Sitting around and musing over what to write next has been tremendously stressful. To add to that load, there has been such great writing all around me that I'm happy taking the back seat. Then again, what is life but a happy back seat, right? WordPress has been featuring some really great writing these past few weeks. Since grandma passed, I simply couldn't get myself to write. It felt as though I'd corrupt these blank pages with unwanted banter. But write I must. So until death do us part, here goes:
This is my first post for the brand new year. I drafted several versions, but nothing felt right. I sat down one day and wanted to take stock of all the things that happened in the year that passed. There was a mother load of tremendously good and bad memories to jot down. For me, one word would best describe the year that passed—cathartic.
I’m focusing the lens (Cynthia, I think of you here) 🙂 away from me and giving credit to the million little things that made my year. When I say “made” I also mean things that broke me. It is when you break that you get up, dust off and take life for what it truly is because “I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”
I titled this post “If” for many reasons—my love for Frost, for the many if’s last year, and for the many answers that I found and did not find. Inspired from here: http://alwaystayliejay.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/the-ghost-of-almost/ I’m asking and telling you, the reader, of what got me to 2013.
If it is a question to which I have found no answer, then maybe you can answer it for me. If it is an answer that I discovered, then tell me what you think. IF you found nothing, then you have my love and good luck because you see, we in some strange way are connected. Otherwise you would not stop to read ME.
What if I never worked and stayed home with my son and tried being the perfect mother and wife. After a long and tiresome battle with myself, I found the answer to that question. It took me a whole year to understand that I am no good to anyone if I do not do what I truly want to do. I cannot stifle my individuality . I am, then someone I do not recognize or do not want to be. “Man has no individual i. But there are, instead, hundreds and thousands of separate small “i”s, very often entirely unknown to one another, never coming into contact, or, on the contrary, hostile to each other, mutually exclusive and incompatible. Each minute, each moment, man is saying or thinking, “i”. And each time his i is different. just now it was a thought, now it is a desire, now a sensation, now another thought, and so on, endlessly. Man is a plurality. Man’s name is legion.” This year, I celebrate me.
If God were absent from my life, would I be the same person? What started as naive idol worship moved towards so much more. When I was younger, God meant a person on the cross, bleeding. I was sad that God had to give up so much for us. When I got to college, I questioned his very existence. Then I moved away from him because I thought he was a figment of our imagination. My idea of God has evolved over time. I read over and over about—Christianity, Hinduism, the Kabbalah, the Upanishads, a little of the Quran, and practised yoga. After all this time, last year, I began holding the tail end of the answer. It will take me a lifetime to get to the beginning, but I know if I keep at it, I will find my answer in God because “God has no religion.”
If I were to choose between good times and bad and for better or worse, which one would it be? Last year helped me understand that commitment is not about choices. It is not about meeting someone halfway. Commitment is not for the fainthearted. What we say to each other, be it in a marriage vow, signing a contract, making a promise to a child, has to be followed through . At the end of the day, a person is as good as his or her word. “Seems to me that there is a fine line between insanity and dedication…I call that line commitment.” I am as good as my word.
If I did not lose myself in what I was doing, would that be alright? I tried my hand at a hundred different things and I mean that literally. I tried soap-making, candle-making, revisited pottery, started writing a book, began seriously gardening to raise organic food, sewing, painting, carpentry and the list is endless…truly. I was happy trying all of these things, but somehow I did not feel content. Then I began teaching students from kindergarten all the way to college. I taught for the love of it. I lost myself in it. This gave me joy like nothing else. Yes. I can tell you that it is quintessential that you lose yourself to someone or something because “once you lose yourself, you have two choices: find the person you used to be, or lose that person completely.”
If I slept a little less and ate a little less, would life be any different? “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” I’ve tried and tried to make that adage to work “I eat to live,” but figured that I can’t, try as much as I want to. I found my answer to this as well. I felt tired and burned out constantly. It took some serious reflection to understand what was going. One must indulge in food and sleep. If nothing, you’ll age a lot more slowly.
If Facebook ceased to exist, would I lose my mind? The answer was rather interesting. I’ll let mine be, but I’d love to know yours.
I will always remember this man. He was a complete stranger who made my day. When no one was willing to go, he offered to chauffeur me with a smile on his face. He did not speak to me all along, but when I got off and handed him the money he fished out a few hundred rupee notes and said he did not have any change. While I sat there wondering what to do, he jumped off the auto, ran across the street and got me my change. I realized when he got off that he was disabled. Would I have always perceived auto drivers the same way if he had not gone out of his way to split a hundred for me? I found my answer. “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”
If I did not pursue what I truly wanted, would I stay the same? It was a resounding no over and over again. I have and I always will pursue what I want. “The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.”
I could go on endlessly about the hundred different “Ifs,” but for today, I’m content knowing that the coming year will demand a little less of the old me and push me towards finding a new me. I will embrace all that is to come my way.
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
― Dr. Seuss