Wow. There were times when I thought I would be a professional writer. I believed I could have that dramatic Chetan Bhagat-esque turn of events where I would leave my conventional life to pursue an exciting career. So what’s the reality like? A few days back I celebrated the death anniversary of my blog. Yes, it has been one entire year since I have written anything. And what kept me so busy the last 365 days, you ask? I have no answer.
Every time I was reminded about my blog, I pushed the thought away thinking there was nothing that “inspired” me at that time. Now it was high time and I had decided I had to write and if it had to be about not being inspired, so be it.
It has dawned on me that life becomes mundane after you have crossed all the milestones in your life- school, college, internship and post- graduation. What all those sad people said about life becoming sad after studies is sadly true!
Quarter life crisis? Perhaps. Despite being the hypochondriac that I am, I haven’t read about this much and I disagree that the questions I face are transitional. And if they are, phew, I would love to come back to this post many years later and laugh at the intensity of it.
So, have you had the feeling that you are furiously rowing a static boat? Life feels like that at times, doesn’t it? So what if you are in a great job, what will happen even if you “single-handedly” “crack multi-million dollar projects” or if you work in the creamiest of the organizations aren’t you still going to work at 9 coming back at 7 or 8 or whatever. Evveryday. Maybe you get to travel a little more and live a little more luxuriously, it is better but it is not enough that you are coming first in this rat race. Imagine a super-fast zoom out of the Earth and there you are tinier than the insignificant ant you squashed under your feet. Jobs aren’t bad, they give you a reason to wake up but they are not enough to give you a purpose to live. Another theory here, now that there is no definite set of people you are competing with and no definite results and grade sheets, there seems to be less incentive to obsess over it? Isn’t it?
Ok so routine life is not meant for me? I have to look for a higher purpose? Let’s consider service to the less fortunate. I am not undermining the work others are doing here. I am just trying to take an unbiased third party opinion on life choices. So many have dedicated their life to uplifting the less fortunate but is there ever going to be a pain-free world? You can spend your life in service of others and yes, making even a single person happier is a great deed but in the bigger picture how much of a difference can you make after dedicating your entire life? I believe in being a good person but dedicating your life to service is still a debate in my head.
How about being remembered after your death? People said and I believed for the longest time that our aim should be to live in a way that we leave our footprints on the sands of time for others to follow. This one is fairly simple, nobody knows what will happen after you die and how does the thought of possibly helping people who aren’t even born yet make you happy? You will not even be around to experience the realization of the same.
A rather yummy option- traveling. I have tried it quite a bit. I enjoy it a lot. But life motive? Maybe not, in my opinion, there are beautiful places on Earth. Way more than you can imagine or than the photographs spread all over your newsfeed but OK, so what? You would say the experience of traveling makes a person. Yes, I have experienced that first hand, losing my passport abroad was like arm wrestling with a giant monster of fate. Still, so what? A good experience, some good parties and life would still feel meaningless.
How about choosing your passion as your profession? Maybe. Two loopholes here, one, the possible financial crunch will leave you distraught. Two, wouldn’t it eventually become mundane and land us back to square one?
Let me bring in a tangent conversation here. On a turbulent flight, a friend and I decided to discuss the purpose of life to take our minds off the apparently life threatening situation. We did some maths, this is not original but definitely makes complete sense here.
Our appx. lifespan= 60 years
Good health + Independence + No dependents= 8 years (22 years to 30 years)
Hours/ day at work = 9
Hours/ day to sleep = 8
Hours/ day for regular chores = 2
Weekends = 834 days
Hours for yourself (A) = 11,680 (weekends) + 10,400 (Weekdays)
Days in life which are REALLY yours= A/ 24= 921 Days
This emphasizes why it is important to know what you want and to do what you want to do.
Till all those milestones years of school and college, someone else takes care of keeping you occupied and keeping you happy, post that, there is still scope for happiness but it is not handed down to you rather it is in your own hands. And suddenly taking are of such a huge responsibility is scary. So how do we do it?
Through my interactions with spiritually aware people, I have come to realize, happiness is to just live in the moment. If you think about a normal day, there is nothing you feel sad about. But when you think about things that happened in past and about what might happen in future is when you start feeling upset. There is no science in what is the motive of your life, it is basically to live and take it as it comes. It seems, “Ananda” cannot be translated to English accurately. But loosely put, it is the experience of extreme bliss like hugging someone you truly love. Personally, I have started to understand, it’s not about making a pros and cons list but simply doing what you feel like. And by feel, I mean FEEL. Maybe we do not need to take ourselves so seriously. We are a speck in the whole scheme of existence but for ourselves, we are an incredible gift of experience. Being happy is the purpose of life and what makes one happy is more subjective than objective. I have started using this mantra in life and I will let you know if I indeed find happiness.
This post is dedicated to my best friend on his birthday. Over the years, me- the person, has been carefully crafted by him, the way one decorates a Christmas tree in their home. Here we are, scurrying around in the maze of life and there you are blowing life into mannequins! All the hi-funda spiritual things I have heard and read about, you do it like a pro without someone having to tell you in your life! So you weren’t lazy all this while, you were just meditating, I guess? I would put his name here, but he doesn’t like people knowing his birthday! Happy Birthday to you! J
Tu hai toh main hu,
Yeh jaan le.
Saaya hun main tera, tu pehchan le. J
Lyrics: Tu hai from the movie Waiting