new beginnings

Vows to oneself as a 25 year old

 

As 2016 comes to an end, I make some vows to myself. No, these are not New Year resolutions made to be followed in the coming year only to be forgotten a few days later. These are vows of a 25 year old to herself, who had refused to acknowledge that a tough life exists and that tough people exist who despite how much you try to please would never be pleased with you, because it’s not their priority unlike you (so don’t take it to your heart).

Yes, life is tough and yes, it does get too suffocating sometimes that you don’t get enough time or space to listen to your own thoughts, but it always gets better. Believe that it always gets better, because it always has.

When you were 18, 20-year-olds looked like they were fully grown adults. When you were 21, you thought your life would be settled by 25, everything figured out. You would have fully matured, learnt all the realities of life. But at 25, I realize we never really figure out life, we may only try to. We never really mature enough. I might have been mature enough for my age, even perhaps more mature than any other 28 year old for that matter, but under what parameters? Balancing work-life? Making family decisions? Saving money? Making new friends? Handling love life? Life is never the same for two people. Everyone has to deal with different circumstances, different realities and different strokes of luck. What we might call crazy may be completely normal for others. What others might pity about you could be something that makes you proud.

So here are some vows I make with my 25 year old self to stand by:

  1. Don’t be too harsh on yourself

Don’t judge yourself too harshly. Only you know what you have been through. You alone have experienced your journey. So don’t be too disappointed when people close to you (let alone others) do not understand. They don’t know the whole story.

Never criticize yourself on how you could have done better under those circumstances that you faced. You know you did your best. You know you couldn’t do any better. It wasn’t just written for you. The timing wasn’t right. Don’t stress yourself for it.

  1. Don’t expect. Period.

Expectations kill. It’s a lesson learnt the hard way. Never expect from people. People disappoint. If ‘people’ had a synonym, it would be ‘disappointment’. Be good to people. But never expect goodness in return. Be kind but never expect kindness in return. People are generally indifferent. They don’t give second thoughts. Why does the kindness of strangers make us so happy? Because we least expect it. So the more we expect, the less satisfied we would be.

  1. Be patient

However you work hard, you have to wait for the results eventually. And trust me, the results wouldn’t be the ones you have wanted—this is where you have to be patient. This is a gray area. There are no black and white answers. What you might think best, might not be best for you. So try again if you will, but keep an open mind about consequences.

  1. Have faith

Point 3 automatically brings me to perhaps the most important promise to myself—having faith. Having faith might be the easiest and yet the most difficult thing to do sometimes. For things we don’t have any control, we can’t help but let them be. We leave it to God (or whatever you might believe in) despite having insecurities. It’s easy because we couldn’t do anything even if we wanted to. And yet it could be the most gruesome, self-tiring chore to do. For having faith requires patiently enduring our inner struggles for everything we have stood up for and worked hard. And it doesn’t just end there. Having faith requires us to accept the results as they come, with our head held high, because that is what’s best at the given time and therefore it has been given to us. It might look like we have been cheated, not given what we deserved (and that God has been unjust and whatnot), but trust me, it’s always for the best.

The lessons in defeat, in heartbreak, in going low, in acceptance, would prove to be your lifelong mentors. The timing would be so perfect, only you would understand later.

So don’t rush. Have faith.

  1. Smile

You have smiled too many times for people. It’s time you smile for yourself. There are far too many reasons. For one, it gives you wrinkles at the right places.

  1. Surround yourself with good music

Good music makes good memories. Or rather, good memories are made even better with good music. So listen to new songs, make mixtapes, send them to people you love (but remember point 2 above), play old songs, write about them, write about memories associated with them and don’t forget to make new ones.

 

PS: Unedited

 

 

 

 

 

 

Her Story

The fountain pen dropped. With it spread all of its black ink on the floor that she had filled only minutes before. Perhaps its nib had broken too. It had been a gift from an old friend, a mentor, on her twelfth birthday who told her that she would do wonders with this pen.

Only this would have been a dream unfulfilled. Someone else’s.

Only she had been trapped—tricked into believing that she could write.

Though there were times that she had actually written—letters to people, to God, had been published in children magazines and won contests, but it had never mattered to her. For her, only one story mattered. The one she was born with. The one that she carried wherever she went.

She did not even look down at the white floor which had now been stained. Another friend lost, she thought. Another dream shattered.

Her gaze drifted from the notebook to the sky outside the window which showed a streak of white light.

The sun would be out soon. It was 5 am.

Another night of insomnia gone. Another day looking forward to be lived. It had been two years precisely, she recalled. Two years since the nights veiled her, the days depressed her. Two years since her first rejection. ‘No ma’am, we’re looking for something more solid, something more interesting to grab attention.’ She couldn’t tell him but that’s what my life has offered me all those years.

She had remained silent.

She had waited.

No shortcuts. No references. She had walked the long way. Actually she had preferred the pain. The fruit you eat after a hard labor is always sweeter. She remembered his mentor’s words. But the fruit didn’t seem to be coming.

5: 10 am. The sky was almost blue. Clear. Crystal. The two-day continuous rain had washed away all the dirt, drained all the filth with it. But she was not impressed. It had brought back all the colors too. The greens of leaves, the browns of trunks, the gray of the winding road below. The rains had stopped making sense for her.

Why did the heavens cry? She knew it was never meant for her. But she had yet to find out.  

The first time she had entered the office with her blue notebook, the man hadn’t even looked up at her. He didn’t have time for amateurs.

Then came another rejection and then another.

A woman asked her if she had been published before. She gave her the references. But the woman with the parrot nose and hawk eyes said, You don’t understand dear. Not these little articles in tabloids and magazines. A Solid hardcopy. Yes dear, that’s what I’m talking about. It had been a voice firmly practiced. Gentle but firm. Gentle but lacking the kindness of a humane tone.

 She began detesting the word ‘solid’. Solid plots, solid copies, solid writings, solid publications—but her life had never been considered solid for once.

5: 23 am. The ink had dried by now. There were no signs of rain today. But it had left its signs nevertheless; the cool air hitting her face, the umbrellas still hanging in people’s balconies, the muddy trails in park’s neighborhood and the bugs that had come out of nowhere—the weather had surely changed.

Her story was still unfinished. All her interviewers had wanted a drama, a twist and a climax. But her story had been even and unwavering. Not exactly happy or happening—it had been woeful—but unflattering. Maybe, she thought, maybe it was time to add a climax.  

She picked up the fountain pen with the broken nib from the floor seeped with ink.

Maybe this time, they will have a story with a climax and an ending.     

The clock read 5:29 am in the morning.