Growing Up #18: A Storm Wave

There are days, aren’t there, when you feel as if the entire universe is imploding inside of you. They say our bones have composition of the stars, so indeed the universe does exist inside of us. We are all made of stardust. And this very stardust begins to ache from every corner for reasons we cannot yet decipher.

The crippling anxiety of growing up has become like a dance of the expanding universe, it keeps spreading away, stretching with it a part of us. It hurts, as it did when our bones expanded when we were younger. We were at least assured that we are going to be two inches taller soon. But the expansion of life feels rather unsure. What will become of it, what roads do they meet with, what are the realities and realms it will pass through? Nobody knows an answer, and all the answers are vastly different from one another.

Admitting we are unique, one of a kind, comes with the burden of accepting that our roads are bound to be very different. And yet we inch closer towards the crossroads of comparison. Isn’t it injustice? But wait, isn’t that just what we have been doing our whole lives, maybe even deriving some hidden pleasure out of it.

It is much more convoluted than what meets the eye. The heart is so very capable of feeling circumstances our minds will, perhaps, never be able to lay out on the table and segregate piece for piece; jumping from the apogee of a happy day to the nadirs of despair, the stomach turning itself inside out in its imaginary yet painful process. How capable is the heart and mind on their own, disobeying the commands of the master they have been given to.

What can we do then, when hit by a storm wave of thoughts that have no beginning and seem to have no end. They come, unannounced invited by the lyric of a song, the words of someone around, a memory both distant and close, circumstances we couldn’t alter. And they leave dilapidating the house we have so closely guarded our soul in.

This too shall pass, they say. Maybe it will.


A weekly blog on Growing Up – every Saturday because Saturdays are perfect for overthinking. 

Growing Up #17: An Essay That Made Me Think

It’s been a while. It’s been a season of festivities on this side of the world. Festivities has made into one of my best excuses to write less. As a kid I loved festivals, but the older I become, the charm began to fade. Perhaps it’s a memory of its own kind. My resolution to write every Saturday about growing up, because holidays are perfect for overthinking has been toppled. Festivities are even better time to overthink, to react in the secret chambers of your mind. I could not make myself write more.

Each year as the festivities pass, I feel as though it chips away a piece of me. The city stops, and the halt sends a thousand thoughts spiraling down my nerves. I stop from my usual life, peek out into the world and it serves as a stark reminder of – the things I wanted to do but couldn’t, the list of To Dos I gave up on, the things I wished but never had the serendipity of coming across.

Time stops, I stop with it, but my racing heart doesn’t. It runs as though chased by an unseen force into an imaginary chaos I can barely contain. The chaos of insecurity, the chaos of incomprehension, the chaos of desire and description, the chaos of simply being. The chaos I wish I could translate frame for frame into words.

There is some solace in words, and in people who take the excruciating task of opening the doors into their minds through them. Without you, I don’t know how much longer I could have remained in the realm of sanity.

There is some solace in strangers who write and whose words tumble down into your world through the ocean of the internet. Without you, I could not have smiled.

I might have just come across such a work this morning. It’s Never Too Late to Start a Brilliant Career.

All of us know someone, care about someone or love someone who seems stuck in life. The critical thing to remember is that we cannot give up on ourselves or others, even—and especially—if society has made it harder to catch up. Human life spans are lengthening. Most people recently born will live into the 22nd century. The vast majority of us will be better served not by high SAT scores or STEM degrees but by discovering and embracing our true talents. A healthy society needs all of its people to recognize that they can bloom and re-bloom, grow and succeed throughout their lives. – Rich Karlgaard

The Supposed Tos of the world and the age milestones attached with it pours with them a stream of anxiety, bringing in the perhaps forbidden thought, that if we do not have a particular milestone by a predefined time we are undeserving of it, even more never bound to find it. We are not robots, preprogrammed bots to behave in a way that is predefined. We’re humans, with minds, brains, and wonders. And we’re bound to be different, bound to find our music in our own frequencies.

A healthy society needs all of its people to recognize that they can bloom and re-bloom, grow and succeed throughout their lives. This is the last line from Rich Karlgaard’s essay, and perhaps the one that struck a chord with my heart. ‘Throughout their lives” these three words mean even more. We’ll always be growing up.

Growing Up #14: A List of Random Little Things of Joy

Sometimes scared of being alone, other times scared of being surrounded by people; tears dripping out incessantly without any particular reason. One moment feeling like you can fight the world, a while later breaking down while climbing the never ending staircase. Some days of growing up can be terrifying. Since growing up is perpetual, the terrifying days are stretched across the horizon.

