As I touched the third decade last week, there was this incessant need to take stock, look back and reflect on all the foolish notions I held so dearly. I can’t help and laugh at how impressionable and wide-eyed I was.
If there is one thing I would want to tell my younger impetuous self it would be not to invest time in equations and relationships that are a one-way street. You can’t keep giving. Most relationships need to be mutual to last long enough. You can’t keep giving without expecting anything in return. We’re all human at the end of the day let us not try to be ascetics when we’re not.
I would also like to tell myself to be more discerning of people and situations. Don’t look after you’ve leap. It is better to take your steps slowly and steadily.
Go with the flow. Irrespective how well you treat others, you can’t accept the same in return. Know where to draw the line for yourself and for others.
Idealism is good, it might fade with the touch of time, but never let enthusiasm and zeal to try anything new fade with it.
Most of our limitations, all that holds us back looms large in our head. Half the battles we fight are the ones we fight with ourselves. We can be our own best allies and worst enemies. It all boils down to how we perceive ourselves and our circumstances.
Don’t waste your time being self-conscious and worrying about what other people will think of you. Immaterial and irrespective of how hard you try they will like you or detest you based on their own perceptions and prejudices. Don’t try too hard to win other people’s approval. Try instead to do what you love, be what you want. You can’t live a path someone else has charted out for you. It is a sure shot way to fall flat on one’s face.
Being sensitive doesn’t mean being thin-skinned for ourselves. It is being sensitive to other people’s needs to. The world doesn’t revolve around you. Speak to others as you would like to be spoken to.
I can rant on endlessly, for the sake of time I’ll pause for now and perhaps come back later to rant some more 🙂
Chasing a mirage called security
Seeking the stamp of approval
And permanence from society
We tie ourselves in knots
Chaining people with expectations
Worrying about what will be
Watching the present slip by
Into oblivion’s sea
We soak in the glory of
A fading past
Our effort is to drag
On to ensure we
Walk the trodden path
Till the very last
We delude ourselves
Into chasing stability
Knowing little life
is in fits and starts
It dances alive in the
Ephemeral and momentary
With less than 3 months to go as I edge towards the dreaded yet much anticipated third decade of my life. I can’t help but look back at the turbulent and tumultuous twenties. I left the comfort and warmth of home, moved cities, got a job,made mistakes, faltered, realized what an emotional fool I am, changed two jobs, fell in love, got married, traveled, learned to take a stand for myself. This list could probably run into pages. Too much happened in this time, it makes me even breathless to recall it all !
It is strange how we change intrinsically with time without realizing it at all. If I meander back to my early twenties I was a die-hard optimist peeking at the world with my rose-tinted glasses. Time and experiences tempered this optimism with a lot of realism. Time taught me to have realistic expectations of people, life and the world at large. As I now edge towards the big 30 I’m none the worse for it. Realism has left me in a happier and less restless space. Yet that strange restless urge nestles in a corner somewhere and takes charge of me every now and then. I miss the heady feeling that told me I could change the world. Now I just make peace by changing how I respond to the world. Much to my chagrin.
Earlier I would be befuddled and wide-eyed by perpetually everything. But time has taught to do all of the rolling of the eyes and raising eyebrows in my head while maintaining a calm exterior. Time has also mellowed down my spirit. I no longer react strongly to people’s idiosyncrasies and quirks ( although the voices in my head still react but I manage to quiet them self deprecatingly). My impatience might not have been tamed but time has almost taught me to conceal it.
Sometimes I miss the whip-lashing feminist I was. Mouthing women’s rights in college while carrying around a copy of Germaine Greer’s Beauty Myth .The present day me has settled for egalitarianism ( that too is a distant dream in a country like ours that is caught in a time warp) We still have different rules for different genders.
Earlier I couldn’t quite fathom why people are a certain way. Let’s say experiences brought home the fact that it is none of my business. If the twenties taught me anything it would be to live and let live and let peace prevail.
I could keep looking back at life and ambling on endlessly but for now let me just get back to work and end my rant here.
Find a home
for your feelings
Give them a cushion
to rest on
A corner to set roots in
Let them meander through
the corridors of your mind
Hold them close
till they seep through
your weary bones
Inhale them in
Till they fill
depths of your soul
of your heart to air
feelings that gather dust
and let them fly
Life’s unpredictable, unfair and yet a beautiful journey If you have an appetite life has a lot to offer. You just need to open your arms to feel it, experience it in entirety , all joys and sorrows, all hopes all dreams . As I inch towards 30, I have this incessant urge to reflect on all the lessons life’s brought my way, to gather those nuggets and capture them somewhere. Most of my growing up happened in the last decade. Before which I was comfortably sheltered in a cocooned existence. But the past few years shook me out of complacence and forced me to get my hands dirty and learn more about life, about letting go of what I was to become what I could be. To shed my perceptions, biases, to look at life up and close. To learn some more and reflect less. Here’s what I thought I could share in a long self indulgent monologue. You can read it at the risk of falling asleep with such hackneyed, done to death lessons.
