I can’t say when you’ll get love or how you’ll find it or even promise you that you will. I can only say you are worthy of it and that it’s never too much to ask for it and that it’s not crazy to fear you’ll never have it again, even though your fears are probably wrong. Love is our essential nutrient. Without it, life has little meaning. It’s the best thing we have to give and the most valuable thing we receive. It’s worthy of all the hullabaloo.”
― Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar
I read articles everyday written by singles around the world. The eternal singles, the very recently turned singles, the too busy for love singles. Each one of them talks about why people should respect their singlehood status, not reassure them that they will most certainly find someone special in the future. I appreciate the thought. People have a right to choose to be single. But I do not choose that. I do not crave Independence. I love to have someone’s shoulders to lean onto. I am grateful if I have someone I can confide in. No, I do not have someone special in my life right now. But I am waiting for someone special to enter my life. I am not ashamed of admitting that I feel a void in my life. Despite extraordinary parents who support me in all my endeavors, despite having a great bunch of friends who never let me feel lonely, despite having a great life, doing something I love, I feel the need for someone.I am not apologetic about it.I am just human.
Setting your eye on a delightfully captivating blog post in the early hours of the morning is such a high! Almost like a rush of caffeine! And when that piece is arguing for more creation vs consumption (of content, not food), it is a sure shot way to lead me to my blog in the morning. I do feel like emulating persons who motivate me to unleash my (perceived) creative potential.
So here I am at my desk with steaming coffee in a red mug, humming ‘Pappa rappa pa ra ra’ (to the tune set in the Nescafe commercials). It is true, creating anything gives one such a feeling of contenment vis-a-vis checking out friends’ updates on Facebook, while they have been partying away to glory as you slept peacefully. This takes me back to a class I had a couple of months ago on what is termed ‘Cognitive Surplus’ in business parlance.
A concept referred to in a book of the same name by Clay Shirky, it persuades us that humans are naturally creative by nature; unlocking our creative juices is good for us mentally and physically. Not only does the act of creation personally benefit us enormously, many of the most successful businesses of today owe their entire existence to our inherent love of sharing knowledge. Think Wikipedia. Think Linux. Think of the hundreds of other open source projects where coders ( sometimes called incorrigible geeks) from across the world give up their free time to contribute to projects that do not offer any monetary rewards.
So what explains this uncharacteristic act of generosity? Aren’t we humans supposed to be selfish creatures? Shirky attributes these unlikely exceptions in human behavior to the need to derive meaning out of life. Jobs these days rarely require us to do tasks that wholly engage us; therefore the need many of us feel to move out of the mundane to a world where we can make a difference. Writing an article on Wikipedia or creating a new mobile app adds more to our life; we see tangible results that reaffirm confidence in our own abilities.
Out of the myriad options that exist, I love two creative pursuits the most: writing and singing. Strangely though, it took me a while to realize that I liked to write. Till I was a high school student, I had no option but to give in to writing- school essays, papers and of course examinations. After schooling, I entered a rebellious phase where I refused to write a single word. Then after I started working, realization dawned that I missed having an outlet for my emotions. Inertia though made me put off writing for ages. Finally, it was a friend who suggested that I take to blogging since I’m such a happy person with happy emotions after writing anything- be it a 1000 word term paper, an MBA application essay or just about my emotions.
My other favorite creative pursuit is something that I have always been aware of. I love Indian classical and Bollywood music. I usually take time off to record my voice on my laptop and publish it on soundcloud. Here is a sample:
But do my favorite creative passions let the cat out of the bag? That I’m a closet narcissist?
Happy New Year folks! In the aftermath of New Year revelry, was feeling a little dull and exhausted when the quote above caught my eye. Like a thousand other quotes doing the rounds, this one makes sense too, just as you read it. How many of them do we actually remember? Or recall in a situation that demands it? Yet, I felt as though this one would be different. Almost like a talisman that I carry along with me.
My biggest weakness till date has been my tendency to get sorely disappointed over seemingly minor issues. Coming to terms with what I have made up my mind about and that does not quite turn out the way I expect it to requires a lot of hard work and mental strength. Whether it is about test results or a cute guy that I had my eye on, I never seem to be able to match the intensity of my expectations with the seriousness of the issue itself. When the issue has finished playing out, I am left to deal with the remnants of my mental imagery. I remember the time that I was dead sure of cracking an interview and nailing admission to my dream school. But of course, it did not quite end the way I anticipated it. I had to contend with a deep sense of despair for nearly three weeks after the incident. I constantly blamed myself for my lack of preparation and not thinking on my feet at the time of the interview.I replayed the conversation a thousand times in my head before I was so mentally exhausted, I could barely talk to anyone. Did this admission really count for so much in my life? Yes, I had dreamed of being a student here for ages. Yes, it would ensure that my future would, at a bare minimum, move along a pre-determined course. But when out of sheer exhaustion, I quit thinking about what had been lost, I realized there were so many other things to look forward to. A better job, another school, meeting the right people, making new friends, getting accustomed to a new place.
The past year has given me a lot that I am grateful for. I got the opportunity to retrace my steps, make a fresh beginning. Yet, I feel as though I haven’t been as appreciative of my bonus as I should have. Before what I have now taken for granted is snatched away from me, I will change. To learn to make use of the opportunity I have to make a better person of myself, to give joy in small ways to those around me, to thank God for what I have.Everyday. And to also work for what I don’t have and what I wish for.
To never expect or assume means to lead life without a sense of entitlement. What I would like to do is work towards a goal, but try not to assume the best or the worst. I know it seems almost impossible to not consider the impact of my efforts on my future. But I know considering the future never helps. I do my best and then let a higher power decide what the outcome should be. No, I am not a fatalist. But I am going to be a believer.