I started writing this post some time back (New Year's eve to be precise), but just couldn't find the time or the heart to complete it, and had decided to abandon it halfway through and leave this place for good.
It's strange how we are constantly affected by the people around us, how quickly life around us can change. So much that it can cause deep repercussions and paradigm shifts, make us appreciate the things we earlier took for granted, encourage us to take up responsibilities.
A couple such interactions motivated me to sit down with a determined face and a cup of coffee in my hand, and finish what I had started.
So, here goes..
I find that the Januaries bring along with them every year a feeling of depression / desperation, a feeling that can't be matched by any other time of the year, however hard they may try.
And believe me when I say this, cause there are plenty other sucky times of the year.
Let's have a look see :
February — don't even need to get started on this one, the month single people all over the world have come to hate.
But I can live with that. In fact I can go on living my blissful life happily all the way up till the end of May, and then, Bam! — it's my birthday!
Perfect recipe for depression as you (as well as your parents. and relatives. even the distant ones. scratch that, especially the distant ones) switch to the comparing and evaluating mode all of a sudden.
Quarter life crises arise (regardless of whether it's my 25th birthday or not, cause I just couldn't find any other word for the nauseating feelings that accompanies twenty-something birthdays), some serious life planning staring out the window on the bus ride back to the shack, more weirdness.
Still, a few hours, a few phone calls form long-forgotten friends, and a hundred or so Wall posts from friends and from people I hate/don't know/don't really care about, I'm okay again, complete with a grin permanently plastered on to my face.
I'm sorry May. you tried but you're gonna need to pack more in that punch if you gotta bring me down.
Fall seems to be another eligible candidate. Just look at a fall leaf, I mean, just look at it. the very lifelessness of it. Okay, I'm yet to see one in real life, we don't have fall here (no REAL fall here anyway). But even in a photograph, even in one with brightness and saturation cranked all the way up to eleven, fall leaves manage to exude that air of hopelessness, bleak as death itself and draining as a Dementor's kiss. I may be exaggerating a bit — trying to sound deep here, humor me.
We may not have fall leaves here, but the world really seems to drag on during that time of the year. real slow, so slow that you just wish for the year / world to end.
(BTW, did you know that the world does not end with a whimper as previously predicted — It now ends with a tweet)
(Not sure why I brought it up here. Read it somewhere sometime back and I thought it was pretty funny back then. I know, internet.)
(Off-topic again : Sorry to disappoint, Dr. Strangelove)
Anyway, the point is that I am so awfully skilled in finding something to complain about, be it any time of the year. Even that magical time of the year when everything is sweet and dandy (Christmas!) I find myself shouting curses at the weather!
(Ever get out on a December night only to be assaulted by a chilling gust of wind, one that seems to make the very soul jump out of your skin?)
(this is literally true for a skinny guy whose diet mainly comprises Caffeine and Nicotine — other skinny people with similar cravings should be able to relate).
Maybe it's just me - cause I find people are usually happier at the year's start, less grumpy and more approachable — they seem to grow colder as the year trudges on. and I for once wear the non-conformist's suit.
Maybe it can be tied to the fact that the first day of the new year has come to be the only time of the year I actually pause and find time to reflect on myself anymore. What I have achieved so far, which of those twisted resolutions from the last New Year's bit the dust and which ones went down in battle (still no sign of a victory), what I amount to and where I may have missed out. Time to whip out the report card and cry over spilt milk cause I flunked, yet again.
I stumbled upon this great article today (11 questions every twenty-something needs to ask) and I found myself struggling to answer many of those questions honestly.
But rather than feeling tied down and depressed on the realization, I decided to go by the Zen train of thought that I've recently fallen in love with — take a deep breath, relax, and figure out how to best set my life straight.
