Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Unchased

I had always thought of myself as the been-there-done-that-person. So when I read this post by Usha, it made me reflect. I was a passionate twenty-something with a taste for adventure. Took a few years off after college despite the promise of well paying jobs and crossed the line into the artsy world. Jaded and a couple of years later, took a flight to the US, searching for new adventures and to go to a Grad school that had an excellent ranking in the artsy field. I was going on a mission of self-discovery, after all. Nothing was unattainable, not if I wanted it badly anyways. There were mountains to be scaled, rivers to be crossed and roads to be uncovered. Metaphorically, of course. And I had to do it on my own. No second-hand experiences for me, thank you very much. After all, the map was not the terrain. How far could I go? What would or could stop me? I was my own master. Surely, the answers to the questions of the soul could not be found in the ennui of mundane life. I shuddered at thoughts of being squeezed into a watertight schedule, getting married, keeping house. That life was not for me. I would live my dreams- not just sit on their periphery- leaving none unchased. Thus spoke the hubris of youth.

And chase my dreams, I did. One adventure after the other. One lesson learnt after the other. Some good, some not-so. With each experiment, I was convinced I was a better version of my old self. This was true. But only partly. The flaw in my meticulous rationale was that I had to be a bohemian, turn my life into a roller coaster ride to truly get "it". There was no other way, not to me. But my way had its failings too, like every other way usually does. I was missing a point. In trying to achieve the big things, I was losing out on the smaller ones. Looking back, I think my school experience precipitated that idea. As art students, we were encouraged to attribute a larger meaning to everything we saw, heard and felt and frankly, in some, rather in many instances, it took on quite a comic quality. And when I met BigGeek, the dichotomy grew even more. In the end the pendulum swung to the other side.

I had planned to go one way and ended up going the other. But such is the story of most people. By the time I was ready to leave my twenties behind, most of my dreams, chased, lay behind, half-forgotten. The fervor was lost. The passion had cooled. I was squeezed into a watertight schedule, got married, kept house. I often wondered if people are born with a fixed dream quota and if I had finished up mine in my twenties. Most of my dreams are not really dreams now, they are more like desires. Some are of the go-there-see-that variety – go to Manasarover, take a trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway, cross the Arctic circle, some, a little more life-changing – start a dairy farm, be a stay at home mom, write a book and get it published. I would be happy if I did these things, but it won't break me if I don't. So, if there is a dream that I have now, it probably is to truly live in the moment. No matter how big the moment or how small. I chase this dream from time to time, but it's hard, very hard. And when I look at Chip, going where his heart desires, not shackled by remembrances of the past, nor afraid of what lies ahead, I suddenly realize the true allure of having a child: that they live in the moment, here and now and as you watch them, you do too.

8 comments:

Tharini said...

So so immensely true. Wondefully written. Manasarovar is a dream/desire for me too. Am putting up a post on rainy day activites, as u requested, quite soon. :)

SM said...

"So, if there is a dream that I have now, it probably is to truly live in the moment. No matter how big the moment or how small."
That's exactly how I feel! Woderfully eloquently written!!

noon said...

Wow - well said. Beautiful post...really enjoyed it. Tharini's last post and my latest post and this post - all speak of children's abilities to live in the moment. Is it possible to do so easily only as a child? Why is it so difficult to do as an adult!

DotMom said...

tharini: thanks! you write so wonderfully, too.

sm: amen, sista!

noon: if you find out, do tell me. I don't know why it becomes so hard. fear maybe?

Usha said...

Wonderful post - in fact I got sucked in the present too until my son was grown up and I had a career - and then on a rainy day from my quiet corner I was thinking of the things I still need to do and the post came out - but as I said, no regrets.Life has moved on while I was busy with other things and there are still other things like spending a week in the foothills of Himalays which I can still do. :)

Mystic Margarita said...

Lovely, lovely post. Children are not burdened my aspirations or memories - that's what makes them so innocent and pure.

DotMom said...

usha: hope you take your holiday soon!

mystic: wish I were like them, don't you?

bird's eye view said...

That's so true, the best thing is to live in and cherish the moment!