self-actualization

Of Organizing

In my struggle to make sense of this otherwise unpredictable world, I had always resorted to organizing things around me. I knew I couldn’t control time, so I naturally became its treasurer.

I would organize my work bag IMG-20181103-WA0053-1once a month, save all my receipts, undo my closet twice a month and redo it, clean all the surfaces regularly that I would come in contact with, stack books over one another either by their themes or titles or size, make elaborate notes of readings so neat and organized that some of those are still being used by my younger siblings; give away clothes and shoes I wasn’t wearing anymore to clear space, and categorize pieces of cleaning cloths based on things they would clean. My workspace would always have all the things I needed and not an ounce more. I would either shred papers I didn’t need or reuse them. I wouldn’t call myself a clean freak but I had a fascination for organization–obsession if you would. My computer has layers and layers of folders organized into themes, categories, dates and time so I would never forget what happened when.

But then a point came when I started to forget—things, minute events, scheduled work, deadlines—replaced by memories that I wanted to suppress. It wasn’t all of a sudden, but I all can remember is, I slowly began procrastinating on my organization, because I was scared to admit that the disorder around me was due to chaos in my mind. What was once a source of contentment was slowly turning into mayhem. It was deeply disturbing and impeding—more like blockages in the veins but I had so much to do and had so little time. In a haste of losing, and disbelief of what I had already lost, I began setting reminders and alarms and sticking scribbled notes to things to remind me of what I needed to do.

At a point it became so overwhelming that I couldn’t trust what I had written for myself. So I decided to return to organizing. I began from scratch. Little by little. I emptied my bags. Washed them. Filled them first with things of necessity, then of leisure. Made new playlists while listening to old ones, to remind me of passage of a lifetime that once was. Transferred years of data in a hard drive should my computer decide to pull a stunt like me. Undid and redid my wardrobe on the basis of frequency of clothes I wore. Gave away some. Deposited my old receipts and cleared my workspace both at work and home. Felt my head a hundred pounds lighter.

I’m still working on remembering stuff. But it’s so much easier. Because I’ve accepted what happened was the best it could have rather than questioning why it really happened. I know some things are not in our control and time will fly but we need some reins to make sure things that are ours—our imagination and the space that elevates it—remain that way.

 

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Chapter 26 – New Beginnings

I was reading a few days ago how the best writers we’ve had in history happen to be those who have chosen to open up about themselves. And it left a deep impression on me. Great artists were mostly those who struggled half of their time trying to search for their identity, failing and learning, trying on new things, and repeating the cycle. Some of these artists endured failure for years, until they were known for their greatness. And in the long run, it’s the greatness that has defined them.

Self-discovery is hard—it’s like building a wall of legos, block by block. One wrong block and some bricks fall down. You have to put the right blocks at the right places. It’s excruciatingly challenging. However, unless we acknowledge our reality, our struggles, and come in terms with who we really are, we can’t be honest in telling the stories we want to tell. The stories I’ve wanted to tell for the longest of time, a lot of them challenge my own thinking patterns. Rather than answering my questions, they further confuse me—about my reality, my sense of self, of things I believe and want to believe. And there are things, I’ve been scared of writing because they show too much of me—of my naivety and sensitivity, of things I believe in, and of the things I love.

But I’ve considered this—it’s these vulnerabilities that make us human: fear of being rejected, the fear of trying, the fear of that answer that has been stopping us for years to ask the question, those periods of darkness that make us wish for the light, the fear of loving without being loved in return. Trying to act strong would make us one, but only in short term. For long term, we need something to rely on: we need courage from within. Putting ourselves out there in spite of fear of failure is being courageous (an amazing friend told me). It would kill us (if you’re awkward like me), but if it doesn’t, it’ll surely make us stronger.

My best friend, miles away from me right now told me a few days ago that she wanted her opinionated cum passionate friend (who used to feel every single feeling in the world) back. And she was right. I hadn’t changed. I had simply chosen to hide. I was like the last drop in the faucet that wants to fall, tries really hard, but the forces from inside despite all the gravity stop it from splattering.

And so, I resolve to share. It’s a road to self-discovery and you’ll help me achieve it. There would be struggles, battles (both inward and outward), failures (for sure), love and hate, a lot of thankfulness, some whining, a lot of music related posts, some conversations with coffee and chai, some extremely deep posts (so deep you’ll roll in them), my journey of faith (that waivers sometimes but is mostly the only reason of my survival and peace), my opinions (those give me life!), but mostly, my coming back to being myself again.

