[Previously on TTC: What gave me the thrust to do this was the very first sentence in Warning!: ‘The end. Where everything begins again. None has welcomed the end of something without another launch in mind.’]
Like I said, irony! What a wonderful, wonderful way for the world to express itself. Most of the times the past is restrictive, burdened with shackles and rot, but last night it had set me free. Opined and consolidated in the proper way, in a single sentence, at the right time, it gave me the thrust I needed to break out of the vicious circle.
See, I’m a firm believer in the continuity of life. There are no beginnings or ends. There are only stages, boundaries between something that was, something that is, and something that will be. These stages may not always be clear but they are very much present.
Thankfully I was reminded of it last night.
How can someone forget something what defines him? You may wonder. How could I have forgotten my very first manuscript, a project full of writings and ideas and thoughts so central and crucial to me?
You’ll be surprised. It happens slowly, imperceptibly, day by day and thought by thought, word by word, choice by choice, through the words and thoughts and ideas we exchange with others during our everyday lives, during which the lines get blurred, then erased altogether. Without gentle or stark reminders such as Warning, or any warning, we end up lost in the flow of time, going down roads other people are carving for us, roads we have begun to adopt as our own.
We sometimes wake up to this reality soon enough and attempt to break free, making amends just in time. But if we have veered too far, too deep, for too long and without checking in with ourselves and what drives, what really compels us, it’s hard to change course.
That’s when the depression hits. We realize that we’re stuck, stuck inside a mode of life we want to get out of but can’t.
Bleak as it sounds, this fate isn’t terminal. The trick is to set up a present in such a way that when it becomes the past, it can propel you on, not depress and bury you. Sometimes you have to do this for yourself. You need to have the right conversations with the right people. You need to converse with yourself even, so that the gaps others leave in your life may be plugged.
Sometimes you need to be your own best friend and worst enemy so that you may have a say in the opinions that determine your way ahead.
Sometimes you have to embrace your enemies because your enemies test you on a pivotal level, giving you feedback and insight no friend ever could.
Sometimes you have to embrace the dated manner with which your old friends and loved ones regard you because it highlights what you don’t like about yourself, while at the same time revealing how far you have progressed. The more dated and quaint your inner circle’s approach to your evolution, the more you have changed. It’s a good thing, or it can be, though no one will ever tell you. People like their friends and loved ones familiar and predictable. They will resist all kinds of change in a person, even those that are truly beneficial to the one undergoing it. You have to fight to transform yourself, and acknowledge the metamorphosis with your own eyes, taking a little pride in it. Own what you’ve done, and others will come around and honor what you’ve done, in due course. Sometimes.
Other times they won’t. Too bad. You’re not here to convince everyone. Sometimes less is more — fewer friends and loved ones, smaller circles, but vital to your wellbeing, beneficial. Truly loving and friendly.
Sometimes you have to enter the darkness — and stay there for a while — to appreciate the purpose of light.
Sometimes you have to be buried in a tomb to appreciate the value of fresh air and animate life.
Sometimes the way out of a box is to break into one and find something that reminds you of who you really are and what you really want in life.
We’re bound by boxes everywhere, all the time, physical and metaphysical. Our home can be a box, if we take it for granted, if we don’t maintain it in a way that fulfills us. Sometimes the value of one’s home shines when one spends time away from it.
The same goes for adventure. Sometimes we take it for granted and forget the excitement that comes when breaking from routine. Sometimes the value of the chase becomes apparent when you spend too much time in homely comfort.
Sometimes good things can be found at the most unexpected places, at the most inopportune moments. Grab them and they lift you out of your slumber, into soaring heights. They extract you from the vacuum and bring you back into a vivid world where you may live again. They give you a closer perspective on things.
Maybe this is why I haven’t broken out of the bigger box yet. I’m still learning what life is by rushing back and forth, through the various barriers whose presence gives meaning to the things they separate. One day I may yet transcend these barriers, fulfiling my quest for something larger than life. If I am lucky, I may even realize that what I had been looking for all this time was much simpler than what I had in mind.
In any case, I need to keep searching.
Watch this space for Part 15