It’s strange. What can we possibly do.

A wise friend suggested, do random things and ignore everything else to feel better. So here are my list of random little things of joy.

  1. Pet the pets, brush their hair
  2. Sing or upload a song
  3. Dance random moves
  4. Listen to the rain
  5. Have a conversation
  6. Hot chocolate
  7. Be kind
  8. Arrange the closet
  9. Clean the book rack
  10. Hoover the carpet
  11. Crack a lame joke/listen to a lame joke
  12. Read
  13. Write poetry
  14. Record a poetry
  15. Arrange your desktop
  16. Sleep
  17. Stretch
  18. Write some more poetry
  19. Remember the most incredible thing that happened this year
  20. Smell coffee beans
  21. Practice handwriting
  22. Vision your wildest dream for the upcoming year
  23. Visit a book store
  24. Read Murakami San’s stories and wonder about human nature
  25. Watch an animated movie
  26. Make a list like this
  27. Read science articles on Medium
  28. Send poetry for publication (it might just get accepted!)
  29. Stay silent
  30. Turn off the wifi

Growing Up, a series on Growing Up, every Saturday – because Saturdays are perfect for overthinking. 

#Ideas: Three Ideas to Beat The Awful Feeling from Comparisons

Don’t compare yourself with your friends, isn’t that a utopian statement?’ a friend remarked. I agreed, but added that it was necessary to be content with oneself, and immediately I thought, ‘Look who’s speaking!

Was I content? I couldn’t tell. I can’t. Some days I am, some other days my mind is a mess driving through the exam sheets from grade 2. (I probably don’t even remember it, it must be a constructed memory.)

There’s something more alluring than that packet of chips or plate of pizza. It’s comparisons. I don’t quite remember where was it exactly that I came across the term Obsessive Comparative Disorder on the ocean of the internet. I might have landed on an island whose route I have now forgotten. But the island was an exotic one, and perhaps continues to be more exotic as we deal with comparisons every moment of our lives. Thank you social media. (Well, you might have landed here through a social media link, and I have no words to say about this situation. Thank you for clicking and reading.)

But we can all agree that social media has fueled comparative lifestyle, disorders for some extreme cases. The stories our screen tell are, we know, different from what it seems. We all do. We know it. But just can’t deny, it seems.

Even without social media, the comparative nature doesn’t really go away. We’re bred in such a fashion. Remember report cards from school? Who scored 98%? Who stood first in elocution contest? Competition isn’t all bad, but somehow comparison ruins it all. It’s not I scored 90, see thats how much I knew about and how much I didn’t. But rather, she he they scored 94, 89, 70. It began a long time ago, before the advent of socials, and the unlearning is perhaps going to take an even longer time. Time might not be something we can afford to have, given it’s already about who has a better job, went to a better university, has smarter kids, more caring spouse. It doesn’t stop. It looks like an inevitable part of growing up.

It makes us bitter. The things I failed at make me morose – the ones everyone thought I would excel at. It’s not about giving up, but everyone needs a mental mettle and peace to deal with the little yet pinching things. They say it’s about the pauses in between that makes music sound the way it sounds. Pauses.

I pause and then begin to search for ideas. Here are three ideas I like to go through when I come across the punctured mark sheet of my life. However little or big they may be, they hurt. Ouch!

 

Everyone is equally difficult and awkward to be with. – Alain de Botton 

This line often reminds me that it’s okay, everyone feels such emotions and they too fail. We’re all lacking and wanting. Everyone has holes in them.

Here’s a video by Alain de Botton, telling why we should not go to school reunion!

 

We need to know our strengths in order to know where we belong. – Peter F. Drucker

A planner may find that his beautiful plans fail because he does not follow through on them. Like so many brilliant people, he believes that ideas move mountains. But bulldozers move mountains; ideas show where the bulldozers should go to work. 
– Peter F. Drucker, Managing Yourself 

These are words from the master of management, Drucker himself taken from the article Managing Yourself complied in HBR’s On Managing Yourself. We all have strengths, it helps to learn them. For some it’s in money management, for some in Kindergarten, for others in decorated palette of food.

I am driven to find my strengths ever time I read these words. I am encouraged to try, to take up activities, and to forgive myself for the earlier mishaps.

 

It is what it is, it ain’t what it ain’t. – Anita Fain Taylor

This is one of my favorite videos from the World Championship of Public Speaking by Toastmasters International. Failure is a reality, but it doesn’t tell the full story. It is what it is, it ain’t what it ain’t.

There’s something more alluring than that packet of chips or plate of pizza. It’s comparisons. But we can beat them, both.