Tuesday started off with a lot of dread and anxiety as I was facing a day that could potentially change things for me. It could go well or it could go not so well. I spent the hours in abject horror of the possibility of things not going my way and finally that’s exactly what happened (I’m not going too much into the ‘thing’ I was dreading about..!!).
I was sad, disappointed and angry with myself. There was nothing that could change the situation and I knew that. But I just couldn’t seem to shake it off and move on. That’s when my family decided to take me out to spend the day with me to make me feel better.
We were on our way to catch a movie and that’s when our car rammed into the vehicle that was right in front of us (the accident was really not our mistake, something went wrong with the vehicle in front of us). I could see my car ramming into the vehicle and during the entire incident all my mind was screaming was I was going to die. Luckily the car stopped; me and my family escaped with minor injuries.
It’s like those accident scenes in the movies where everything goes in slow motion while all of it happens in seconds; the same happened with me too. I could see everything and I can still remember my mind screaming that I was about to die.
When I got out of my car I really couldn’t believe that I was alive. All I could feel was the abject relief that I got my life back. When you feel like you are about to die and when you get your life back everything just falls in perspective. Every issue, every problem, everything that plagues us, no matter how big or small seems inconsequential. We realize the truth that being alive trumps every other problem or issue we have.
When in those seconds where I thought I was about to die, the other thought that went through my mind was that I haven’t really lived. There were lot of things in my bucket list that I still wanted to fulfill, so many people I love to whom I never got to say good bye, so much still left to do in life; and in that second when I thought that I will never get to live, I felt heart broken…!! My mind warred between heart break and the fear of death.
This incident put everything into perspective. When I was sad and disappointed about the ‘thing’ that will change in future and that I could change, life made me see that not being able to live would have been the bigger tragedy. People say that life is short and we never know if we can take the next breath. This accident indeed opened my eyes to that cold hard truth.
That day I decided that I will not fret and worry about things I can control and there is a solution for everything. I have decided to just face whatever happens and not be too bothered about anything. And I have also decided to start on that bucket list of mine so that I can slowly tick them off. I have also decided that I’m will be thankful for every breath in this beautiful world…!!
When I hear the word ‘failure’ what comes to mind is the ever famous saying “Failure is the stepping stone to success”. I have a really deep and personal relationship with failure. It’s a little hard to fathom as to how anyone could ever have a relationship with failure. This was not by choice but rather something borne out of circumstances.
I am a student. I am moving onto my late twenties but I’m still studying. The path or the profession I have chosen is such that it takes a while to clear the exams as they are really difficult. When I first decided to get into the professional course, I was made aware of the nature and the insane amount of hard work that goes along with it. At the time I felt like I could do whatever it took. I was also made aware of the possibility of failure, of not clearing exams. But back then I was confident that it would never come to that.
Then came the day I made acquaintance with my friendly foe – (as I would like to refer to it ) ‘failure’. Let me tell you, it was not easy…!! Having been an academically good student through out my life, till that point, and scoring really well in exams, I was not aversed with this possibility. The thought that I might fail was so foreign that it never entered my mind.
At first I cried…! I cried and cried and cried…!! I felt dejected. I lost all hope and fell into the murky depths of despair. Disappointment and despair became my middle name and I was losing myself to it. I had to push and push myself to feel like my old self. I found hope and the courage to try again and gave it my best. Then it happened again..! I failed yet again…!
The thing about failure is, no one tells you how alone you are in it..! Failure leaves you gut-wrenchingly alone. You are so alone that you feel like you are drowning and cannot come up for air. It breaks your soul and breaks your spirit. But what it also does is it makes it a little easier next time. Yes it gets a little easier next time…!! It gives you courage and faith that you can do it. It also makes you want to try again. Pulling yourself through and piecing together all the broken bits is a painful process. But you find the zeal for it.
I am not saying that failure is easy to face, it is still heart breaking. But somewhere along the way it teaches you that no matter how many times you fall down you have to get up and fight. It also makes you start believing in yourself. When the whole world is laughing at your pitfall failure makes us realize that we have to be our own cheerleaders and get back on our feet. It gives us the strength to face any thing that comes our way and also teaches us not to repeat the mistakes. But most important of all it makes us realize that there is so much more to life than just failure and makes us appreciate what life really is about..!!
So today when my friendly foe visits me, I do become sad, but I take deep breathe and just go on with my life with the faith that next time I will succeed and no matter what I will never stop trying…!!
What I have noticed about friendships is that they change as we grow older just the way we do. There is a drastic difference in how I maintain my friendships now as compared to when I was younger.
