Clueless at 30 by Shalini Prakash: book review and nonfiction recommendation

understanding the midlife crisis and developing a purpose driven life


Ever faced that feeling, even though things seem to be alright and “planned” as we thought, we aren’t happy with the life, the sense of “not being enough” and “miserable”? that feeling that forces us to question ourselves “what am I doing wrong? Or why can’t I be happy like my colleague or friend? Trust me the person who inspires you probably is going through the same thought process or went through at some point in their life. The constant bug “something is missing” makes us restless and therefore we keep on refusing to settle down.

When I say settle down I don’t mean to get married or stuck in an unhappy job but rather settle and be at peace with the reality.

Clueless at 30 is an honest rant of Shalini Prakash where she shared her dilemmas and how to figure out her life purpose. As she shares her thoughts, I started relating to her more than I thought I would! We see our friends and think maybe I should take up a law course or MBA course or sign up for that business class or travel solo! maybe if I travel to Auroville I might get some woo woo enlightenment and achieve all of my dreams once I return!! She went on sharing how often we see our friends or influencers on social media and think they are high achievers, living their life to the fullest, living in the city you always dream of, and so on, creating an illusion and sense of being inferior. She pointed out as much as these thoughts are inevitable, it doesn’t mean others’ life is picture-perfect and that we cannot fool ourselves with self-limiting beliefs. In a capitalist world, there’s always an urge to achieve more and more but that doesn’t define our life. Our life purpose should be in harmony with the world’s needs. Simply put the focus should be on giving quality out there rather than quantity. The “happiness trap” that social media lays for us, feeds on our insecurity and exploits us. No wonder why we see millennials are facing an “existential crisis” more often than before.

We create our own milestones and yardsticks to measure our successes and misadventures which on one hand pushes us to work harder and be a better person also never let us completely absorb the joys of those little achievements. As the author rightly put,

“we make the mistake of associating happiness with our personal goals. And when things start looking shaky, we lose our minds. We think we would be happy if a wish come true.”

Our wants are neverending, so are the expectations of people from us but that doesn’t have the right to control our lives. The process should be another way around. The author through a beautiful storytelling narrative asks us to refocus our thought process and direct our lives accordingly.