Eventually, It’s All Just A Memory

You’re relaxing in bed and listening to your favourite songs, when all of a sudden, a memory from your school days pops up. You have no idea why it came up, but you find yourself looking back at it, reminiscing its activities, people, and thinking just how fast everything passes by. One thought leads to another, and you find yourself looking back at a rabbit hole of events you once lived through, only to realise how quickly the present you are in will soon become a memory too. 

There’s a term for this realisation, Des Vu. Coined by John Koenig, he defines Des Vu as “the awareness that this will become a memory.” Time passes us faster than we can comprehend it. The present turns into the past in the blink of an eye. And the future we’re constantly anticipating is suddenly the present we’re walking in. 

Our lives are a composition of numerous moments. Some that fade with time, some crystal clear as though we lived through it twice. The ones we do remember have the power to bring back emotions, emotions thought to be left in the past along with these moments. Some are moments that once brought us joy, while some are moments that filled us with anger. Some were moments that made us feel like we were at the top of the world, while some were of extreme heartbreak and hitting rock-bottom. And even though these are events of the past, there are times where we do find ourselves looking back on these. 

Realising that every present we walk through will turn into a memory gives rise to unexplainable feelings. On one side, you’re more aware of how quickly things change or diminish, and you try and stop yourself from getting too attached or too invested, thus prohibiting yourself from living every moment to its fullest. On the other side, you want to experience everything as much as you possibly can. Hit pause on time so that the good moments feel everlasting and do not head in the direction of something bitter. But unfortunately, time doesn’t work that way. It’s like a train you’ll run to but always miss. Every moment we live through, from landing a spot in our dream university, your first job, the moment you seal the deal on your first house, a first kiss, or just anything for that matter. It will all turn into memories we once lived through. 

The power of time is terrifying yet hauntingly beautiful. It gives us a deeper understanding of why even the seemingly insignificant parts of our lives always mean something. It opens our eyes to why we need to value what comes into our lives more. Whether these are opportunities or failures, the people we end up taking for granted, or even something as random as buying the last packet of your favourite chips at the store. With the uncertainty of what the next minute will bring, everything matters and everything makes a difference. We don’t know when a moment will end and turn into a memory. And more importantly, we don’t know when we will eventually turn into fading memories. 

Of Boundaries And Peace Of Mind

Haven’t we all found ourselves in a place where even though we felt differently about a situation, we went along with it to make someone happy? But how often have we felt good about it later on? A picnic with your group of friends that you weren’t in the mood for, but eventually said yes to and ended up having some of your best moments would classify as a positive outcome. But agreeing with a morally wrong opinion to avoid conflict, wouldn’t leave the most pleasant taste in your mouth would it?

As humans, we all have our individual thoughts and feelings. Sometimes these thoughts and feelings align with others while sometimes they don’t. And even though there’s nothing wrong with the latter, there are times where we hush ourselves and agree even when we don’t feel the same. But is it worth it? Whether we choose to do this to avoid any form of conflict, seek external validation, or any other reason for that matter. Constantly adjusting yourself for the mere convenience of others may only take you on the path of self-destruction.

One might argue that if we genuinely care about something or someone, adjusting our ways shouldn’t have to be difficult, nor should they be matters of complaint. It’s true that adjustments shouldn’t have to be difficult when we hold something or someone important. But in the long run, if these adjustments don’t add to your life as well, how far will you go for the benefits of someone else? It would only leave you to eat yourself up on the inside.

We’re all willing to go to certain extents for the things or people we hold important. We all want to fight for the things we care about, don’t we? So why not fight for yourself just as much? Make adjustments while also setting a boundary of your willingness. Your peace of mind is matters, and if something doesn’t sit right with you, you shouldn’t have to force yourself to make it seem right. And if this means disappointing someone, then maybe that disappointment is necessary. Boundaries exist for a reason, and sometimes they need to be put up even if it feels difficult. Perhaps that’s the time when it’s needed the most.

If we fail to set boundaries, in short, we’re failing ourselves. And if one thinks about it enough, that’s the last sort of failure you want to put yourself through. It’s okay to care about people and work towards providing convenience to them. But when it starts costing you your peace of mind, maybe it’s necessary to take a step back and reevaluate if it’s worth it. Because how far will you keep pulling your boundaries down for others to bask in your discomforts?

Befriending Fear

How much is your fear holding you back?

If you’ve ever sat down with yourself, given a thought to the way you go about with events in your life, you may have come across events or opportunities you wanted to step into but didn’t go ahead because of fear. Be it making a phone call to enquire about a job, or stepping away from a creative hobby. Be it something big or small, it would be a lie to say we haven’t found ourselves in a place where fear has been the stronger one. And it does raise the question, would we still hold ourselves back if fear was absent?

There are two ways to look at fear. One would be viewing it in a negative light, and the other would be viewing it in a harsh but necessary light. The way we choose to view it makes a big difference in shaping various aspects of our lives. To say don’t be afraid and go for it is easier said than done. As human beings, we are all different from each other. Our fears are different, and the way we deal with them are different as well. In short, it’s not an easy deal for anyone. We can choose to view our fears in either of the above ways, sometimes even both. Because after all, neither of us live a life that’s smooth sailing rainbows and sunshine.

