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Are you rushing through the now, because you are yet to achieve a goal everybody (including you) believes you should reach?
I have gotten it all wrong, gotten it all backwards probably.
It has been one of the longest phases of life this time when I have been unable to shake off the feeling of gloom, monotony and have found it difficult to look forward to just about anything and everything. There are spurts here and there. Some things feel big enough or important enough to react to. And that reaction then lasts for about only as long as it can sustain by itself. Then we are back with the gloom, the black clouds.
In retrospect, I realize it has entirely been associated with the frustration of having been unable to meet a certain target; ‘settling down’ to be more precise.
Often when people around you begin to believe that there is something else you should rather be pursuing, in a matter of time, you might actually end up fooling yourself into agreeing to it. It is even worse when you internalize it and make it your belief. So now you have a more intense problem to deal with – not only do people expect you to pursue a certain goal, so do you! And then it is harder to be able to see beyond it.
So now you have a more intense problem to deal with – not only do people expect you to pursue a certain goal, so do you! And then it is harder to be able to see beyond it.
I have been frustrated, tired, dreamy, hopeful, resentful, sad and even defeated at different points in time during the past few months. And when you allow something to get onto you as much, sadly just about everything around you seems to resonate the same idea. And thus, all mentions of anything remotely related to marriage – your age, friends settling down, future career plans, investing into something major – just about everything around you begins to trigger difficult disturbances.
Bearing these and much more of a mess in mind, I headed out for a quick dinner with an old school friend. Technically a junior, she just got married last month. With the background in mind, there’s probably little need to talk about what I would have thought about the meeting and how sorry I might have judged my situation to be.
To say that I feel absolutely different after one dinner meeting might sound lofty but feels absolutely real. I complained about my struggle and my state, which needs to change but refuses to nonetheless. But what my friend said to me in response, based on her understanding, led to an interesting paradigm shift.
To not have married by a certain age has its own frustrations and social judgements to be dealt with. But to have been married by a certain age has its own downfall for an individual (more so a woman) too!
When you commit to another person, another family, you somewhere enter into an unsaid agreement of making changes and adjustments as required. And this is not so much to do with being a male or a female but more to do with the fact that two people choose to be co-responsible for several aspects of life. This, by default, invites changes and adjustments.
So when I get to make my own decisions, expland my work the way it excites me, execute hastily made plans, travel unplanned, and take things at my own pace, I am getting to do something that has its own charm and importance in life.
More often than not, it is difficult to appreciate something fully well unless you are close to losing it or have already lost it. But when it is still all yours and you can manage to crack through that feeling of wanting to treasure it, it needs to be savoured. It needs to be remembered as vividly as possible to not let go of that powerful benefit.
What I am saying in other words is that while there are disappointments (and will continue to be) there is also the possibility of marvelling at what exists already, what is mine.
And I know for a fact and deep within me that I don’t want to make the mistake of rushing past the life that is, in order to make it elsewhere later. When I do that, I cheat on both the now and the later.
It is how the author Robert Pirsig puts it in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, “I don’t want to hurry it. That itself is a poisonous twentieth-century attitude. When you want to hurry something, that means you no longer care about it and want to get on to other things”.
And if getting onto other things is what you really want in the first place, why fret so much over things you don’t yet have?
I like to believe in signs and thus I like to believe in the idea that having this conversation tonight and reading such a strong post had to happen together to tell me where I was going wrong. If I exercise my choice to live through my life in the now, as it unfolds before me, I earn the choice to feel differently too.
Woman in a race image via Shutterstock
A clinical psychologist by choice and profession, a writer by interest. Talking and listening to
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