This has not happened for a while, not because I never started to write but because after running multiple drafts on the notepad and on my mind, I didn't get anywhere. Initially, I was confused about the story that I should tell, how I will vent my anger & frustration, my disappointments but then I decided to stay away from everything. This hiatus from many things definitely helped my cause, so here I am trying to complete my first draft. The occasional weekend smoke has taken over my daily routine, from 1 to 2 to 3, this has become a crippling habit which I want to get out of, but for now, this occasional smoke is my buddy & companion, until I start gaining trust in my surroundings. It gives me an excuse to get out on my balcony, in the middle of the night and stare at the emptiness, maybe I am not ready to get rid of those moments which brings lot of topics into my mind, maybe I will miss those sparks if I end up quitting. I don't know the exact reasons but for now, I am loving the late night cigarettes and I will dedicate this article to those late night smokes.
When I decided to take my hiatus, I was thinking about staying away from my friends as well but the realization that it is unfair to those who stood by me during worst times, made me rethink. The biggest and most important lesson to be learnt out of life is that no one owes you anything. Every single one of us are out here for our own self, our happiness and to manage our own moods. Now the question comes as an individual, how you will deal with it? This list is just my own life reflections from the past few months which I wrote down because of a number of reasons and in turn another ridiculous page from my life,
Quit your job:
Before last summer, couple of my close buddies helped me initiate the job search but instead of continuing a full fledged search, I decided to put it on hold for rest of the year because of many reasons and maybe the fear of moving out of this beautiful state, Minnesota, played a big role including my inner call to stay close to those I really love. I finally quit my job this February and to be frank, I have never been this happier in my 8+ years long career. Not that I hated my previous job hardcore but switching job was like rebooting a system which was untouched for years. Getting out of comfort zone, a change of scene definitely makes you a better professional (and person) in multiple ways and most of the time, the fact that we are unaware of this makes us continue in that comfort zone forever. If you haven't done it yet then think through, quit the job if it is sucking the life out of you and find something new. The people you meet, the new ventures you get into, the new learnings, the aspect that you gave yourself a chance and the overall confidence you get out of this, is inexplicable. In my case, this was a just a chance rather than a deeply planned one but looking back at the last 4-5 months, it was all worth it for a number of reasons.
Find the dreamer in you
Aren't we all dreamers? Don't we all have dreams? As a teenager, I used sit on the shores of Vembanad lake and instead of going through engineering text books (sorry amma that I lied to you about studying), I will stare at the moving boats, making conversation with the locals and having casual conversation with the wandering tourists. During all those moments, somewhere in the back of my mind, I started scribbling the things I wanted to do with life and list of spiritual/materialistic targets that I wanted to achieve in future. Our priorities change as we grow old, for sure many of these dreams take a back seat but at some point in life, the fact that you missed a lot of these will come back to haunt you. Instead of waiting for that moment, I gave myself a chance, sat in silence to recollect some of them and decided to give it a try. I didn't want to wait till I become successful to write my story because the time is now and moreover isn't success a trivial term? Maybe we all had unrealistic dreams but the fact that we are giving a sincere attempt towards achieving it, will work like a magic and I am excited about the upcoming months. I want to be a drifter who gets to explore more, who gets to travel wide & far, to take that road trip to Ladakh, to blend in with the waves on the Vivekananda rock, walk endlessly on the beautiful Andaman beaches but my commitments have tied me up for now. I am hopeful of a day, a time I get to unchain myself and fly away… one day...
The pandemonium called Social Media
The "beautiful one" asked me once, "why are you so secretive about your personal life on Facebook?". I had a difficult time explaining to her & my other friends why any posts would turn out to be a poisonous arrow due to the internal culture at previous work environment. The fact that many of my coworkers were making assumptions based on what they saw on social media was somehow affecting the daily routine and I was mostly unhappy about the untimely, unnecessary conversations that I had to get into because of it. I understand the options I had around blocking people or removing them from my lists but the "rebel" inside me was not ready to do it and most of the time, I went into a "It is your problem" mode. After I quit my job, I went on a spree with respect to updating anything & everything and posting whatever I want before I decided to take a hiatus from everything. Social Media is a beautiful thing and no matter the cons people come up with, it has changed the way world connects with each other and it is not going anywhere anytime soon but as humans we will continue to evolve so do the applications we continue to create. But if you are an active social media person who spends a lot of time on Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter, Snapchat etc., then take a break for a while when you can. The biggest change in my case is, I am much more attentive when I am around my friends - I no longer want to be "that friend" who is listening to a great story while staring at the phone or quoting my friend Tony, "Give him an LCD screen and he will stare at it for hours". Now I only want to listen to that great story and if you are telling one, then I am all ears - social media can wait.
