It’s the first day of the last month of a year that literally just swooshed by!
Okay, I’ll cut the small talk.
And here’s a hypothesis I’d like to test (someday): Any experience/person/ thing that induces Envy or Sympathy is likely to be more popular than the one that does not.
“At least you’re living life on your own terms”
I’ve been at the receiving end of this one for a while now. However, a statement that begins with ‘at least’ IS NOT a helpful one. If anything, its a display of lack of empathy. And like many other statements I get to hear, this one also belongs to the ‘family’ of your-life’s-better-than-mine!
Which it is not
Yes, I’m living life on my terms.
I get to be boss lady of my life.
Yes, I’ve made choices to get to ‘here’.
I keep making choices on whether I want to continue being ‘here’.
I still haven’t gotten used to the life where there’s no paycheck at the end of the month.
I’ve struggled with taking time out for myself ever since work and non-work life have almost blurred into each other.
For every 5327 ideas I conjure up, I’m able to action on 532 AND for every 532 that are actioned on only 5 show a promise of working out.
Note that the word is ‘promise’, not guarantee
But I’ve picked which side of my narrative I want to be on.
A suggestion: Next time you sense Envy rising through your vocal chords, may be ask that someone how they do what they do and/or how you could help them.
When Envy or Sympathy collide in my life
Another statement I’m trying to maneuver my way around is: “Wow! You’re so sorted. You’re such an inspiration”.
I’m not sure what about me evokes this emotion. I’m just another regular person with regular struggles and choices and dilemmas and vices …you’re getting the drift?
Yes, I find this glorification a little uncomfortable sometimes. Because somewhere latent in the praise is this idea that my life’s better than somebody else’s. Or worse …that I’m plain lucky! And I don’t appreciate being pitted against anyone (under any circumstance)
Because to me, latent in this adulation, lurks the sentiment that some people have it easy.
That they don’t have demons to slay and aches to soothe.
That loneliness or financial insecurities or anxiety does not plague their existence.
Latent in this awe, is hidden this idea that life does not give lemons to everybody.
I hope I’m not bursting a bubble here but no one gets this lucky.
But I’ll speak for myself and say, “I know I don’t”.
I am not comfortable ranting about the curve-balls thrown at me. In the same vein, Sympathy is of no use to me either. So I don’t go around seeking it – even when I’m at my worst. And especially when I’m at my worst.
So what have I done instead?
I’ve altered my inner storytelling
In turn, it’s altered my perspective taking ability (for the better, of course). I seek help when I need it the most. And I sustain those inputs and insights by being accountable to myself through my journal (also because I am a very private person).
Trust me; we’re all work in progress. Envy or Sympathy have got nothing on us. We only have to believe that to be true!Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life
I’ve often wondered if Oscar Wilde’s words are true for the relationship exists between Travel and Life.
In turn, it reminds me of a line I’d scrawled in my journal in January 2016 against the backdrop of the boulders of Anegundi: “May be travel was meant to be that wedge in the door to opportunities I had shutting myself out of because of the complacency that came from doing things I’d grown to become familiar with…”
I’m reminded of how much I owe it to my travels for taking me to places beyond coordinates on a map. I’m reminded of how realising the dream of becoming a solopreneur actually traces back its origins to solo-travel!
Had I never travelled without an itinerary and nothing more than a one way ticket, would I have had the nerve to ‘stay hungry and foolish’ as I build today from scratch the work-life that I seek?
If I’d never been stubborn to make sure I realized the goal of travelling to India’s 29 states at least once before my 29th birthday, would I feel half as brave as I do now juggling uncertainty (ignoring the certainty my educational qualifications+work experience can almost guarantee)?
I don’t have those answers. But a tiny voice on the inside knows how without travel none of this would come to fruition.
I’ve got miles to go before I sleep
So yes, I’m not lucky and you don’t have to be envious of me.
Feel happy for me
Feel excited for me
But not jealous. Not even jokingly!
I’ve made choices to get to where I am. I have faced the consequences of those decisions too. Most of them haven’t been pleasant. In a similar way, you’ve made choices to get to where you are today. And like me, you’ve faced the consequences of those decisions as well.
Let’s not pit ourselves against the other. I respect your journey.
I steal from life at other times to make travel happen. My decisions and actions do not come from a place of privilege. You steal from life too – in ways that you know – to make things transpire for you and your loved ones.
At the end of the day, we’re both dealt cards from the same deck.
It’s how we choose to play that differentiates our story from each other.
Let’s work together
I’m open to both, workshop as well as content collabs. Let’s explore