Reflecting back on the week gone by since Saturdays are perfect for overthinking, and capturing some of it into words. Growing Up, a series, about the growing pains and confusions of growing up. (Too many growing, I get it!). Every Saturday.
I said I’d be writing every Saturday about growing up – the growing pains, the dumb decisions, the indecisiveness, maybe half of the parties, and a quarter of the youth. But here I go breaking the chain, right in the fourth week. And I have a superb reason: sometimes an entire Saturday is not enough for overthinking, and it spills on to the Sunday and even Monday. So here it is on a Monday.
Last Saturday I was having a heartfelt conversation with a friend about growing up (half of my conversations are about it these days), where she shared a brilliant snippet of growing up by default or by design. I was intrigued. Some of us it seem live by default, do things by default. We concluded that necessarily isn’t wrong. It’s worked out well for some. And then there are some other who live by design, and this doesn’t necessarily make them superior either.
In the words of Adam Grant (someone I have harbored the secret dream of meeting in person):
Don’t ask which is better Stanford or Harvard? Ask where you fit better.
The idea of living life by default, where we live the narrative arc as suggested by the world – education, marriage, work, and the idea of living life by design where we create our own path, neither is better. Borrowing from Adam Grant’s idea, it is where do we, where do I, fit better.
But I have a further question: how do I know which one is for me? Well, I guess I’ll just have to follow the stars for now. Here’s what Nicola Yoon has to say about stars, from The Sun Is Also A Star:
I remind myself that stars are more than just poetic. If you need to, you can navigate your way by them
Till next week!
Growing Up, a short snippet series every Saturday, because Saturdays are perfect for overthinking, maybe Sundays too and Mondays as well.
Oh I love happy endings. Who doesn’t? They are nice and sweet, leave you with the fuzzy warm feeling inside. They make you oh-so-hopeful. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it. But its representation as the final and fatal is likely to be less than sweet at times.
The one thing straight forwardly wrong with the happy ending representation is how it overshadows the entire process, the journey. In an on going universe nothing truly is final. It’s a journey.
Happy ending is an outcome, of actions we take. But how often do actions know where they are headed to?
This representation of happy endings as the all-end-goals have us seeking for resolutions in the most desperate of situation, and we’d get sad when the ending isn’t pretty neat before the credits roll. Of course we’d be sad, we have projected a piece of ourselves into the character on screen, or on the page. Loose ends pinch us, because we have a lot of loose ends all over ourselves.
Over focused happy endings take the charm away from the entire process, tying our actions to an ultimate outcome which is supposed to be ‘happy’ and an ‘end’. But think of a time when you couldn’t take the next step itself. How would you imagine the end, no matter how happy? You’re in between moments, soaking in time. Maybe there’s no need to tie the ends sometimes, maybe they cannot be tied at times.
We’re here in between, in the middle of a nasty process of trying, failing, learning, leaving, moving, grieving, overcoming; in between transitions waiting to take the next step. Maybe we already have, maybe we haven’t. It isn’t in the end.