I used to be that person who always put my struggle to the forefront - my upbringing, my early life struggles, my problems, all of them took the front seat when it came to making a judgment about another individual. Now I can admit that I was wrong all the way. When she was sitting in front of me and crying, I never understood the emotions (or anxiety involved) that makes someone go through that but I am much more insightful about the whole ordeal now. Irrespective of the background, I understand everyone has their own stories which they keep close to their heart and having a better idea of this will definitely help maintain the connections that you create with people you are meeting. I haven't read John Koenig's book yet but Sonder is my favorite word at the moment and I am happy that I took some time to understand the meaning, reflect into a lot of past experiences.
Path to perfection
I asked an old friend what she thinks is the definition of a perfect guy. I could imagine she responding to my silly question with a whimsical grin. She said there is no such thing called perfect guy. So what next? Do we take some time off, look inside and have the courage to admit that you were wrong so many times, even if no one around you pointed it out? I have so many such moments in my life, which I feel disappointed about. When I look back at it, I realize how I could've handled that situation differently. Maybe I didn't have that level of maturity back then or maybe I went chasing the moment. I don't have the ability or extravaganza to go back in time to correct any of my mistakes but I decided to change some things. I understand this is not a path to perfection but paving a way for myself, the right one. She was right, there is no such thing called "Perfect guy" but you can always be a compassionate, cheerful human being who gives the best into every situation one gets into and as long as I commit myself to doing the right thing, I am sure it will be the happiest detour of my life. "From now on, be the right one" is the new mantra
Know your people
I lived around different places and made a lot of long lasting connections. Did I do justice to all those connections I made? Did I leave some important people in search of the so called "greener patches"? I tried to think through and maybe I did, with few of them. When I took time to recollect the long list of people that I met and relationships I build with them, it did bring back a lot of good memories. At a point in life where I felt completely lost and disappointed, I didn't run everywhere asking for help and even ended up hiding the problems from a lot of people that were close to me. But there were a handful of them who came out to help me during a bad period of time and that random unexpected connections really turned the screw inside me. I want to payback all of them, even in the form of a simple gesture though most of them doesn't expect anything from me. The list will start with my mother, a plan just for all the unselfishness she exhibited towards us and that random humane thoughts she shares over the phone. As for my friends, I will continue to try and be the best one they ever ran into. I will definitely take time for all those who made an attempt to help me out, its my promise and commitment..
Throughout the past holiday season, I was able to hide all my worries behind a fake smile and though I was present every moment, my mind was absent knowing the new year is not going to be kind towards to me. This past February, on a cold winter night, at the lowest point of my life over past few years, I went to bed with a mind in disarray but I got up the next morning answering a phone call, where I was informed about a new job. Over the next few weeks, I occasionally ran away from the emptiness of my apartment, to stroll the beaches in LA, to walk endlessly through the Chicago streets, to get lost in a string of concerts around Minneapolis - in search of some inner peace. I am not angry any more, I understand my disappointment was the outcome of a story I tried to create for myself and I have forgiven all those moments, I believe, let me down. I am not sure about what is next or where life will take me but now I can say with confidence that my love is true, my smile is real, my words are sincere and my intentions are genuine. I have learned to stop and listen to people, those who want to be heard. This world doesn't have to know all the things that you do but try to make someone smile every time you get outside, whether it is a friend or a total stranger. Listen to a lot of music, music that you love, that makes you happy, sad, think, jump in joy because the therapeutic aspect of music cannot be unmatched. As for those who repeatedly ask me to start looking for love again, I asked them to wait because I am trying to discover myself, unearth the dreamer inside me and even though I am adamant to admit, I think I am still in....