If someone told me a couple of years ago that there would be a global pandemic that turns our world upside down, I would have told them that this is not a dystopian novel. Now, I am not so sure. We consume information about more and more violence every day, women are denied their bodily autonomy and wars can be waged without reason.
I remember writing in my slam book in college that I would be settled in life by the time I’m thirty, enjoying cocktails by my poolside. I guess I used to be much more optimistic as a person back then. It’s going to be a year since I quit my corporate job to pursue my master’s, which also translated as putting enough distance so that nagging relatives don’t ask me about getting married. My work ethic was something I took pride in. When I was in eleventh grade, I remember my Tamil teacher telling us he has never been not occupied with something in life, he got his job the same month he finished his studies. I guess it stuck to me. I did the same, got a job right after my studies and worked for 4 years straight. It took me a lot of conversations with my therapist to understand that I never really had a break in my life. That keep-on-winning attitude is eventually going to result in you becoming burnt out.
I still struggle sometimes with accepting that I am living on my savings, but I haven’t felt this happy in a long time. I remember having a conversation with a German friend who told me it’s a given in his family that everyone takes a gap year after school to live life the way they want. He went volunteering in Serbia to work with school children and fell in love with the country and people that year.I realised the hustle mindset is something we Indians are groomed into. I have never lived life at a slow pace before. To be honest, it’s boring sometimes, but it also gives you time to introspect. Who are you? What do you want in life? Are you doing things for yourself or expectations of others? I realised the reason I didn’t enjoy certain things in life is that I didn’t want them, there were things I was pursuing just because they were markers of success in the world. Once I let go of them, I feel so much freer. Breaking those rigid milestone goals in my life such as getting married at this age, buying a house at this age etc has done wonders for my mental health. Now, my only goal is happiness. It might change in the future, you never know but I feel content where I am.