If we continuously view our fears negatively, not only would be holding ourselves back more often, we’d also land up in a whole world of uncertainties of what could’ve been. But viewing it in a way where you understand it’s a necessity, you’d respond differently. Even though it’s unpleasant, it would show you that you build strength in yourself when you go ahead despite the fears. Unfortunately, we don’t always see it that way.

Being fearful isn’t fun. It’s not a feeling that we want to be stuck with for long. But fear does play a role in shaping us into the people we turn out to be. It also teaches us to take our steps with thought and care. And whether we like it or not, we have to admit that the feeling of fear will accompany us in every stage of our lives. So why not go hand in hand with it instead? Maybe befriending our fears instead of trying and running away from them could take us further than we’d expect.

Lessons In Lockdown – Self Awareness

It’s been over a month of lockdown in the country I live in. Adjusting to every single day that goes by has been quite the journey, a journey that makes you look at life in a way you didn’t think to look before. Who would’ve thought that we’d need a pandemic to start looking at different perspectives.

It’s a rough time for all of us. With everything coming to an abrupt end, making changes hasn’t come easy. Especially for those who are so accustomed to a specific routine. Whether it’s working from home for jobs that we’d travel to everyday, online classes so that the process of education still continues, whatever it may be, making changes to adapt to something new has been hard. But it’s also shown us our capabilities to adapting to these changes.

The way we’re adapting to all these sudden changes shows us one thing. That as humans, we’re capable of adjusting to a lot. We just never realise our own capabilities like we should. And it does bring out the question, how much do we actually know our own selves?

We’ve all had moments where we did something and then thought to ourselves, “I didn’t think I was capable of doing something like that”. And in that moment there’s a little spark of joy on this new discovery of ourselves.

To be completely self aware is impossible in a way. In the entirety of our lives, however long it may be, we’re going to be thrown into different experiences that may be good or bad which will eventually keep shaping us in different ways. Throughout these times we’ll learn more about ourselves, you can say it’s a continuous journey.

But keep in mind, getting to know yourself isn’t always a joyride. We all have some unpleasant traits within us which we either aren’t completely aware of or choose not to acknowledge it the way we should.

For me it has been getting to know how less I value myself. Having a positive outlook towards myself is something I’ve never really done. I never thought of it as something important because for me, valuing the people I care about was more of a priority. I never realised that sometimes instead of putting others before me, I needed to put myself first too. This made accepting myself extremely hard and there are still moments where I’ll find myself being extra critical of myself. More than I need to be and that leads to a long period of me being in a pit of despair.

It’s a struggle but knowing this has given me a chance to try and work on this. To be a little easier on myself from time to time. To be more accepting of myself instead of always trying to change things that don’t need to be changed.

Becoming self aware isn’t something we should rush, but at the same thing it’s something we shouldn’t ignore either. It’s important that we take time to reflect on ourselves and get to know ourselves better. Because in the end we’re our only constants. We shouldn’t end up being strangers to our own selves.

Comparison – How Far Does One Go?

When you hear the word comparison, you understand it to be looking at two or more different things and finding out what’s similar and what’s different between them. Whether it’s between the characteristics of people, the way a job is carried out by different people, how different teachers teach the same topic, we derive a comparison between almost everything.

Often we dive quite deep into the hole of comparison. We choose to compare ourselves on one thing or another with the people around us. Whether that’s in the way of our academics, how far has one reaches with their life goals, achievements made by time we’re thirty, or just how we are as a person. And this deep dive doesn’t always end up with positive results.

One could say that the motive behind such comparisons is to work on bettering ourselves or to gain inspiration about certain things we’re working on. But how far does one go with it?

There’s a fine line between drawing inspiration and comparison that’ll turn negative. It’s difficult to stay on the side of the former when we don’t know how far to go before we have to stop.

It also doesn’t help when we have people around us who partake in this. And again their intentions might be good, but often than not, it just ends up bringing about more damage than good.

In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, “Comparison is the thief of joy”. If we really think about it, this quote does hold quite true. Whether it’s someone else bringing out comparisons or something we do ourselves, if we go too far with it, our joy does diminish at a point.

When comparison turns unhealthy, it brings about waves of extreme self doubt with respect to anything you want to do. You end up doubting yourself so much, you’ll end up coming to the conclusion of not even trying. And if you do end up trying, you find it hard to be satisfied with what you’ve produced, thinking it isn’t as good as what someone else produced. All of this leads to undermining your own self worth.

In the end everyone is different and no matter how much you choose to compare yourself with someone, things are never going to be the same. The way you work, the way you talk, the way you form relationships, it’s all different with everyone.

Instead of looking at how good we can be with respect to someone else, focusing on how good you can be from an earlier version of you is much needed. In this competitive world we’re all striding to out do another, but it’s not often that we truly stop to self improve.

