladly do anything for them because we share an extremely strong bond. I get that we in 2019 are wary of catfish on the internet, but I’ve also realized that it doesn’t always have to be that way. There’s more than just a good chance that you’ll end up making some really strong friendships along the way. Think of it like having a pen-pal, only you don’t have to wait for weeks for a response. Normalize making friends online, in 2020!
Having fun alone.
I get it! Having fun with a bunch of friends certainly trumps going out by yourself. But just try going to a movie or lunch by yourself. Go to the mall by yourself and get yourself something new. Just spend a day with yourself and your thoughts (unless you suffer from anxiety, in which case, I strongly suggest you to not do so); you’ll see how liberating it can be. Here’s a bonus if you aren’t convinced: you get to eat that entire tub of popcorn all by yourself. How does that sound?
Going out with family.
So many people whine about not having a date to the movies. Bro, please take your sibling along. Take a cousin along with you. Go on a shopping spree with your Mom. Help your Dad pick out a nice shirt. You’ll end up seeing a side of them that you don’t really get to see every day, even if you live together. You don’t always need a date. I’ve gone out for pizza, ice cream or milkshake plenty of times with my brother and I’ve always ended up realizing that I don’t have a lot of meaningful conversations with him. In 2020, we’re going to take the family out with us if somebody bails on us.
These are just a handful of things that we need to consciously work on normalizing in 2020. Of course, Rome wasn’t built in a day, so it’s not exactly going to be easy to unlearn some of the things that were ingrained in us, only to relearn something new and better. But I promise you that it will all be worth it.
Alone, I’m not much help. But together? Together, we can blow this popsicle stand.
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