How you might want to spend your four years at college

My four years at college are about to end. There are so many things I did, and many things that I should’ve done and so many of them, I’d still want to do while some time still remains. So here’s how you can make the best of four years of your college.

So while you go to college to study, remember to live your life while you study. Go crazy, do experiments, break rules, make friends and take a 360 degree turn, trust me, you’ll love the feeling of it.

And live in dorm, or hostel, whatever you call it. Life would be tougher that way, but interesting. So next time, when you eat from mess, you’ll know how mom’s cooking feels when you get back home. Sharing a roommate would tell you the reality of life (trust me on this, realities would unveil). Sharing is not easy, but you would get used to it for the life later. So decorate your room for the 4 good years, make collages, take pictures, celebrate mid-night birthdays, throw some parties and crash some weddings, order at mid-night, try to cook new stuff and DO NOT worry.

Go and break some rules. Surpass curfew timings, write petitions against what your conscience does not agree to, disagree and discuss, disagree and persuade, disagree and convince. Protest against the wrongs and break the rules again if you have to make things right. But don’t get caught!

 

And don’t worry if you’re alone when you initiate, trust me, the word spreads like fire here and people would join you. Make a good move: even if people don’t recognize it today, at least you have a good story to narrate it to your kids.

While you’re at it, expand your humanitarian side. Appreciate art. Listen to all genres of music, watch theatres  visit museums and art galleries and most of all, read books. Save one fifth of your pocket money for books, visit book stores, join book clubs, read about books and discuss books with people. Don’t leave your room without carrying a book in your bag, for what books tell you, even your best friend hides sometimes.

Develop a literate personality. Read on religion, art, science and politics. Participate in discussions and debates; attend seminars and conferences, for they are a treasure of college life. And don’t forget to disagree -It reflects that you have a point of view that you fear to share.

And yes, be adventurous! Make spontaneous plans. Call friends and let them know about your program. It doesn’t matter where you want to go, if you’re passionate, the road will take you there somehow.

So wander off. Pack a bag, take a camera and follow the light. Use all modes of transportation: ride a cycle, take a rickshaw, travel in bus and experience a Ching Chi. Explore places that were lost in time and tell the world about it. This habit of travelling would never let you lose yourself even if people think you’re lost.

But don’t fear, for fear takes away the thrill. So ride on the most dangerous rides you ever felt have been invented, lie in the middle of the road at night, bathe in the 3 am rain of a January night, climb on the roof of a stair-less building, spend your summer break in the hottest of lands and winter in the coldest of valleys. You’d know the beauty of life, the splendour of nature, and who knows you might even find God!

And about those college events, participate and play an active role. Not for the sake of those I-am-in-every-event-just-so-you-know photos but to put something worthwhile in your resume. Be a Manager, Director or whatsoever they offer, but make sure no one is taking any advantage out of your work. And don’t forget to resign publicly when they do. They should know who they’re messing with!

Be a fun-sport. Go to social events, enjoy parties, socialize, have a crush or two (or many) and have the time of your life. Play sports. Join basketball team or football, hockey or cricket team, but keep playing. It’ll keep you in the mood of spirit. Go for long walks early in the morning or late at night. Manage a company of a friend if you can sometimes, because that would give you an entirely different perspective of what you usually experience alone. And Oh, don’t forget to play foosball. It’s a great game, takes all your miseries away- a bad paper, a missed class, an absent mark, a missed chance or maybe a broken heart, foosball is the solution.

For the purpose of coming here, take challenging courses and witty teachers, go to library and come back at 12 am. Take notes, talk to teachers and don’t forget to group-study. It’s miraculous. Not only in terms of learning, but trust me, it does wonders. The discussions that follow the group studies never get old to catch up to. Be a nerd during exams. You wouldn’t want to care what clothes you’re wearing during your exams because nobody does. I’ve seen people who forget to wash their face and brush their teeth, or maybe they don’t get time for it because they were doing some early morning rote learning. As long as you get a decent grade, that’s all what matters.

And while we’re talking about studies, beware of the mother of all diseases: Procrastination. Not being obstinate about it, but everyone does: an assignment submission, a report deadline, case compliance or daily readings, I know you would procrastinate. So keep yourself ready for pulling out some nighters. Stock on some caffeine; get your tools ready to stay awake all night during the last part of the semester and meet your deadlines.

And well, get decent grades because it sucks to have a bad GPA. You might say that it doesn’t bother you or you’ll get a job nevertheless, but dude, it shows on your resume for the rest of your life. So while you enjoy the best four years of life, never get the three letters out of your mind. But wait, don’t panic! Also, please don’t drop. (My heart dies a little every time I hear someone drop out of college).

 

(March 18, 2013)