All in all it’s important to recognise the line between how much of drawing out comparisons is too much. Allowing yourself to learn instead of falling into a negative hole is hard. But it’s not impossible. And that’s what we must all try and work towards.

False Directions

A couple of years ago, I made a choice with respect to my field of education. A choice that I thought would be something I would do well in and have a successful life. This decision was based on subjects I excelled at in school, so I never gave a second thought about how right it would actually be. My thought process was “I’m good at it now, hence I’ll be good at it when it comes to working in this line”. I didn’t take a step back to look at other options, which included things that I enjoyed.

Fast forward five years later, I now have a degree that I don’t regret, but at the same time it’s something I’m not happy with. Getting a year of work experience, going back and forth with decisions to study further in the same field I did my degree has gotten me feeling stuck with absolutely no progress whatsoever. It feels twice as hard trying to turn things around for myself and working towards something I should have worked for from the beginning.

These choices took me in a direction I do not want to be in anymore but at the same time they have given me some lessons I wouldn’t have acquired if I didn’t make these choices. It made me realise how much I lacked self-awareness and was trying to force something on myself even when my gut told me it wasn’t right, forcing myself to be successful in something to cater to the happiness of others but never my own, only to bring about high levels of self-doubt and dig a grave for my self-esteem in a place never to be found. Even though it made me go through some heavy dark moments that I’m still recovering from, it’s also made me come to a place mentally where I have some form of clarity on what direction I’d like to move in next.

Moving forward is not an easy process when you come to a place in life where you have to start all over. There’s huge amounts of fear, people who you thought would believe in you, tell you how wrong and impossible making such decisions to start all over is, feeling like you’re way behind in a race even when there’s no race at all. But if there’s anything all this has made me realise, it’s that if you let the fear of making wrong decisions control you, you’ll always be left wondering about what could’ve been. If you let what other’s think control you, you’ll never give a chance to yourself to discover what you hold within. One of the biggest things I learnt from all this is that the ways in which many define the path to success are not necessarily the ways in which you’ll succeed.

As bad as making wrong decisions can be, there’s always room to correct them if we try. Going in the wrong directions can end up showing you paths you didn’t know were possible to take. A lot of the times we think it’s too late to make changes, and we hold our mistakes as a life sentence we can’t get out of. But that’s not true. It’s never too late if you’re willing to try and make things better for yourself. It’s never too late to give yourself a second chance. We’re all too scared of failing, but if failure didn’t exist, discovering your own path to succeed wouldn’t seem as fruitful.

We’re all human. We make mistakes and we’ll continue to make mistakes for the entirety of our lives. Doesn’t mean we won’t achieve our goals and it doesn’t mean we’ll never improve from where we are at now. All we can do is keep learning every time and bettering ourselves.

Privileges — A lesson brought to you by Covid19.

How often is it, that we take a step back to acknowledge how privileged we are?

The current scenario of the world has most of us locked inside our homes, being unable to step out with the free will we once could. Getting in that extra hour of sleep and not having to worry about missing the school bus, not having to sit through thirty minutes of heavy traffic before you reached your workplace only to find out you were late for the fifth day in a row, didn’t seem all that bad at the beginning. But when there came a halt on outdoor activities we did for fun, it didn’t seem right anymore. Boring old routines became things we were craving rather than being stuck in the four walls of our apartments with absolutely nowhere to go.

None of us thought we would be put in such a situation, but here we are. The phrase “expect the unexpected”, has never been more fitting, unfortunately not in a way we would have liked it to.

But in the midst of all this complaining, there are some bright sides too. Staying home with our families who we may not see as often due to our busy lives, picking up a new skill, finally getting to read a book that was collecting dust on the shelf and so much more.

At the same time, not everyone has such luxuries. People all over the world whose family members have been affected, spending days and nights wondering if they’ll ever see their loved ones healthy and happy again. Healthcare workers working round the clock, putting themselves at risk, unable to see their own families with the risk of possibly passing on the virus. People who aren’t in a stable financial position to provide themselves with proper shelter and meals on a regular day, struggling twice as hard due to the restrictions put down. The list just goes on.

If we take a minute to look beyond our own inconveniences, we’ll come across a lot of situations like this and it is worth thinking about that the things we so easily complain about, would be things someone would love to have in a heartbeat. Complaining is a part of human nature, we all do it. No one likes to be in a place of inconvenience be it big or small. But how often have we sat and thought about the littlest things in our lives that do make a big difference, things that may seem insignificant to us but are wishes another person is waiting for to come true.

There’s nothing wrong in acknowledging your privileges. People often become defensive if you bring up such a topic, when there’s absolutely nothing wrong in having privileges. There’s people who have it better and there’s people who have it worse. The situation we’re born in isn’t in our control but the way we go about it is.

This is in no way meant to call out people, but in a time where we’re all struggling in one way or another, it’s important to realise the position we are in and be grateful that things aren’t worse. And if possible, try to help ease the struggle for those who are finding it extra difficult so that we can all come out of this better and stronger.

Be safe, be careful and be kind.