It’s that time of the year when the world wishes you a Happy birthday while reminding you of your ageing process. Friends(real and virtual), relatives and your acquaintances send you their love and wishes. Oh, also all the shopping malls, restaurants, pubs, websites and e-commerce portals where you unwittingly wrote your date of birth on their forms send you birthday wishes and discount coupons.
These are meant to unburden you of any cash that you may have left over after treating those “well-wishers” who insist on making you pay for their food and consider it their birth right to make your birthday a not-so-happy-one.
But what amazes me is the fact that in this incarnation, 27 years have gone by and I am still clueless. Clueless about what it is that I really want out of my existence. Clueless whether what I do now is enough for me or I should do more. Clueless about the truth of this universe and whether I’ll ever be able to find it.
But it’s not as if I haven’t tried. In fact I have tried, failed and terribly screwed up a lot of things which have probably eliminated a few options which I would never ever pursue again. Some of these include:
a) Becoming a bicycle racer ( Awesome scratches and bruises after an epic fall while riding a girl’s cycle – age 7)
b) Making money as a gambler ( Lost all stolen money in a local gambling fair – Age 12, moderate Poker victories – Age 24, lost it again – Age 25)
c) Nobel-prize winning physicist [ Heck, any field of science really!] – Too many flunked exams to count
d) Dancer, Gymnast or Athlete (Let’s just say I was one of those guys who would hide behind a detective novel when any of these things were happening around me)
e) Expert Hacker/ Computer Programmer ( Ran away from a Software job – Age 23 , married a software developer – Age 26)
Now the above list is by no means comprehensive. I could probably list down 100 other things at which I suck but I am sure these would get me nowhere.
Mulling Current Inventory
But while failing at the above things, I have also discovered a few unexpected strength areas where people have told me that they would like to have some of these skills!
a) Communication – Writing and Speaking with ease, clarity and impact (Still trying to figure out how to use these most efficiently)
b) Vast knowledge of seemingly disconnected things – Philosophy, Spirituality, Psychology, TV Series, Japanese Manga, Military Strategy, Self-Help, Made-up but believable and ‘sometimes become real’ theories about life and living
Unlike the first list, the above list I’m afraid is all I know about and can do. And looking at it’s generic nature, my own brain labels me a malfunctioning imbecile with phases of sanity.
Doling Out Unsought Advice
The search for my destiny aside, there are a few things about life which I have painfully realized are worth adhering to:
a) Eat Limited Food – It’s not like I have ever been terribly over-weight but everytime I gorge on more food than is necessary, I end up regretting it. And my personal experience confirms that overeating makes you dumber, lazier and sicker much faster. An alert mind and body needs a limited quantity of food. So it’s always wise to remember the adage ‘When Hungry Eat, when tired sleep’
b) Be a Little Detached – This is easier said than done and I am constantly trying to practice this in my life. The truth is, excessive attachment to things like self-image, status in society, money, people and success leads to a lot of misery. I am not preaching monk-hood here but a reality check once in a while about the transient nature of things goes a long way in relieving stress and the everyday pressures all of us end up getting caught in.
c) Read often – I admit that a lot of people have different learnings styles and may not like reading books. But the fact of the matter is reading is one of the easiest way to absorb knowledge and way too many people avoid reading because they get lazy. You don’t have to read in order to show off but just do it to learn more about the things you love, the things you want out of life or just to understand the way things work. Heck, read just to become lost in a fantasy-land of wizards or robots or plotting kings. Reading always leaves you wiser than you were before your started off.
d) Avoid Being Mean/ Help Out When You Can – Karma’s a bitch. And you don’t want to mess with her. While you are trying to find that elusive success and discover your calling, you’ll meet a lot of people on the way. Some of them you can’t avoid. Some of them you’ll wilfully choose to be around. But the remaining ones you have a choice. To be helpful or to be mean. This is where you can make a small difference to the quality of life – both yours and theirs. Because you never know when a good deed will come to your rescue.
e) Do the following when time permits: 1) Meditate 2) Exercise 3) Sing when no one’s around 4) Spend time with kids 5) Teach something to someone 6) Record your thoughts in a diary/ journal
These things unlock that rare emotion – contentment and peace of mind.
You must be wondering, what’s the point of this post? Well, they say sharing your innermost feelings and thoughts through a medium gives you clarity. This is my attempt to make sense of what’s happened so far in my journey, to attempt to discover what I ought to do with my remaining time and share a little of my learnings with you.
A Vain Attempt to Add Value
And because you’ve tolerated my rambling so far, you get to know the following which might amuse you or help you kill time –
a) Recommended Reading: Fiction – American Gods by Neil Gaiman; Non Fiction – Bruce Lee Fighting Spirit by Bruce Thomas
b) Recommended Blog: zenhabits.net
c) Recommended Life-Tip: Sleep more (I don’t mean this for those of you who sleep 12 hours a day!)
So that’s it folks. In a few moments I turn 27 (since my chart says I was born on 11:14 pm.!) and just like that the sun will rise in the east like it always does and your day will have its ups and downs and moments of boredom where you will read posts such as these in the vain hope that you will suddenly discover the meaning of life.