There’s a lot to be said for people who perfectly manage their busy, full, hectic lives, straddling work, family, a social life with equal aplomb. Then there are some who do all that and still make time for the simpler, individualistic pleasures like reading, indulging hobbies and such like, with equal panache. I always want to doff my hat in admiration whenever I meet or see folks like that – people who seem to have every single ball up in the air, at any given point, yet manage to perfectly juggle them, with a smile plastered across their perfectly preened faces, and not a strand of hair out of place.
tried somehow found myself in the midst of a life like that. And I managed for towed the line for a good long while, at the end of which I realised I had failed was exhausted. For several weeks now this irrevocable truth was gnawing at me, nibbling bits of me, inside-out. Every time it threatened to reach the surface, I’d physically move it to another spot, so it would start chewing again. The immense burden of what I thought was wasted time, of sacrifices that I felt were perhaps in vain, of compromises that I convinced myself hadn’t paid off, weighed down on me like the heaviest rocks from the darkest spot at the bottom of a sludgy black river that moves ever so slowly. For weeks, I found comfort in beating myself up over whether it was worth it or not, looking intensely to find what possibly caused my severe exhaustion, over-analyzing the personality problems that always land me in similar situations and until I reached the inevitable What could I have done differently?
Which is when I realised the answer that was staring me in the face all along was, absolutely nothing. Because there was absolutely no way to know then, what I know now, or how it was all going to pan out. I was made to realise that there is no failure. Only lessons.
Suddenly, I am right back to where I once was. The world is my oyster, again. And being here is not as frightening as I anticipated it would be. And VC’s words ring true again, The fact is that you won’t ever be back right where you started, because no matter what, you’re better today than you were a year ago.
As I sent out the last few emails and cleaned out my virtual slate, wiping down the long list of to-dos, assignments, deadlines, I realised it has been so long since I’ve been at a loose end, of my own doing, that I have forgotten how immensely liberating it can actually be. I feel lighter, un-burdened. Yet stronger. Almost physically. If last year was all about that proverbial cup filled to the brim, that was in fact running over, it’s about time I empty that cup completely.
It takes me back to that old Zen story we were told. How can I show you Zen, unless you first empty your cup?
I started my 32nd year with a promise, that it was okay to be happy with a calm life. And yet soon after that, I somehow forgot all about it and got completely consumed in the landslide. Yes, it felt good in the moment, in the long run even. But I eventually grew tired of it. And it left me with a big hole in the space of my heart that is usually bursting with joy at everything I have done. So when I let go at the end of the year, partly by choice and partly because it was getting physically impossible to keep going, I knew it was time to empty that cup. To make space for new work, new goals, new skills, new horizons.
Today a good day to remind myself of the peaceful thoughts I began my 32nd year with. It’s a good day to give myself permission once again, to allow myself to slip back into the calm life that I know suits me best. To regain some of that harmony and balance. And to have some fun while I’m at it. To know that a full cup was fabulous, but it’s time to empty it. Essential, even. In order to make space for the new. To remind myself that saying yes to everyone and everything that came my way was good, it was great, in fact. But it’s also safe to say yes to myself again.