When I used to be in my teens, I used to the kind of person who would want to talk to my friends every single day and update them about every little detail of my life. If I couldn’t speak to them for a day I used to be disturbed. The cause of this deep intensity or need could be that friends were all I had while growing up. Being an only child friends filled the absence of siblings. Another reason was the irrational fear that they might find someone better and stop being my friend. This fear and the need waged a war that made me uncompromising and insecure.
When I grew older I noticed that this need slowly dissipated. I think the change in me came with the growing need for my own space. The thing is I never acknowledged the need for space in friendships. Every person is entitled to it, be it any relationship! I was oblivious to it’s necessity. I sometimes failed to acknowledge that my friends are free to form other friendships and it’s not a betrayal of my bond with them. The thought or concept, of my friends having other friends who could be as close as I were to them, was so alien that I used to detest it.
I slowly stopped informing them every single detail. This was almost a conscious decision and something that felt right. I also stopped being insecure if they failed to tell me something. I learnt to accept that my friends will have other friends but that has no bearing on my relation with them. I also learnt to listen more and to be more open and to respect their choices. I slowly gave my friends the space they need and took mine.
I think this process was a necessary part of growing up. As a result something that used to take a lot of effort became almost effortless. I used to wonder where I was going wrong without really finding any solution. But when I finally opened my eyes to what was right in front of me everything became easier.
Today, just the way I have changed, my friendships too have. I am more secure and more respectful. I listen more and make sure that my insecurities will not affect my relationships. I understood that, it doesn’t matter how often I talk to them, meet them or how much I know about them; all that matters is how close to my heart they are…!!
When I was in my teens, if someone asked me what I wanted out of my life I would always have an answer. I was confident and sure of myself and sure of the choices that I wanted to make. My teenage sensibilities equated having a well earning job, money, relationship and security to what I wanted out of life.
I had a plan. Finish my education, get a job, start earning well and maybe meet someone, fall in love and then get married and then manage both my career and married life. But as I grew older I realized that life rarely moves according to our plan. I slowly started thinking about the choices I made at eighteen. I started evaluating whether it was the right one. And let me tell you it was not easy..!! Looking back at your decisions and evaluating them to see whether you went wrong is an excruciating exercise. The regrets, disappointments and the what if’s creep in and make it really hard. But doing that became extremely necessary.
I started to wonder whether I went wrong in my teens when I discovered that there are other things I’m equally passionate about, things that I could be good in. Dabbling in things that used to be mere hobby made me realize that maybe I could have made a career out of it. The second guessing and regret creeped in and made me frustrated and led the path down the rabbit hole of self-evaluation.
What also contributed to this was the fact that my life seemed to be in a stand still and stuck at one point without any flow. There is only one way forward and at that point the way seemed to be filled with boulders. I was getting frustrated at the complete lack of momentum. I was frustrated, worried, sad and tensed about the plans that I had made and which seemed to falling apart and the life that I wanted for myself slowly fading away right before my eyes.
It took me a lot of soul searching to reach that point where I made peace with my choices. When you are a teenager there is an almost child like confidence that you can conquer the world and that nothing is impossible. But when you grow older somewhere along the way you lose that feeling . It might be cause the world as an adult is complicated and harder to navigate. There is more uncertainty and unpredictability too. I had to reach back to my teenage self to borrow a little of that confidence and that feeling. I slowly accepted that life will rarely move along our plans. It was a struggle to accept that initially, but slowly I learnt to. Once I could do that, I could make peace with my choices.
Today when someone asks me what do I want out of my life I would say I am not sure. It is for sure not having money or a well earning job or marriage or relationship. But what exactly is it, I have no idea!! I might seem directionless or maybe even irresponsible but I am not worried about that. I am just going to take a deep breath, smile and let life take me where it wants to, who knows maybe along the way I will find the answer..!!!
Some one rightly said that expectations reduce joy. But can we do something selflessly without really expecting anything?!
I like to help people. If it’s something within my capacity I would help them. I make an effort and sometimes I even go out of my way to do things for my friends. I tell myself that I am not expecting anything and that I do this out of the goodness of my heart. But the truth is I am lying…!!
It’s really hard to do something without really expecting anything. Even if we make ourselves believe that we don’t expect anything, somewhere deep in our mind, in some corner, we expect at least a little acknowledgement and maybe a little gratitude and when that does not happen we are disappointed.
I set myself up for disappointment every time I go out of my way for others. I expect a lot and is left utterly disappointed and hurt when they fail to acknowledge it or my effort. I thought about this need or this desire and I realized that this stems from the need to be important. It feels good to know that I am important or appreciated and this need for importance and appreciation is in turn tied to expectation. I think human beings as a whole have this incessant need to be appreciated. It’s somehow tied to making us feel good about ourselves. There is an almost high in knowing that we are appreciated or that we are important. When faced with the situation where our importance is undermined we are angry, disappointed and hurt.