2013 had been a good year for me. Started off on a low key, but like all things that get better with age (wine, women, pickle, ...) it blossomed into one of the most rewarding years of my life so far. Though there was a small degree of unhappiness towards the end, which I relate to my inability to maintain a positive outlook in life in spite of the circumstances (a skill I'm still learning), 2013 will always be up right there in my top 5.
They say experience is a great teacher, I think each year is one.
Think about it, starting each year is like sitting in a new classroom, where life's lessons will be imparted to you one day at a time. You never know what kind of a teacher you are going to get, whether she is going to be magnanimous or merciless (merciless seems to be the trend here, I'm reminded of my college days). And what your report card will say at the end of the year is entirely up to you. See the analogy?
And now that I'm facing the blank canvas that is 2014, I think that it is time make some changes, shake up the routine a little bit, and make this year a fruitful one.
..and this is where I put down the pen (probably passed out from all the New Year night's booze, you should be able to tell from the overflown language / pretentious wordplay).
Four months later, it's hard to get into the same train of thought from that night. I don't even remember what that gigantic preface was for, I'll have to go back in time, grab that phased out guy from New year night by the collar, and whip it out of him.
I think I was about to condemn my habit of taking new year resolutions in some harsh language and end up taking a new year resolution not to take any more new year resolutions.
Because, come to think of it, we are all different people, what works for someone else may not work for you. and analysing the historical data so far, I don't think I'm the Resolutions kind of guy.
What works for me is a cup of hot coffee and an ambience to quietly reflect.
When I was a child, I couldn't wait to grow up. I'm sure we all did.
I still remember an episode back from when I was seven or eight. I had gone to church with my mother and after the mass we were making small talk with the parish priest. He was telling me that I ought to become a priest when I grew up. My mother still recalls with a smile that I broke free from his hands and ran out of the church yelling "No, I wanna be a computer Engineer when I grow up!".
I didnt even know what a computer looked like back then. But when we were kids it didn't matter. We still had a clear idea what we wanted to be when we grew up. The passion was unbridled, we thought nothing in the world would stop us from being a doctor / engineer / police / pilot (those were the favorites back then!).
But when we finally start to grow up we realize that it's not the joyride that we once thought it would be. that growing up is vastly overrated. Trust me, that's what I thought too.
But that's when you are a young twenty something fresh out of school/college and suddenly put into the center of a whole lot of truths and responsibilities.
As you go on, you realize that there's immense joy to be felt in taking up responsibility, in being there for your family and friends, in being a grown up.
I think I've finally started to see the whole picture. Maybe you guys knew this all along, maybe I'm a late-bloomer, but heck, this sure feels good!
And that's why I now realize the folly in following the system of New Year Resolutions. We just keep following it for lack of awareness of a better system.
I mean, why wait 364 days to count your blessings when you could make it a daily habit?
And why bother to think up the weirdest of resolutions just for the sake of filling up a list when the only resolution you need for life is this : Striving each day to be a better person than you were the day before.
Sure, there are challenges. It takes a lot to maintain your composure when life snaps back at you. Even as I'm writing this I'm standing in the midst of a million problems. and that's where the greatest lesson to be learnt makes its significance felt, that worrying will only retard your progress, that a clear head is better at solving problems than a perturbed one.
Just think back on an occassion where you faced a huge adversity. Did worrying do you any good? Exactly.
You might hate me for writing down a whole load of bull, even call me a poser, but hey you know what, with all that I've been through, I've earned every right to engage in bullspeak once in a while.
Whatever you may think, however pretentious this may sound, here's the bottom line. All that blabbering and superfluos language aside, the basic rules of the game have always remained the same.
It's true what they say. Tomorrow has no face. and every morning you live to fight another day. And all you need to make it through the day is a clear head and unflinching conviction.
So I guess this short checklist is all I need to keep my life in check. no more new year resolutions. just a handful of reminders for every day of the life.
Stop beating myself up.
Count my blessings.
Find out what makes me happy and devote more time to it.
Learn something new every day.
And most important of all, live.
Carpe Diem, one day at a time.