My day at work starts around 9 with the mundane morning lifestyle of me sipping on my cup of coffee, skimming through my emails marking the ones I need to come back to and simultaneously reading the headlines for the day. Seldom do I see an email that I call a ‘coffee-stopper’ (picture me with a frozen look at my PC and my coffee mug half way between my mouth and the desk) – that’s when the email is either telling me that I am in trouble OR that there’s something that I’ve been missing out on. A few days ago I had a coffee-stopper email moment. It was a short message from my dad and this is what he wrote;
“Hello bayta… Arrived in office 30 minutes ago..didn’t have any new email so I started cleaning the garbage ones I had in ‘My Folder’ .. and I noticed a folder named ‘Nazan’s Blogs’.. I used to check your blog almost every alternate day to read any new entries..and I feel bad that now I am not doing that anymore because you’ve stopped writing..some of my colleagues also enjoyed reading your articles and since long they haven’t asked me about any new write up from your side.. I wish I could read more write ups from you as I used to find a lot thoughts and inspiration in them for me as well.. May God always bless you with all happiness of life..Ameen.. Abbu”
The remaining coffee in my mug….well it never went down my throat.
I then started picturing myself standing at the seashore watching the crisp ocean smashing roughly against the shoreline with rapid, salty waves that seem to dance in a world of their own. But nothing stays the same forever right? Even the waves take some time-off and just roll back and forth in a steady yet pummel tone.
The haphazardness of uncertainty in my life finally broke out a few months ago when I met someone who I now refer to as ‘my other half’. Time moves in unpredictable rhythms and it fools you with every single breath – filling your life with unexpected yet pleasant surprises. The only requirement is that you stand still, steady, toes frozen and rooted into the sand with your eyes focused on the endless horizon as if you’re waiting for something to pop out of that thin line at the end.
‘Hope’ is what keeps us going right? Trust me, no matter how fancy that sounds, those last few lines are way too easy said than done.
A person is bound to swing back and forth – either because of the wind or the waves – while he/she is trying to focus on what lies ahead – it happens.
Over the last 6-7 months quite a few things took an impromptu departure from my life – a few valued people (some physically and others just silently ceased to exist), the chunk of free time that I had for myself, my ‘no strings attached’ lifestyle, my free weekends, my preparations to go to one of the best universities for my Masters – quite a bit departed conveniently. At the moment – it’s like nothing of all that I had in mind is happening! But before you jump to a judgmental conclusion here’s the most important bit –
‘Change; we don’t like it, we fear it, but we can’t stop it from coming. We either adapt to change or we get left behind. And it hurts to grow; anybody who tells you that it doesn’t is lying. But here’s the truth.. the more things change, the more they stay the same. And sometimes, oh, sometimes change is good. Oh, sometimes, change is…..everything.’
A voice in my head nags at me saying that not everyone is as mad as you are. They don’t live at the edge of a huge city and then decide to juggle between work, family, weekend MBA and an upcoming relationship. Not everybody is spending 24×7 (almost literally) either working, studying, attending family/relationships or thinking about one of those things!
So basically, everything is happening at a time which is only adding onto the very rapid evaporation of you know….having a life. Hence, needless to say, the past few months have been more than just what they call a ‘roller coaster ride’- Mine has been full of a BIG number of small things all pretty much in my face and there is only so much of it all that I can manage to hold onto before I crash into anxiety every now and then. I’ll be honest here, I’ve thought about everything – right from taking sleeping pills (ONLY to relax – I’m basically a happy person and life’s good!) to becoming a complete quitter. There were times when I repeatedly kept telling everyone, including myself, that all I want / need / demand & crave for… is a break.
But for now, after a lot that has been said, done, screamed about, cried about and at times cynically joked about I’ve decided to stick to a few conclusions;
- Life is all about changes and sometimes, change is the better option.
- It’s not easy to keep your foot rooted in the sand and not face slight swings every now and then that are caused either because of the wind or the waves.. it’s okay to wobble a bit every now and then – it’s okay to make mistakes – it’s okay to lose confidence sometimes – it’s okay to fear change and break into anxiety attacks – it’s all part of growing up and it’s all okay.
