Dreaming

Have you ever thought about achieving something, fantasised yourself in a happy, successful place, just secretly envisioned yourself getting all that you wanted, but then something in your head tells you that this is all way too difficult, you are not that lucky or talented, it is too good to come true, and your dial all your expectations down a notch, think of something achievable, realistic, and limit yourself to that?

I have always been like this. Telling myself that I don’t want to give myself false hopes, so I will always think of a believable scenario, believable enough for my own self, and I will work towards it. That way, I wouldn’t have to face the downfall of not achieving that ultimate goal that was secretly brewing in my heart. And this has always happened, as a kid, teenager, adult. With this fail safe approach, with limited vision, I never really failed, because I never really let myself start something difficult to begin with.

But did this make me happy? Make me sad? No none of it. I never experienced that true longing that drives people to do the impossible, and neither did I experience the ecstasy of meeting your goals after so many efforts and hardwork. But I am beginning to think that I need to change my outlook.

I bought a book recently, called Manifest. I have just read the first chapter of that book, but it was enough to tell me how my approach in life had a problem from the word go. If I am never gonna dream, never let myself fully embrace what I want in life, who I want to become, how am I ever going to achieve it? Let alone the achievement, how am I ever going to be myself truly if I do not speak my truth completely, even to myself? Not doing this is just going to make me wallow in my sadness, make me irritable, while not even knowing why.

β€œThere is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask "What if I fall?"
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?”

Source

So here’s hoping that we all let our hearts open and dare to dream, without worrying about falling or flying.

Learning.

Learning never stops, never goes out of fashion, no matter how old you are. We learn from our success and failure, we learn good and bad things, we learn explicitly or implicitly, but we are always learning something.

I often make elaborate plans when I want to gain a new skill. Sometimes there is an entire vision board, stating that I am supposed to reach a certain level in X days, sometimes it is as small as learning all the steps in a dance video. There are always different ranges of goals and problems, but one step has always remained the same, my impatience, and it always goes one of the two ways.

I either get too excited about the long journey ahead, make plans, have sleepless nights imagining my amazing life where I have nailed this skill, have few initial days filled with consistency and hardwork. And then eventually, the excitement passes, and comes a lull in my efforts. I stop putting in that hardwork one day, two day, and it changes into weeks and months, and I forget I even had that certain goal that I wanted to accomplish.

And if not this excitement, I just get overwhelmed by all the pressure and the plethora of work in front of me, and I just give up from the beginning. I accept defeat without even trying. Sometimes I am just too scared to jump into that unknown, scared that I will not be able to learn this new task.

And I always thought this was it, this is how I learn. I plan and plan and then stop out of fear or bored after too much excitement. But I realised that it cannot be all. I have definitely grown as a person, and must have definitely learnt something. So I looked back. And I realised that most of my learning has happened when I was just thrown into a situation headfirst, and I had no option but to swim, and thus, I ended up learning things.

I had given driving many chances but I used to be scared to drive a car. And I eventually stopped trying, I was fine with a two wheeler. But then one day, after a lot of push and motivation, I bought a car. And since I bought it, I had to use it otherwise it was lakhs of money thrown down the drain. So I started taking baby steps, making multiple mistakes, embarrassing myself, but eventually I was there. The only difference is, I never had a chance to plan out my learning journey, so never bucketised it into “too excited” or “too overwhelmed”. I just went ahead and did it. And today I look back at the last two years, and I have no idea when I learnt how to drive, when exactly I fought my fears, I just did at some point. Same thing about how I used to feel about how I was at my job. I was too under-confident, over-analyzing everything I used to do, and suddenly I am in a state where I am comfortable with what I do, what I know.

So, what is the moral of this entire lecture Aishwarya? You have been rambling on for a long time, but get to the point. Well, the point is, it is not easy. It will get boring and overwhelming and scary, and I know we always remember the times when we gave up, and so we believe that we can never get certain things done. But I want us to remember all the times when we did not give up, when we succeeded, and marvel at our capability, and always keep in mind that it is all possible ! πŸ™‚

Just a little more :)

Just try a little, try a little more and you will succeed. I have heard this so many times in life and have always felt that it is very easy to say these things and very difficult to actually implement.
Just push yourself a little. But isn’t that what I am doing (apparently), yet failing? Or maybe I am just lazy and this is how I will be. I am happy in my place and don’t want to change.
But last year I decided to change, though very slowly, but just a little change every once a while. This last year has been an year of pushing myself. Pushing myself in so many ways that I had never imagined I could.

I have pushed myself to participate in plans.
I don’t like to go out a lot. Plans scare me. Be it for a simple coffee or a weekend getaway. The planning that is involved scares me, the feeling of being surrounded by so many people for such a long time scares me. More than getting excited about doing something fun, most of the time I am stressing about how it will turn out to be, or cursing myself for agreeing in the first place. I am not going to lie, but there have been times when I have celebrated a little in my head when certain plans got cancelled just because I did not have the energy to be a part of them. But this year I learnt to say yes to plans, even if I did not want to go at all. And turned up for almost all of them (there were few times when the lazy person took over). And mostly, as it turns out, it is so much better than sitting at home πŸ™‚

I have pushed myself to read a little more.
Reading random mystery novels was once the only escape I had when there was a lot of pressure of competitive exams, with no phone, no friends to help me pass the time. I used to spend hours reading Agatha Christie, re-reading Harry Potter and not studying. With the entry of phone, friends and work in life, I stopped reading altogether. Maybe 2-3 novels in one year. But this last year I really tried to read a lot! I almost completed my 20 book reading challenge on Goodreads as well (with only 100 pages left to complete the challenge, but I am still proud of myself).

