I call 2019 the mixed bag year. It was a year ladened with a lot of twist and turns; a roller coaster run of days–one minute I would be leading my normal life and minding my business–the next, I would be swooning from yet another dart life throws at me. With the happenings this year, I have become further convinced that life never really gets easier, we just get tougher. And so in that spirit, and in the spirit of my yearly tradition, I’ll be sharing five lessons 2019 taught me. I hope it’s helpful to someone out there.
If there’s a category of people who know a thing or two about rejection, self-doubt and uncertainty, it is writers. One time a police officer asked what I did what for a living and when I simply said “Writer”, I could see the quizzical look on his face. A look that asked, “Is that even a job?”. Toeing a path where you are never sure of the outcome of your efforts can be mind-crippling. For the creative, there’s the constant pressure to create; and not just create, but surpass the success of previous work.
It’s the six-letter word everyone aspires to. The evidence that we are not where we used to be. Proof of our progress. The desire for growth is embedded in the human psyche; there’s hardly anyone who, for instance, would not have it listed as a new year resolution—either overtly—or covertly. The quintessential human aspires to…
It was an impossible task of sorts. I was mandated to write four articles within a few hours—and no, I wasn’t given topics—I had to come up with them. This meant developing a concept and conducting a fair bit of research before going ahead to put pen to paper. Already mentally tired and inundated with plenty of work, it seemed unfeasible to pull off. A colleague asked how I would go about it and the next words I spoke surprised even me. “I am the “baddest” and the best at this. I’ll find a way,” I said. It was a resolute, firm resolve, not a boastful one. But that statement was all the fuel and fire I needed to work my magic. I delivered before the deadline.
Success…to be deemed successful—the story we all want—that earnest yearning to be looked upon as one of the few who knows exactly what they are doing. The admiration, the fandom even that we fantasise about when we put our plough to work. We are positive that we can make a career out of our hobby or passion and so we pursue it for love, for joy, for self-gratification; and in the hope that someone else, maybe two, will connect with our conviction. Sometimes, our hunch is right; we get all the plaudits and everyone wonders why we did not start off earlier. At other times, however, they give the damning verdict—”You are not nearly as good as you thought.”
I probably belong to a negligible number of people who believe in keeping things close to their chest until there’s some form of desirable result. Many would call someone like me secretive, and maybe they are right. In a world where it’s now the order of the day to put every minute detail of one’s life out there, people like me are dinosaurs. We are going extinct because that’s just not the way the world works right now. If you are living well and life’s treating you with the level of care newly married couples show each other, then, by Jove, why wouldn’t you want to share it with others? And if you are on the side of the divide where each day is drab, uninspiring or even tortuous, you should also put it out there too. You never know who can help.
“What’s the worst that could happen, anyway?” That’s the question I ask myself when I am at a crossroads. Whenever I sense myself getting exasperated about taking a decision or getting apprehensive about the possible outcome of a situation, I imagine the worst possible thing that could result from taking the wrong decision. And many times, that question induces the damn it mentality I need to face my fears and do it afraid. It’s the tonic I need to get going and it helps put things in perspective.
In a few days, the year 2017 will wind down completely. In usual fashion, we will be wishing one another a happy new year. And like every other time when a new year is ushered in, many will be full of new hopes and aspirations. It’s a script that plays out every 365 days. It is constant. Unchanging. The truth is, at the end of the day, the Ist of January in any year is just another day, however, one can’t deny the sense of freshness and new beginning it elicits. Whether some of us downplay it or not, a new calendar year will always represent a good time to do a self-appraisal, and start afresh.