Schooling – Graduation – Job; Does this path sound familiar to you? Have you thought your way through every step in this very personal sojourn? Are you truly content with the way your life has shaped up?
Take the case of our beloved Sharma ji ka beta (THE fictional character we can all relate to and whom our parents know very well); works at a popular IT MNC in Mumbai. On the exterior, everything appears to be flawless; an ideal life with a decent pay, fun colleagues and substantial company benefits. But every once in a while, sleepless late in the night at 3 AM, awake in the bed, he feels a certain longing for something. Something vague, undefined, trying to pull him towards an unknown. He goes over his daily routine only to find nothing out of the ordinary.
Not being able to put this into clear thoughts he attributes it to drama from the boss (work & home) or spicy food. Ultimately, he falls asleep, assuring himself that a weekend at Lonavala will fix this. Lately he started noticing that he likes watching movies and TV shows with offbeat and adventurous themes; living his life vicariously through the protagonist’s adventures. Sadly, his thrill fades away as soon as he switches the TV off. And the cycle repeats…
We, the youth of today, are so engrossed in the rat race that we have forgotten what we really want from life. Our talents and dreams have been blinded by the endless pursuit of chasing ‘something’ from a very young age. And usually this ‘something’ is what everyone else is doing. Through these actions, we desperately try to fit in until we lose sight of our true desires. Mystified and frustrated when life throws it’s challenges, we end up blaming the current circumstances, knowing only too well that the environment is not at fault.
When this feeling starts to creep in, it is okay to take a step back and give ourselves a break. While scrutinizing the situation with a level head, we realize that we have been victims of this long, exhausting process. Our generation, although highly ambitious, notorious for our short attention spans, is cursed with impatience as we strive to achieve big milestones with little effort in no time. We are the incorrect combination of hasty and headstrong, which leads to a messy mind.
Seeing all of our efforts go to naught may come as a shock and render us demotivated. Feeling weak and vulnerable, we may lose the strength to deal with uncertainty and find it difficult to make decisions; courtesy of following Mr. Sharma, and never practicing our independent decision making. However, this does not imply that we lost the potential. It may seem like everything is falling apart but it simply means that we need a good break to reflect.
As functional beings, we are permitted to make mistakes. After being subjected to peer pressure, societal obligations and responsibilities, we need some space to calm down. At times, all we need is to sit back, breathe and open our eyes with a new perspective. It is alright to not know what to do next. Allow yourself to be and take your own jolly time. Our thoughts are self-sufficient entities and will come up with a solution for themselves, provided they are free to wander. Allowing ourselves to let loose is essential for these hidden aspirations and abilities to flow back in.
I understand why taking a break can sometimes be difficult. We are told to be cautious and hold on to the safety net. Oftentimes we feel discouraged to take bold steps as we are constantly reminded with triumphant examples of those who stayed in the safe path. We are continually led to believe that if we take a step back in this highly competitive, fast-paced world, someone else will easily replace us. We are disheartened by the negative messages that people propagate about failure. That failure leads to losing valuable years of life and that it will be too late to start all over again.
Although valid points, they might not entirely apply to us. Every individual should have a different, personal outlook on their path to success. Listen to what people have to say but do not let their opinions completely sway you. We live a short life, make it worthwhile by taking charge of it. We do not deserve to give up on our dreams because someone else was afraid.
Drawing parallels from Robert Frost’s famous but often misunderstood poem “The Road Not Taken”, taking a new path in life definitely brings with it the risks of the unknown, but this is almost always worth it for the fear of the unknown is endurable compared to the agony of regret. There are countless opportunities out there, the important thing is to have faith in ourselves and our abilities. The path we follow may be rough and windy, but there is always a destination. For we are the writers of our own destiny.