- All of what is okay up there, however, is NOT okay if you can’t stand back straight after wobbling a bit. It’s okay to have a few hesitating footsteps but its imperative to keep your eyes locked on where you are headed. If you start staring at your confused footsteps, chances are that by the time you look back up to where you were headed, you’ll be lost. So it’s NOT okay to look down at yourself when you know you’re not standing rock solid. It’s okay to make mistakes – like they say every Saint has a past and every Sinner a future – but it’s more important to learn to forgive. And the one thing that I have learnt with time and experience is that forgiving is one hell of a job. It’s not just saying ‘it’s alright’ to an apology – it’s about actually cleaning the board. And before you can forgive anyone else you need to learn and to practice forgiving yourself. That’s one thing I’ve always done wrong. I don’t go easy on myself. Guilt is a disease. And it can be fatal because the only organ that it affects is your brain. To be able to free yourself of guilt and to go easy on yourself requires a lot of self counseling – tell yourself its okay – what’s been done and said can’t be reversed or rewritten so shake it off, pull yourself together and stand.
- Never lose your identity. This is one of the reasons why I couldn’t drink the rest of my coffee that morning. My dad’s email did not have something that I was not already thinking of. I was missing the blog-world. I was missing writing as often as I used to. My dad’s email was like a kick in the back telling me ‘what the hell are you waiting for?? Give me something to read!’ Writing was always a part of me. I always referred to it as my escape – as ‘my time’. And it felt great. A few weeks ago I was talking to a close friend and I was whining about the insanely exciting yet annoying lifestyle I was living. I told her that life seems complete now but I still feel like something’s missing. She smiled back at me and said, ‘Mehar, only YOU are missing in your life. Do something productive, go back to doing things you like, sing and listen to songs you like, go back to feeling proud of yourself, go back to being all crazy and carefree and live it up when you can. You never know what tomorrow might be like.’ I probably didn’t accept it at that time but she was right. I have everything right now and life is beautiful but it can be much more amazing and satisfactory only if I start to include myself in it.
- The only and I mean it ONLY way to stay happy is to respect and be thankful for what you have in life. Period. Seriously, there is no explanation to that – every time you have a complain try as hard as you can and show some gratitude and you will realize how blessed you are. It’s helping me feel a bit better.
- Never, NEVER forget God. My elder sister tells me never to confess to anyone things that are between me and God and I usually don’t, but this post is more of a self-check and not just another blog entry for me. God has always been very kind to me; if I asked for something He always blessed me with something better (alhumdullilah) and I think that lately, I’ve been disappointing Him. See everything that I spoke about so far somehow goes down to ‘dealing with change’ but in the middle of everything that’s changing the only constant – the one certain resort – the one ultimate comfort is Him. And if you want ideal results, you’ve got to have a constant. After all, certain practices should only change if they are improving.
- Venting out. Another thing I totally fail at is channeling all the negativity out of my system. It’s important otherwise your brain will explode. One must channel out all the negative energy as a matter of routine. I don’t do that, which is why it takes me almost no time to get all worked up and stressed out. In all the reading that I have done, the best way to vent out is to exercise (walk, jog, run etc.) but you can calm your nerves down via other activities also. Do stuff you enjoy. Give yourself some exclusive time. Take a sun bath, read a book, lock your room and dance in front of the mirror – do anything! You don’t even have to tell anyone about it. Just give yourself an hour and have fun. Like yourself, like your life and at the end be grateful for who you are.
I don’t really remember what I had in mind when I started writing out this blog entry, but I feel slightly better after flushing my brain out a bit. I’m glad that I could break the ice and resume to something that partly defines who I am. I hope and pray that this year becomes all about what I hope, dream and pray for. And I hope I can begin to cherish these days with everyone who I love a lot also keeping intact someone who I know best – someone who I call me.
May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you are wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art – write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself. – Neil Gaiman