Victory, success, being an achiever, perfecting it all, was all that mattered once. As I would review the passing year with a mixed feeling of achievement and dejection, contemplating with discontent things I could have done better, cheering the few successes, New Year’s resolution always hovered around achieving the near-impossible, seeking that elusive ‘Perfect Life’ with happiness and prosperity abundant. Alas, one can never be successful enough or happy enough as the yardsticks created by society, family and our own selves keep changing, or seem just out of reach.
While on the one hand, we celebrate our wins, on the other hand, the fear of slipping, not being able to meet the expectations keep pulling us down. So, quite a while ago, New Years’ would bring out the best and the worst in me – making me aware of the fleeting time, of so little that I have achieved, of so much more that is to be done, would at times leave me panic struck. But soon my confident, optimist self would gather myself together and look forward to the New Year, hoping to tick off as many boxes as possible.
Yes, it was optimism and confidence that kept me going despite all odds and let downs – not getting the coveted job, not finding Mr Right, not having a fancy address – the list goes on. I struggled with my expectations of myself and my expectations of others for quite a few years. I would look enviously at my more successful cousins and friends and feel dejected. At times I would feel like fish struggling in a tumultuous sea. The image of a young girl trying successfully to reach the peak would often haunt me, a recurrent dream or a nightmare. I would be angry, unhappy, complaining that nothing seems to be going right for me. I would feel pressured when nobody really was pressurizing me. I am lucky to have parents who pretty much let me have my way. While they encouraged me to go for my dreams, they also in their own way showed me some dreams come true and some don’t, but that shouldn’t stop us from dreaming. Making choices and being happy and content with the outcome, is a valuable lesson that I learnt from my father. So, once I accepted the outcome of my choices, I found myself to be a much calmer and happier person. I learnt to celebrate my victories rather than moaning over my losses all the time.
I wish I could say, the losses don’t matter anymore. They do, it’s just that I don’t get bogged down by losses anymore. I dream on, believe in magic and miracles, sometimes I wish for a magical world. At times I wonder if I could master Aladin’s genie. While my logical self knows that there’s nothing called magic, my irrational self creates a beautiful magical illusion and both these selves happily co-exist. When I got down to penning my resolutions last year in my dreamy pink notebook, with my unicorn pen they were about yielding to hearts desires: travelling to the unknown, loving, living, writing, reading, enjoying a cup of coffee…Many are yet to be achieved but the journey is on…
Waking up every morning knowing not what the day holds, making choices every day, sometimes choices making us. Some of those choices work, take us closer to our dreams, some shatter them. When you think about it, it is scary, it is uncertain, it can be messy. And it’s the frightening uncertainty that makes life so beautiful, every day so worth it. Over the years we realize life is not a whole, its many pieces, fragments, shreds, dreams, ambitions scattered all around us. The real test is to pick up those pieces and weave them into a fabric or a mosaic or a beautiful melody that is mesmerizing and intriguing. For its many colours and many shapes that make life such an adventure. Life indeed is a ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’:
Is this real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide, No escape from reality.