I have pushed myself to make up my bed everyday.
I never used to understand why my mom used to scold me everyday to make up my bed, fold the sheet/blanket. I never did it when I started to live away from home. Everyday in the last 6 years that I have stayed away from home, I used to come back to an unmade bed. Life was messy and my room was messier. But then one day I decided to fold that blanket neatly on the foot of the bed and the joy of seeing that beautiful bed at the end of a bad day was amazing. Henceforth I pushed myself to make up my bed every morning, no matter how late I am getting for office. And now I just cannot stand the sight of an unmade bed πŸ˜€

I have pushed myself to cook.
Sounds funny, and it will sound silly as well when I will mention that I might have done it only 2-3 times this last year. But this was big for me. I hate cooking (or so I think). Even if there are guests in my own house, I will look more like a guest when it comes to preparing meals. But there were a few instances when I forced myself to cook. It mainly started with a promise to make paneer for a friend who was leaving the city and a two hour long phone call with my mom, but it was worth it. After that I have cooked twice or thrice for myself, same paneer dish, not always better than before, but it felt amazing to me. I now have this confidence that if the time comes when all the food ordering apps close down, I will not die of hunger.

I have pushed myself to workout.
Yeah the same old workout story. I am not looking for a fit body. I eat a lot of junk food! But somehow these days there is an unsaid bad feeling if you are not working out. Because given our 9-5 sitting jobs, and then the binge watching sessions in the remaining time, sometimes it is necessary to take out some time to stay healthy, to stay alive. And I was told by a friend recently how working out takes away all the negative emotions of the day. That was a real motivator. And I started to workout. I am not regular. Never have been. But atleast these irregular sessions are consistent. Atleast I have started to not totally give up if I skip workout for a week. I go back again, and yes I have seen how on some days my emotions have changed drastically over a workout session.

I have pushed myself to stay motivated when I think that everything is going bad. And I cannot even begin to explain how much it has helped me in keeping my sanity. I was this person who used to get worried about things a lot. I still do! I don’t think that will go away easily. But I have learnt to let go of things a little. I have learnt how to stop worrying about the consequences of every word that I say because in reality most of the people don’t care. And those who care, either you will make sure they are not hurt or they will know not to base your entire relationship on those few words. And those days when everything seems to be going awry, I have learnt how to convince myself that things will come right back on track. And even if they don’t, I know I will learn to live happily with that off track phase of life.

Going somewhere?

Going somewhere? Out of breath? Life, never stopping to take a breath, or let us take a breath. No time to calm down. You have to keep moving if you want to make it big. If you are doing something, it makes you angry, you want to stop, but not doing anything makes you even angrier and you surround yourself with work and responsibilities that are sometimes way out of your league. But you stay adamant, you want to prove your worth. Because if you don’t, then you would be looked down upon, or so you think. You keep slogging, every day, work to home, home to work. But are you trying to get somewhere? You have no idea where to go. You are just moving, just like everyone around you is moving. You want a big shiny car, a brand new apartment, but too afraid to take the big leap, aren’t you? You want to move to a better country, and still not sure what for. You want to go to that dream destination that everyone keeps talking about, but you actually wish to go to the confines of your hometown. Because trips are more stressful than stress relieving. But maybe that is because we want to visit every single place lest we miss out on something good. You go to the gym, not for staying healthy but just to get a better body. But this pressure of getting a better body is making you eat more and worse, isn’t it? You want to read that book on your nightstand, but cannot keep the laptop down. One more episode, and eventually you fall asleep. The book still left untouched, getting dustier. Sleeping late, waking up later. Cancelling plans because going out takes too much of you. Then cribbing that life is boring and monotonous. You don’t want to drink or smoke every other day, but the loneliness of the home seems worse than the hangover and the derailing body. And you cannot stop. FOMO. Your biggest enemy. Stressing over something that hasn’t even happened but you are afraid you will miss it. Spoiling something fun you were already a part of in the process. You complain that everyone else is happy. And one fine day you wake up and are mature enough to realize no one actually is. And this weird unhappy world gives you a little bit of contentment and motivation. You start learning how to live happily with this unhappiness and lack of purpose in life. You learn to live in the moment because you realize most of the parties are blurry and the same anyway. Learning how to keep promises, and not cancelling at the last moment, because people are better at listening than the walls. You start sleeping on time, even if not waking up yet. The more the sleep, the merrier the day is. You take out time to read, even 10 pages would do. You learn how to workout and eat, because atleast the scale still shows the same number. And the workouts are pretty fun. Taking the trips slow, enjoying rather than hurrying. Still not sure what to do with your life, still over-burdened at work. But life seems better, atleast you are happier. Calmer. You learn how to leave office in office, unwind and sleep.
Life might be getting to you right now, but you will get there, bit by bit πŸ™‚