- Travel, stir the wanderlust within. Roam the world, see all you can. Experience all you can. Traveling is the shortest route to discovering what your soul needs and it is what helps you unwind and break monotony like nothing. Travel to rejuvenate yourself and travel to resurrect your relationships with those who matter. Travel with a partner; a companion. Travel alone, travel to quench the thirst for knowledge, to find meaning in life.
- Read: Books will be your only constant companion in life’s journey. Read when you’re happy. Read when you’re low. Read to know the world and yourself. Read till words dance like images in your mind, read to nourish your mind.
- Love till it hurts. Love to give unasked, with your entire being. Love yourself, love those who matter. Love your weaknesses, love the darkness in those you love. Love teaches you acceptance and compassion. Don’t stay trapped in hurt, forgive those who hurt you and move on. You can really love another once you’ve accepted yourself, warts and all. Don’t close your heart and mind to possibilities.Keep them open to find love.
- In the race to make a career, buy a house and acquire all material possessions. Don’t forget the people who matter. Don’t lose yourself to the madness of a rat race. Life boils down to being more than having. Make time for yourself and for others.
- Don’t stress and sweat over the small stuff. It is best ignored. Think about the bigger picture. There’s no point gathering excess baggage with guilt, resentment, anger. Life’s much more so shed them before it’s too late
- Make time for your parents. Call them often. They need you more as they age, spend more time talking to them, connecting with them.
- Take time off from the virtual world. Switch off the phone, that tablet, the laptop. Take a deep breath and have a real conversation with yourself, with a friend, co-worker. Anyone. The virtual world can never replace the physical one.
- Measure your words; use them with care. You never know when you’d be forced to take them back. Use them to reach out, express, share, but rarely to lash out, hurt. Life is an echo.
- Retain that child-like curiosity, the eagerness to know and learn something new. Its the best anti-aging solution.
- Every now and then do some housekeeping of your physical as well mental space. Let go of things you don’t need and have no use of. Let go of relationships that are meaningless and don’t make you happy or teach you anything. The older you get; your world will shrink and will be restricted to the people who really matter.
- Don’t bend backwards to please people. Or to be someone you aren’t . Sooner or later they’ll see through it. Just be yourself, unabashedly sans apologies. There will be people you meet who may not like you for no real reason; you can’t do a thing to change that. Don’t try and change their perception, they are entitled to it, as you are entitled to your own.
- Let work give meaning to your life.Put your heart and soul into it. Find a calling that intersects with your passion and work will be fun. But don’t make work a synonym for life.
- Don’t ever give up on your dreams, your hopes. They define you. Go all out to make them real. Chase them. If they break, find new ones. But never give up on hope. Have your feet firmly rooted in reality, yet give wings to all that you want from life.
- Never be a naysayer. Be open to change. It can be fearful and intimidating, yet change turns out for the best. Almost. Always.
- Create something. Learn to draw, write, paint, create a life. It gives you the kind of joy nothing can.
- Find home. Quell your inner restlessness. Home isn’t necessary a place. It’s a state of being. A place within which nourishes you, feeds you, give you comfort and strength to face life’s blows. Every now and then look within, retreat to the place you call home and find strength to walk again.
- Take both praise and criticism with a pinch of salt. Yet learn from them. I used to be an oversensitive person who could cry at the drop of a hat or when I saw people point out mistakes. I am still learning to deal with criticism. Take the lesson but don’t carry the hurt.
- Learn to see the people you love as they are and not with rose tinted glasses. Accept their weaknesses and strengths. Learn to see your parents objectively so that your life isn’t a shadow of theirs. Carry the best they taught you; but try and sift out the worst.It comes with growing up.
- Everything takes time. Dreams will realize, the life you want will come your way. But give it time; don’t be in a hurry to get anywhere.
- Speak up when it is needed. Speak up when you want to be heard. Silence isn’t always the best alternative. And don’t flinch within while saying no say it politely yet firmly. Most of us women find it hard to do so.
- Live in the moment. It is easier said than done. I am prone to fret over the past or keep nursing dreams for the future. It ultimately serves no purpose. So give into the moment and soak in the experience. Don’t focus on making the moment a memory with a photograph or Facebook update. You immortalize it by living it wholly.
I could go on and on and this virtually started to sound like my own wish-list or bucket list of things to do and learn. But for the sake of time and at the risk of sounding like an overzealous preacher, I must stop here. What is that you draw from life ? Do share it.
It took some time and a minuscule wisdom to sink in
that I don’t have to be picture-perfect and thin
To be loved to distraction and love endlessly in return
All I need is a heart brimming adoration and concern
A mind with its windows open to every possibility
A remarkable sensitivity and artistic sensibility
A pair of eyes to discern and know
What needs to be nipped and what should grow
A pair of hands to be held and hold
A confidante whom you trust enough to grow old