I realized that it’s hard to make myself immune to expectations and to selflessly help others. I am merely a person with flaws and it’s almost impossible for me to change one day. But I can definitely try. Today I make a conscious effort to leave my expectations somewhere in the dark inaccessible recess of my mind when I do something for someone. I am not saying that it’s easy but I am slowly getting better at not expecting anything…!!
Change is a constant part of our life. There is something extremely vexing and at the same time beautiful about it. I think we all change a little bit everyday. It might not be visible or noticeable at first but that change is happening in us. I am not the same person I was a few years ago. Today there is a lot about me that is different and yet so many things that have remained the same. What I realized overtime is that there is nothing we can do to stop ourselves from changing.
I used to hate ‘change’….!! Hate is not a strong enough word to describe my feelings about any sort of ‘change’. There was something in me that used to see ‘change’ as the harbinger of doom and the worst thing in life. Whenever I used to see my friends or family changing or evolving, I used to approach it with a lot of scorn, mistrust, fear and rejection. I used to fight a lot against it, used to be insecure and accuse them of doing something horrible and unforgivable. I used to tell my friends with a lot of confidence that I will be the same person even if they meet me after 10 or 15 years. But slowly I realized that I was changing and evolving. The change that had happened in me, slowly became obvious and made me think. My own evolving self made me realize that I was being a hypocrite for wanting my friends to remain the same while I myself was changing. Over the past few years I had the realization of the hard truth that no one is immune to changes.
Today I have reached this point where I have accepted change as a necessary evil. I call it evil cause the mistrust and insecurity is still present and it still vexes me. But I have also learnt to see the beauty of it. I like that I have changed and become a better version of myself. I am not claiming that I am perfect. Merely that whatever has changed it’s for the good. So today when someone says that I have changed. I accept it wholeheartedly and completely cause it’s the truth. I have also learnt to embrace the changes in others cause it’s beautiful. There is something beautiful and exciting in discovering something new about people we know. Life is driven by changes and I believe that’s one of the things that makes life so fascinating..!!
True life is lived when tiny changes occur – Leo Tolstoy
Sometimes my friends in an almost accusing tone say that I bottle up my emotions and it’s not healthy. I open up only after they ask me to or at times when I’m forced to. When I thought about why I tend to hold it all in rather than say what’s bothering me, I found that I do this rather unknowingly. Sometimes it’s hard to open up to people. It is mostly cause I am almost at a loss to explain what’s actually going through my mind or even where to start. There is a whirlwind of thoughts that keeps churning and often goes out of hand and leaves me a panicky, melancholy, silent mess and results in me keeping people at a distance and keeping my emotions to myself. This could be avoided if I tell someone what’s going on but I am always at a loss as to where to start.
Being an only child I have felt that I have to rely on myself and maybe not much on others. Growing up without any sibling I have felt this bone-deep need to be independent and self reliant in almost everything that it has trickled down to every aspect of my life. When I used to be in my teens, I used to share a lot about what’s in my mind with my friends. But as I grew older I slowly stopped sharing. Somewhere along the way I started growing weary of people and found that it’s hard to trust them. I realized that people often tend to have drastically different faces which is hard to reconcile. I think to an extend this trust issue has made me a little closed off and hard to understand.
I have often found that when I try to open up to people I feel more confused or more in turmoil. It almost feels as if they give advice than just listen. Sometimes a person needs someone who will say that ‘It will all get better’ rather than advice. Maybe they are meaningless empty words, but the effect it has is quiet comforting.
The other day a really good friend of mine said that sometimes people don’t respond with the customary ‘it’s okay’ cause maybe they feel that they are empty and meaningless and does not really help and also cause more is expected of them. Maybe that could be a reason. But at times when we know the problem and also the solution, all we need is someone saying that it will get better. And as for the confusion as to where to start she said just to start somewhere. When I thought about it, it actually made sense..!!! Just start somewhere and the rest will be easy. The time that I had spent talking to her was the best I had in a while and left me feeling really light-hearted.
I realize that keeping it all in is not healthy. I also realize that it’s better to share as it will make you feel better. So I have made a decision to not let my emotions and worry get the better of me and to share it with someone. To anyone who might be reading this, if you tend to bottle it all up, just share, cause there is nothing that makes you feel better than knowing that people who love you support you. To all those who listen, keep doing what you are doing and tell them that it’s okay and things will surely get better. To all those who advice rather than listen, which I am also guilty of at times, strive to maybe listen more.