Here are some examples.
I wish I could design and yet I cant draw a single straight line
I wish I could sing well and yet I don’t even qualify for being a bathroom singer
I wish I could stand out and yet I am drowning in the sea of mediocrity
I wish I could travel the world and yet I am stuck in a nondescript neighborhood in Mumbai
I wish I could stand out and yet there are times when even I fail to recognize myself when I look in the mirror.And few more things like this.
I think its because I want to be a lot of things at the same time.
Of course I cant be good at everything that I do. And before I decide what I don’t want to do, I want to try those things out. And after I have tried them, if I don’t like, I want to move on to the next set of things. Let me call this “discovering myself by process of elimination”. This process sounds like a brilliant plan, on paper. Except one small hitch. We, humans, have limited time and in my case, half of it is gone already. If I do discover what I want, at the age of 60, I wouldn’t know what to do with it.
So, to do that thing that I’d enjoy doing and to make a dent (assuming that dent would happen once I know what I love doing and I am good at it and I keep doing good at it for some time), I need to find it fast. And fast means really fast. Faster than that fleeting glance that I just made at that woman in red on the next table.
If life was like a shop full of tools and machines, I could do quick prototypes and decide fast, on what I wanted. But then life is not a mechanic’s shop and it takes forever to learn a skill. And it takes even longer to realize that you are not good. And still longer to admit that you aren’t anywhere close to where you thought you would get, if you put in time. You get into denial and all that. More on it later. But bottom line, it takes forever to realize what you are good at and what you are not. All you get is “drifts”. But to be able to sense those drifts is the tricky part.
Let me digress for a bit. There are some people, I know quite a few of them, that are somehow aware of what they want, from the time they were kids. And now by the time they are as old as I, they are doing really well in life. Then there are some people who get into lucky accidents, they hit the ovarian lottery (as Warren Buffet puts it), and get to know what their calling is. And rest of the people, they just keep doing what they get handed out randomly in life, they keep doing it, get good at it and assume that that was their calling. That was their purpose. That was what they were put on this earth to do those things. All the while they don’t even realize that they are spending their entire lives chasing someone else’s dreams and living someone else’s lives. They do make a lot of money and build large comfortable houses and move around in cars as big as their houses and drink wines as rare as their opulent houses and develop a ego that is larger than all of these tangible things (money, houses, cars, wines) put together.
I know quite a few people like this. Belonging to all three categories – aware ones, lucky ones, rich ones. And none of the three kinds is as unhappy as I. Unhappy not in literal sense but figuratively.
Coming back to the time it takes to understand yourself and continuing from the unhappiness bit above, I just have one question. Isn’t the journey supposed to be more rewarding than the destination? Everyone but me seems to have their destination in sight already. I, on the other hand, am having a tough time figuring out the road that I am supposed to take.
And while I write this and read this for review, I realize that I am smart to be able to put this in words. And yet, and yet I am unhappy. Figuratively.