One day, the realisation suddenly struck me that a significant part of my life was behind me, and if I did not pursue my dreams now, it would be too late.
It led me to look inwards, and I recognised that I had been following the path laid out for me. Moving from one stage of life to another, as ordained and directed by my family, environment and circumstances.
Have I achieved my dreams?
I often ask myself this question, and the answer is elusive and mystical. Dreams are dynamic, as you advance in life, they change too.
I grew up in a middle class service household, happy and content. The significant fact was, that I studied in one of the most renowned schools in Delhi. I was aware that my parents made all the sacrifices to ensure that I was convent educated and getting the best possible exposure to learning.
We all remember our school days as we spend an extended period there, and our foundation years mould our outlook, attitude and personality.
The fees of my school were high, and there was no humiliation in buying second-hand books as each new year commenced. We were allowed no fancy shoes, hairbands or jewellery and everybody dressed uniformly. Bags and pencil boxes were simple, and I have no recollection of envy or competition with anybody.
The love and affection of my parents and their simple lifestyles always kept me grounded and made me appreciative.
I grew up happy, secure and confident that they would never force their decisions on me, and I always had the freedom to pursue whatever I wanted. And surprisingly, I shared their aspirations and followed their directions and advise.
Friends dominated the next five years of my life. The focus was staying together, and as most of my friends were graduating in sociology, I decided to opt-out of my first choice of psychology, just to be with them.
At the age of twenty-four, my family felt it was the right age for me to be married. Most of my friends were already married or engaged, and I consented to abide by their decision.
Post marriage, I continued to study. I did a diploma in journalism, and my husband encouraged and motivated me. I was passionate and hoped one day to become a reporter.
However, my dreams of a job as a reporter in Delhi were short-lived as we began our nomadic army life, moving within short periods from one cantonment to the other.
In every cantonment, there was always a need for well-qualified teachers. So it made sense to enrol for a teacher training course, and soon I took to teaching with great ease and comfort.
The most significant advantage of being a teacher was that the timings were convenient, the job satisfying and gratifying. Not my first choice, but over the years, I became committed to my profession.
A year ago, when I finally retired, it took me a while to get used to not waking up at unearthly hours and rushing to work, day in day out.
It has finally dawned on me that I am free, to do whatever I want to, and have the freedom to keep experimenting!
It also made me look back at the years gone by and think.
Are all our decisions taken to keep others happy?
Sometimes it is the easiest and best option, and you need to accept and adapt.
What do I want to do now?
I still want to feel useful and not redundant. Yes! I would also like to pursue hobbies and activities that give me joy and challenge my proficiency.
I have the time now to be selective and try my hand at whatever invigorates me. I would also like to occasionally indulge myself, meeting up friends, going for picnics and just gossiping.
A friend of mine, who is an artist, is now experimenting with making designer lamps. She needed to do something new.
We do outgrow hobbies, passions and should be willing to experiment and try out new vistas.
Interests, motivation, inspiration and ideas evolve, and it is essential we accept these changes and not shy away from exploring.
I was never at liberty to travel while I worked, and now that I am, the pandemic has put my plans on hold. I like to be optimistic and think that this will pass soon enough, and the world will unlock, and travel will be feasible.
To see the marvels of the world and meet people from different regions during travels will be exhilarating. “There are miles to go before I sleep” and I pray that the future will permit me to fulfill my dream and explore the world.
I was terrified of swimming, having a fear of water. Last year I got over my reluctance and inhibition and tentatively entered the pool. I felt liberated.
Conquering my fears was my challenge. It was vital not to have any regrets and let my fears hold me back.
My latest preoccupation is writing. The minute I start typing words flow magically. I feel all alive and have so much to share.
Writing every day is making me think and focus. It makes the lockdown tolerable and instils me with hope. I know that things will return to normal; one just has to be patient. It has also made me aware of how fortunate I am as compared to others who have been financially hit by the pandemic.
I now find myself brainstorming and having silent conversations with myself. I often think I have exhausted all the topics I wanted to write on; then in a flash, I know what to write.
I now know that writing is meditative and demands a lot of self-reflection. Delving into my thoughts, and penning them on paper has made me enjoy my “me time” and mitigated my fear of being alone. I am also getting to know myself better, and as I write, it’s as if my foot is off the brake and I am accelerating full speed ahead. And there is a sense of excitement and enthusiasm so crucial to keep me motivated.
We are all creatures of habit, and modifying previous habits may appear formidable. However, it is essential to fill our lives with varied experiences to live a life of purpose and fulfillment.
I have learnt that desires and dreams are dynamic and keep diversifying. Wisdom is to accept, acknowledge, adapt, attain and achieve the maximum as life is never constant. I have also learnt that,
“Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” – Carl Bard
This post was previously published on Hello, Love and is republished here with permission from the author.
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