The title to this piece is very straightforward; some of my life tactics that I would like to pass on to my next generation, so that they can easily ‘survive’ the complexities of life intelligently & stress-free (hopefully). I decided to write down some major points that can affect all of us, especially with the start of the New Year where we all become conscious of our past experiences, mistakes, unaccomplished goals & forgotten-bucket-list dreams. On the contrary, we also become aware of the many blessings & joys the past year has brought us and the efforts we’ve put into making things happen in life. In retrospect, the New Year gives us a clean slate and makes us a year wiser to become better versions of ourselves.
However, this can only be achieved if we possess the zest to learn and improve ourselves. As a brown girl grown up in a desi household, our parents did not make use of the skills and tools that we have at our convenience in present day. Sometimes, while growing up as the eldest daughter, I felt that the responsibility to rationalize and solve matters was heavily burdened on my shoulders and with this notion I still try to differentiate Drama vs. Reality when it comes to family matters. I will break down in simpler terms, so we can smoothly go over this and perhaps clarify our minds in the process:
DRAMA VS. REALITY
The root of a problem usually lies in the way we perceive them. There are times when a problem to one might seem more of a nail-biting issue than it is to you. For instance, when you are pressured to get married and settle down because you are reaching your thirties. Aunties and other ‘onlookers’ start noticing you and you are constantly reminded that after turning thirty, marriage proposals may diminish just as your fragile youth is slipping through your fingers. You may mock at them, roll your eyes and walk away but you know they aren’t going to stop. The drama associated with this issue which may be a non-issue to you and you are mostly unaware of UNTIL the same concerned well-wishers become constant commentators on how you should be living, reminding you of a supposed ‘deadline’. When the voices around you start aggravating you, this is when you stop and ask: is this mostly brought-on-drama or is this REAL? Meaning: “Haven’t I put myself out there and am I not open to the idea of marriage? Yes I am!” Let’s check off REAL. DRAMA? Meaning: “Oh no, I might never get married since these aunties probably think there’s something wrong with me. Wait, is there something wrong with me? What’s wrong with me?!”
Big Deal vs. Big Challenge
When we think of problems, we categorize them as small, big and the ones that are impossible to tackle - the REALLY BIG DEALS. The same big deals that have the tendency to revolve around our daily existence and creep into our minds - making us feel inferior, insecure, incomplete and eventually helpless. This pattern can have major ramifications on your mental health as you can easily fall prey to depression. A big deal to lose weight and stay beautiful and fit, because, well since it IS a big deal, you know! <insert sarcasm> The attitude that comes with dealing with your big, humongous deals is the main deciding factor in how you approach this deal and the eventual outcome thereof. Turn the big deal into big ‘solvable’ challenge and viola! ...an attitude change is to follow! Now, go happily tackle those unwanted pounds and no pouting, okay?
Motivation vs. Arrogance
Arrogance is implied in matters of assuming that you are better than others; that somehow you have the right to ridicule, look down upon those who don’t know better since you’re so perfect, right? You fail to learn and take advice from your elderly, your caretakers and loved ones who know you since birth. They may be overly dramatic and concerned brown parents, but ultimately they want or ‘think’ what is best for you - even if you disagree, be always motivated to show respect, because the sheer motivation to stay positive instills the willingness to listen and you never know when your brown parents may turn around to give you a pat on the shoulder. “Shaabaash bachchay!”
Anxious vs. Exciting
The mantra to living my life is to stay free of any disconcerting matters - that’s not to say that life is lived problem-free. Many there are of course, but since I see them as challenges rather than problems, my mind automatically frees me of the anxiety associated with having a problem. Instead of becoming anxious, I try my best to excite myself with the prospect of overcoming a challenge; be it the envy of someone I know and their treatment towards me, or the unfairness that life throws at me. Knowing that I can perhaps change the course to my destiny by staying excited and full of life, I will be able to defeat my demons and steadily carry on with utmost focus.
See that girl right there talking behind my back? Let her talk some more since I am awesome and you know what? I don’t care. Only good things in life excite me.
Judgmental vs. Free Spirited
When dealing with people, it is inevitable not to be overthrown with judgments and certain looks. Some judgments may heavily breath on your neck or even wear you down, depending on the importance you put on what others think. Do you think their thoughts and comments will decide the outcome of your actions? If yes, then we need to talk. If no, then you are mature enough to realize that unnecessary comments shouldn’t be of any influence in your life. Once that realization is made and your attitude is in place, ignoring all of that is negative and embracing all that is positive - you have my friend, become free-spirited. To let your spirit be free and full of wonderment like a butterfly chaser and a stargazer - no matter how fairytale-ish and imaginary it sounds, the naivety of keeping one’s innocence alive through playfulness and having an open mind, makes for an uplifting spirit which translates into becoming a mastermind in problem solving pertaining real-life situations.
The Good Life vs. The Mediocre
We all strive for the best in life - our needs and wants revolve around wanting and needing the very best, but oftentimes we cut ourselves short from our own expectations or judge ourselves too harshly. In the process of doing so, we may not be seeking our best potential as we stop pushing ourselves and become victims of the very Ordinary, the very Mediocre, thinking that life can’t take us beyond current situations and obstacles. This is poison to our capabilities and slowly kills us from achieving anything. Once the strife is over, the hope ends and so, without hope or improvement, the very ordinary remains - the mundane, monotone and dull routines of your life takes over and you start accepting the mediocrity as it is expected - like a potato couch wasting his/her life and precious time rather than stretching out the next morning and deciding to take control, to finally go for that jog and use your new, unworn Nike’s to good use! Why do you think your fav celebrity made it to Hollywood or is making the big bucks while you sit here watching them admiringly from the convenience of your couch and protected walls? They actually work very very hard to look good, to perform good and live The Good Life. That is why. Push yourself, no matter how hard it may seem and believe me, the first time you take that Zumba class, you probably would want to run home feeling like a fool; not being able to quickly follow your instructor’s every dance step may make you sweat in utter embarrassment. Don’t lose motivation, Keep on going. Keep on bettering. Keep on pursuing YOUR best life.
“It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer.”
- Albert Einstein -