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.
Writing is not exactly my forte. One could also say that it is something that I might fail spectacularly at. But in spite of the fact that I am not good at this, I decided that I should try. Why a blog might be a question that arise. Why not, is what my mind answered. It takes a lot of courage to do something which you believe you are not good at. One has to be almost fearless to try something they know they are going to fail at. I amassed all the courage I could find and also the desire to try something new, a desire or want to tell the world what’s inside my mind and to share my various introspection and musings. Maybe no one would read this, maybe someone would, maybe people are going to hate this, maybe they will love this or maybe it will remain unread. What is important is that it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if anyone reads or not. It only matters that I try. So here’s to an effort borne out of a desire, a yearning, a lot of courage and determination.
“The scariest moment is always just before you start.” – Stephen King