I choose to be happy

Every so often you think you are oblivious to certain things.  And, suddenly it hits someone close to you. It does affect you; but then you choose to get on with life, doing nothing about it, though you know it’s high time you do something about it.

For as long as I can remember I was on such a race. Running from one thing to another, ticking off things in my to-do list, never taking a break to appreciate things as it is. Until, it hit me-fatigue.

One day, I just wanted to sleep. Nothing less, nothing more. When I walked home from work, all I could think was I need to lie down.  I barely got through the door and plopped on bed. Slept forever.

Perhaps, it was a one-off incident. But, it scared me. I thought enough of running around like a headless chicken.

May be I should chase happiness and not goals.

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For days, I was thinking just one thing- read a book under a tree. It was like epicenter of everything I was doing was this tree. It was in my head and I even went searching for it. There is a property next to our office, a lush green space in middle of all concrete structures with a sprawling lawn and one big tree. Whenever I finished a deadline or did house work I visualized this tree.

Girl under tree with a book

It gave me peace, strength, focus and a goal which I was happy to chase.  And, the tedious deadlines became pleasurable. And, this visualization that pushed me forward did come true. Well, not totally, I settled for reading near a window with view of a neem tree.

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Now the distance between these two incidents is not as easy as you think. Forget, reassessing the priorities and the emotional drama part- where your brain says something and heart overrides it. But, the real part is putting thoughts into action- attempting to work out a fixed yet flexible schedule, planning a good diet, finding time for exercising and some fun time as well.

And, most importantly trying to figure out if I can still be fiercely ambitious as I was- should I be taking it slow?

I spend a good deal of our late night walks debating it with my husband on this and decided that I just cannot compromise on either. I won’t be happy either way if I have to choose between the two.

Next task was to think what made me happy and that was easy- thinking or speaking about my childhood days. What was so special about childhood? Perhaps, it was that I took one thing at a time and enjoyed everything I did.  I thought- what the heck, let me try that for a week and I have been hooked to it ever since.

Now, let’s be fair here. It’s not like I have been consistent. If my mom is here- she would say “ Arambha Shooratham” ( attempt at translating from Malayalam: Beginner’s over enthusiasm). There could be friends or colleagues who say “She is never satisfied”. But so far I have been trying, it has been working and I am happy.

All said and done- life is not an Indian movie to become an overnight success in one song. In my experience there is no such thing as a balance nor there possibility of ever achieving a goal. When target is always running ahead of you what is the point in chasing it. I would say everything is a give and take. The trick is never tally at end of the day; just mend things so that you are always better off.

Right now, I am better off 😉 And that is no illusion.

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Everyone is a Winner! P.S: Life is not a race

Most of our perspectives about life are strongly rooted to the conditioning by society. One such perspective is that life is a race, a mad rat race, with the winner being judged as the best. Wherever we turn, situations seem to tell us that it is indeed a race, coming in different hues and colours. Science says it through Darwin’s ‘Survival of the fittest theory’. History tells about all the wars that we fought for supremacy and power. Even in sports, all the matches’ ends with a winner.

It is no wonder that the whole of life time seems like a big competition, considering that the germination of life in itself begins with the triumph of a spermatozoon which beats all other sperm cells to fertilise the ovum. As we grow up, the struggle to outperform others builds momentum through our education system centred on performance in examinations and assignments, and continues through the mad chase to get a job. Next on line is the marriage championship with the ultimate quest to find the most eligible spouse in the world. The cycle takes a full circle, as the competitive genes pass downs to another generation. The battle goes on and on.

Perhaps it could be the sheer need to prove ourselves that we tend to consider everything that we do is yet another conquest in life. Heroes in movies say “I feel like the king of the world”, advertisements offer “Paradises on earth” and we are often caught by the bait of “Living life king size”. Sometimes, it makes me think whether we all are really happy because we achieved something or we want to prove that we are capable of achieving in front of the world. Sometimes, we have just posted about our recent success in Facebook and is waiting for comments to flow in, there comes a pop up that our friend (in this case, a competitor in the race) has achieved something better. Thereafter no matter how many comments congratulating you come, we forget our current achievement and go in pursuit of another one. It may be because success is mostly defined in terms of comparisons with the success of similar people in similar circle. We are obsessed with being the best of all, and easy measure for it, have always been benchmarking against our peers, instead of our own satisfaction.

For the firm believers of “life is a race” concept, I would like to see it in a different light. In my perspective, we should see life as a “marathon”, rather than a rat race. Life is all about performing consistently, finding our own personal best, benchmarking our past achievements and striving to outperform ourselves. Much like in a marathon, it would require us to run at a steady pace, rather than get burnt out at the end of a rat race. We all are winners, if we can discover our unique best, nurture it and in the process enjoying every moment of it.