Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Truths for Today - Long Rant Post

Warning: Personal rant post which swings from cynical to emotional to clichéd. Proceed further at your own risk.

Some words of wisdom that have been brought home to me today, which I wish to share with others. Do not that I’m not always completely serious.

1. Life sucks, sometimes! It has nothing to do with how you are as a person – it’s always because of your boss, or your family, or your partner or your friends. And since we cannot change anything about them, on those days life sucks accept it. You can try cheering up by eating ice cream, watching a movie, reading a book or talking to your mom. Alternatively, you can make the most of your misery by listening to sad songs, bitching about everyone and writing long rant posts.

2. This is for women only: Men are pigs, all of them, all the time. A good solution could be to see if you are lesbian, I believe that would help. If you’re not, you just have to accept it and move on. Do NOT try and change them for they cannot and will not change. It’s just the way men are so one can’t do anything about it. But please to keep this advice in mind if you are unfortunately falling in love – the man you’re in love with might be handsome, understanding, caring, sensitive, honest, rich, powerful, loyal – but he is a pig, nonetheless.

3. Never let most of your happiness be dependent on one entity. This entity could be work, family, partner, a hobby, money or friends but when you put yourself in a position where a large part of your happiness depends on just one of these entities, you are likely paving your way for future misery. So spread yourself and your passion among all these. You’ll be surprised to see how much you can give and receive from each of these and yet not become vulnerable.

4. Having said the above point, don’t give up on love. I know loving someone more often than not ends up hurting you, more so in the case of romantic love than platonic love. But even if you’re hurt, don’t lose trust and give up on love. Don’t stop loving your work just because you had to do one crappy project recently. Don’t love your family any less just because your parents…well, you know all those awful things parents sometimes do that makes you wish that you were born to another family in some other planet?

5. Remember to live for yourself sometimes. Tell your boss that you don’t want to work on a certain project if you don’t want to. Tell your friends that you will not go shopping with them today because all you want to do is curl up in bed with a book. Tell your partner to hang out with friends or family tonight because you want to meet your old school friend for dinner tonight. And since most times, our parents live for us rather than themselves, encourage them to take time out for themselves once in a while (well, you could buy an SOTC trip to Europe or something for them).

Finally, a secret tip I discovered – as clichéd as it may sound, when you’re unhappy, try doing something for charity. It can brighten your day, even if the happiness is only short lived.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Undergoing a Quarter Life Crisis

So a friend sent us this wikipedia article on the phenomenon called the ‘Quarter Life Crisis’ and at the end of it was a online journal entry on a guy who experiences QLC when he goes to buy a desk at Ikea. Strong funda and brilliant article - http://www.wellingtongrey.net/journal/archive/2006-07-06-quarter-century-crisis.html.

Essentially the QLC is similar to the mid-life crisis – except that it is something that people in their 20’s go through. So it comes with it’s own set of characteristics. But I will also say that right now, QLC is tougher because, as goes this movie dialogue I read somewhere ‘you’re too young and insignificant (and poor, I may add), to buy a sports car and run off with your secretary! Also because it doesn’t have the recognition and acceptance that mid-life crisis has.

But ultimately, it’s tougher because it’s me who is going through this!!

So it’s because of QLC that a lot of us in our 20’s are frustrated with our relationships, with our jobs, with our friends and with our pay packets (oh well, I’ll admit that the frustration with the pay packets is regardless of age). That’s why there is a sense of disappointment, a sense of insecurity, of wanting more, of not knowing what one wants and other such vague ideas and emotions that most 20 year olds go through.

All my life, in school and in college, the next was clear. In school, when a year seemed much much longer than it is now, what I looked forward to in life was simple enough. In pre-kindergarten, I couldn’t wait to get to kindergarten just so I could get a coloured belt with my uniform. In kindergarten, I couldn’t wait to go to the 1st grade to escape my teacher. In 2nd standard, I was desperate to move to the 3rd standard so I could walk home on my own.

And so on it went over the years – each year, there was something to look forward to in the near future. And it made life exciting and wonderful and filled with dreams. In the 10th, we were all deluded into believing that the board results would determine our future so then we spent our entire year looking forward to the rest of our year. In +2, there was college to dream about and look forward to. In college, there was the IIM seat to work towards.

And even in IIMB, which was probably the most carefree and non-ambitious phase of my life, there was the corporate world to look forward to (yes, we did look forward to them – don’t tell me anymore now!). And suddenly, we are in jobs and there isn’t really anything to look forward to. I mean, yeah, there is the monthly pay slip, and the winning of a proposal and the bonus and all but I mean it in the BIG sense – those grand, incredible dreams.

And think of what you’re doing? I mean, I thought I’d become a reasonably well known (okay, fine, world famous) travel writer who earned money for traveling, writing and talking. I imagined my domestic life straight out of a Burlington home shopping catalogue.

I certainly didn’t see myself working on the assessment of the O&M practices of thermal power stations in West Bengal. Or making reports running into hundreds of pages, based on surveys answered by some infrastructure companies. While also managing a laptop with an incurable tendency to get stuck or shut off at the wrong time, an air conditioner which conks off with unfailing regularity, an internet connection which is more down than otherwise and other such hostile working conditions.

And the home? I didn’t dream of an apartment without furniture, a bathroom with faulty drainage, doors without bolts and a maid with an inclination to simply not turn up. So reality is vastly different from what I imagined life @ 23 to be. And yet, I’m happy. Definitely not content and not always satisfied, but mostly happy.

But I’m bewildered – when my life isn’t really close to what I want it to be, why am I happy? Shouldn’t I be striving for more? So people look for job changes, new relationships, and new cities. I decide to apply to some universities to pursue another master’s!

I also fondly indulge in thoughts of going to a gym/aerobics class so I have top-model- with-flat-stomach looks, becoming a director of great movies which no one understands and everyone appreciates, setting up a bookshop and chocolatiere (is that how it is spelt?), so I needn’t do anything but read books and eat chocolates all day. And then work it off later of course. While planning holidays to different destinations worldwide every 2 months.

But the difference this time is that I don’t believe that I’ll actually do most, or some, or even any, of this. These are just idle fantasies, to give me something to look forward to, however unlikely that is. While in our earlier days, we fully expected most of our dreams to be realized. Sighh.

Meanwhile, I will get back to applying for scholarships so that I can actually take up the course!

P.S – And for all those spoilsports who claim that QLC is just something the spoilt and self-indulgent like to imagine, well, so what’s your point?