Finding Peace

One of the greatest question, stretched across humanity. Something that we want to find for ourselves and for the world as well, something that we think will bring utmost happiness to us. There have been numerable books that talk about how you can achieve it, or can come closest to achieving it. I haven’t really read any such books because I am afraid that I am too messed up to find something meaningful out of them, and too lazy to make efforts and bring considerable changes in my lifestyle. But that does not mean that I have given up on this search for finding peace.

The meaning of peace for me changes often, because mostly it is related to giving a rest to what has been bothering me. Resolving things with a friend, having a good cry after long, letting out my feelings in front of someone, replying to that one text that I have been afraid to open since the morning, addressing the small and big issues that I didn’t want to, sometimes these small wins make up my day and result in a good night’s sleep.

If there aren’t these small wins in my daily life, sometimes (rarely but there are days) when my office life saves me. Even if I don’t like my work on many days, that one day when I do some good work, solve some bug, make that code work, learn something which changes my perspective, even if that something is small enough for the rest of the world, that day I feel utterly happy and at peace with myself. And sometimes, the joy of closing 10-20 tabs are enough for some peace of mind.

Sometimes there are days when nothing happens on its own, neither small nor big, that can make me feel good about myself and I need to put in some effort. I need to try something new, be it some dish or some yoga asana. If not something new, I have to fallback to following a routine because all the checked items give a satisfaction at the end of the day. Sometimes doing a small thing differently is great as well, like sitting on the balcony floor for a cup of tea or doing nothing and listening to good music (and not simply as a background noise while working).

Though on most days, I don’t find peace in anything. I struggle. I roam around, unable to enjoy anything. Unable to grasp any word of the book I am reading, watching episode after episode just to get lost, sometimes not liking even my favourite dish and simply swallowing it, having conversations that I forget within the next 5 minutes.

But when there are these rare peaceful days, I feel really thankful and enlightened, that the answer had been here all along. I am reminded of how sometimes some effort is needed to make your own day. For days when nothing great happens, it is important to have those small easy tasks that you can quickly finish off, it is important to do something nice for yourself, it is important to take a break, it is important to unwind in whatever way suits you and understand yourself better.
I know I’ll go back to my normal lost self tomorrow, but it feels good to say it out loud and be aware of the answer, that if I want to find that peace, even though temporarily, I don’t have to do a full fledged soul searching, cleaning my room might also work for me today 🙂

Just an average?

As a kid, her parents wanted her to excel in everything (just like all brown parents!). They were so proud of their little daughter and never stopped her from taking part in things but she was just average, average at everything, amazing at nothing! She felt pressurized but she tried to handle it and gave it her best shot.
So she took part in everything. She danced in annual functions with other kids, and sometimes at home on the most random and ridiculous Bollywood songs. She sang in the school choir with her classmates. She drew in her art notebook and in the school art class with all her concentration and effort. She wrote diary entries that soon turned into rants, poems and sometimes letters to friends who had changed schools. She read books, the famous cliched books. She took part in some bare minimum sports. But just an average in all of them. Present everywhere, but not known to be there by any, not a necessary part of anything. Jack of all trades, master of none.

For the longest time, she was an average in studies as well but at one point of time, she left all her other interests at bay and focused all her energy into studies to emerge as much better than she was at other things. This rush of confidence made her put more energy in this direction, leaving everything behind and she was able to make a mark for herself in a little better than average place in the world, with a little better than average college, a little better than average job! Nothing was THE BEST even now, but she had learnt that she was good at this and she’ll work it out.

Learning from her past that the only thing she was best at was studies, she thought that she can do her job really well. She tried but sometimes it was mentally exhausting, sometimes she felt that she was not good enough, sometimes she could not make time to do things properly or study things to do her job, sometimes she just wanted to enjoy the new phase of life and have fun, spend that hard earned money (maybe not so hard; go ahead, make the “that’s what she said joke”!). So with a lot of new confidence came the sense of dread and downfall that maybe she did not know enough, maybe she was just an average after all, no matter what she thought or did.

She tried to pursue the long lost interests of childhood. Write something, draw or paint a little, dance for herself and not just in the pub, read better books! But everywhere she looked, she was still an average at these things, in fact more average than she used to be as a kid and that was really demotivating.

But then came a realization, that what if she is an average? If everyone is going to be best at everything, naturally that “best” would be an average only (statistically speaking). So basically more often that not, someone or the other is going to make her feel like she sucks at what she does. Does that mean she should stop doing it? Should she stop doing her job if she is not the best developer out there? Maybe her company is not running solely on her contribution and maybe if she drops dead two days later, the company will not get affected. Maybe nobody reads what she writes, maybe people make fun of the stupid pictures of what she draws, maybe her dance covers lack that grace or jazz. Obviously people are much much better at it. So should she stop pursuing these interests because she is not good enough? Is that how it’s gonna end for her? Wondering in life, what is she good at and doing nothing at all while waiting?

So here I am, an average person, giving it a shot. Reading more books and writing my feelings and review on them; singing, sometimes, for those who would dare to listen; painting and pasting them on my wardrobe; learning dance covers (and promising a lot of friends that we will make a video someday, hopefully that day would come in this lifetime); learning a new language and trying to decode lyrics; working out more than I have ever done in my lifetime with a hope that someday I will nail that Chakrasana (I am still a beginner to even talk about headstands); cooking and discovering that I am not as bad as I used to think and I can differentiate between masalas; doing my job and giving my 100% but also accepting that I cannot be everywhere all the time and it is ok to not have all the answers because frankly nobody does!

I wish I could fly …

Being someone who is constantly worried about every little inconvenience in life, I find flights very soul stirring. And it’s not because I am traveling to some holiday destination or going home, it’s because of a completely different reason.

No matter how hard I try, I always have to check my phone in every 5 mins. Even if I switch off the internet, I will go back, turn it on and scroll through Instagram or play some stupid game. If not that, I am talking to someone or maybe waiting for someone’s reply or to be completely honest, avoiding someone. But somehow connected and affected by my phone.

On the other hand, I just don’t know how to leave my office in office. At the back of mind, I am thinking about the mail that I have to reply to tomorrow or thinking whether the code change that I made today is breaking something or not. Or maybe thinking about something that I said today and if someone might have taken it the wrong way. Or pondering over something hurtful that someone said to me. Thinking about all the unfinished work whose deadline is fast approaching, whilst knowing that I am not even going to put some extra effort into it.

But when I feel the wheels of the aeroplane leave the earth, I have this feeling that all my baggage has been left behind on earth. For the next few hours, I am unreachable completely and well, I cannot reach out to anyone as well. So I cannot worry about my work, about my Instagram feed, nothing. Nobody is going to call me, no breaking code can reach me and force me to do something about it. I just sit, stare outside the window (if on some lucky day I manage to get the window seat without paying extra bucks) and just listen to some good music. And all the disturbing thoughts just don’t cross my mind at all. Nothing matters during those few precious minutes. I have actually seen how book reading also becomes so easy on flights. The lyrics and the music of songs suddenly become all the more beautiful and deep. I just feel so calm and I dread coming down, coming back to earth. I wish I could keep flying just like that, with nothing bothering me anymore…