Lately I have wondered if I have gotten too serious for my own good. Somebody asked me what I do in my spare time, expecting some hobbies to be recited in return, and I answered, “I contemplate on my life”. Lol.
I personally think I am a ridiculous joke many a time, because I look at the mirror and wonder which part of me has it in her to have big dreams? I am my hardest critic, self-doubt is a familiar visitor when I sleep at night.
I treat people with the same seriousness and honesty, new people included, and I have wondered if I should tone myself down a little. I just want to be authentic, that authenticity includes being the raw, vulnerable, emotional self that I am, but most people are not used to it.
When things get tough, I retreat. I retreat to a little corner and read. It has been a predictable pattern so far, I seek most comfort and inspiration in the books telling stories of politicians – Lincoln, Aung San Suu Kyi, Nelson Mandela, the Obamas. They all have something in common, they made incredible tradeoffs and personal sacrifices, sometimes questionable decisions, to work towards a cause they believe in.
When I think of the tradeoffs I have made, they seem to amount to nothing. I think of the possible tradeoffs I have to make, and I wonder if I have it in me to make them?
I too, want to work towards a world I want to live in. I do not have much clarity how, at least not yet. But the desire has been bubbling in me for the longest time and when things get tough, it is what that keeps me going. That setbacks do not matter as long as I keep my dream alive. I try to think of the small ways I can contribute, but I do not stop thinking of how I can eventually be in a position to do so on a maximized scale.
I am 32 this year, there are plenty of times I do feel age catching up on me. I question myself, if I already feel slower and older now, what do I really have in me that will allow me to endure the marathon ahead? I start to mentally list people who only found their way in their 40s and I start to feel more encouraged.
I give myself a timeline of 20 years, starting now. In two decades time, assuming I am still alive, I will be 52. It is an age whereby there is still a high possibility of being mobile and still having some best years ahead. It is a realistic timeline – I have covered so much distance in the past two years, who would know what are the possibilities in store for me if I multiply that 10 times?
Only if I keep myself on my toes all the time.
I stumble and I fall. Rinse and repeat. It is not how many times I stumble but how many times I want to pick myself up. At the end of each cycle, do I give up, or do I try again? I choose to try again, despite not even having the basic belief in myself sometimes. I should at least try.
Perhaps people find it difficult to understand why I have to contemplate so much on my life, why do I have to be so serious? I find it hard to explain to most people, I really do not see the incentive in living otherwise. Having an ordinary life does not interest me. Having an extraordinary life does not interest me too. But having an extraordinary effort despite being ordinary vastly drives me on.
I consider myself to be broken, in some ways I have been damaged, just like anybody else. In societal standards there is really nothing extraordinary about me. I could list plenty of points in my life when things simply went wrong and should have gone wrong. I should have rightfully been a blip in the universe.
But still I managed to carve out an extraordinary story for myself. And it makes me wonder, what if more ordinary people out there, with no seemingly natural advantages in this world, have the courage to live more extraordinarily?