Am I losing control?

“Control what you can control. Don’t lose sleep worrying about things that you don’t have control over because, at the end of the day, you still won’t have any control over them”

Cam Newton

I’m back after a brief hiatus. The last time I posted here about a week back, I had undergone my RT-PCR test for detection of corona virus and was awaiting it’s results. Thankfully, I tested negative and could carry on with my normal life. My parents heaved a sigh of relief as they were a million times more worried and scared than me. Over the weekend, I got the opportunity (blessed as I got tested negative right before it) to go on a short getaway with my friends. This was a long awaited trip and we enjoyed every bit of it.

Back home, I was forced to dive straight into reality. Going on vacations rejuvenates me yet I’m never pumped up to get back to my normal routine after the end of the trip. On the other hand I’m left with an intense feeling of doom and gloom which takes a while to get over with.

In the past week, I underwent a roller coaster of emotions. It started off from feeling extremely happy about myself and the results of my fitness routine to pitying my existence. I get extremely worked up even at the mention of my marriage at home. It is something my mother is really looking forward to, but this might be one of the most difficult things I have to undergo in life. I truly believe now that I had a slight bit of control over all my earlier problems in life.

I read a TV actor’s love confession on Instagram yesterday, she said that every person deserves a partner who understands us, believes in us, inspires us, helps us grow and truly cares for us. These are simple personality traits of a decent human being yet it feels like an impossible task to find such a person. An unmarried girl who has crossed the age of 30 is directly or indirectly made to feel like a burden in the eyes of the society. Even though she is completely happy and content with the manner in which she has led her life, all of her achievements fall short before the mention of her unmarried status. My relatives and most of the people who are dearly concerned about my marriage today were missing when my family led a difficult life throughout my childhood. No one offered to help us with the expenses on our education yet these people are willing to pay money (huge sum to the tune of Rs.35,000) to a marriage broker to find a prospective groom for me. Few of the marriage broker’s requirements were a pictures of me in traditional attire and answers to questions such as, “Does the girl know how to cook food?” or rather “Is the girl comfortable in cooking food for the family after coming back from work?“. While cooking is a necessary life skill which I wish to posses, my male counterparts are never asked such questions even when they lead the exact same life as us!!!

In the midst of this I gave an interview for a job which I couldn’t prepare for, owing to my own carelessness and blamed it on my anxiety. I never felt this before but after I gave a shoddy attempt at this interview, I realized that I suppress myself. I deliberately sabotage my attempts to excel at my work for reasons unknown to me. I know I am capable of doing much better at my workplace and my career yet I never try my best. There is something that holds me back and I will try to find out what it is to the best of my ability. As of now, this realization is a great starting point to work on improving myself in this extremely important aspect of life.

Pouring my thoughts and feelings here have made me feel better already. Here’s to finding those tiny little things that help us cope with the inconsistencies in life, a little better each day!

Can be better

#87/100

“I hope you do not let anyone else’s expectations direct the course of your life.” 

– Julianne Donaldson

In my previous organization, we were given a lot of work and there was never a moment to spare. The attrition rate was very high which practically forced us to be on our toes, learn different skills and grasp new work in a short period of time. The first few months were a blur, I never understood what I did at work. Slowly things made sense and by the time I left the organization, I was solving issues that I always admired my seniors for doing. In one of my review meetings, I was praised by the senior management for my quality of work which was better than was expected. The expectation there was basic, do the work allotted to you accurately and avoid making errors. Any work done beyond this expectation was applauded like handling a team well or completing work well within the deadline even with a low staff count.

Things changed (for the worse) when I joined my current organization. Firstly, I am part of the cost function here (I don’t make money for the organization) in a team filled with sales professionals and traders, hence looked down upon. No one says that directly but one can sense it from other people’s behavior or the general work environment. Secondly, I don’t get any feedback on my work from the only person whose opinion matters, my boss! I started with zero expectations (visibly excited to learn new things from scratch) which fizzled out in a month when the person who taught me work left the organization. I realized that I am on my own from now onwards without anyone in my team. I tried understanding my boss’s expectations but he was always vague in his communication. My boss who is 30 years my senior, has a very old school mentality of learning at work. Instead of giving more work, he expects me to ask him if he has any work. He wishes that I interact with every one in my vicinity and learn about their job. That’s how he wants me to learn everything about everything.

I tried doing it in the beginning. I probably didn’t give my best attempt as this way of learning was against my personality. I am a shy and introverted person, it takes immense mental strength for me to ask someone a normal query. I keep thinking that I’m disturbing the person or might not get a satisfactory response. This is not a new thing, I’ve never asked any queries to my teachers from school to college, I always tried finding my own answers. But this was the prime expectation from my boss and I had no clue how to live up to it. I kept shrugging it to off to a point that every single unsatisfactory response from my boss makes me feel that he HATES me! It’s really nerve wracking to end each work day on an unsettled note truly believing that I’ve disappointed my boss. He doesn’t say anything to me on my face but gives sarcastic replies at times proving my suspicion right.

I know I’m not going to be around working for this person all my life. This phase is temporary. It’s just that every single day at work becomes a burden when you feel unwelcome and somewhat hated. Oh yes, he has never really appreciated any of my work till now, it’s been around 2.5 years that I’ve joined this workplace. He compares people’s achievements to his own and feels that the present generation doesn’t work hard enough. You guessed it right, he is a ‘baby boomer’. His work ethic and knowledge is admirable, he earned it all on his own. When you have done so much in life, it becomes difficult to appreciate anything that’s less than yours. That’s where empathy comes into place. You lived a different life, it’s unfair to have unnecessarily high expectations from the present generation and mock them for not doing better. Everyone is doing the best they can.

This is one of the main reasons on having terrible Monday blues and dreading the end of each vacation. I don’t wish to go back to being burdened under the painfully heavy weight of my boss’s expectations. The only way out is to do my best and enjoy what I do. My sanity and happiness is always a priority and anything that goes against it doesn’t have a place in my life.

The blame game

#15/100

All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, it will not change you.

-Wayne Dyer

Do you have a person in your life who you hold accountable for all your troubles? I’m not talking about finding a scapegoat to pin all your worries on. This person might have actually caused a huge hindrance in your life. Your life would have panned out differently without the involvement of this person. It could be a toxic friend, sibling or parent. Someone who is a big part of your life yet a hindrance to your growth.

What do we do with such people? How should we ignore their negative energy in our life? Mind you this is a person you care about the most and can’t disassociate yourself with. Yet their insecurities, fears, selfishness, lack of knowledge casts a shadow on your life. You feel like you are are stuck in a rut and desperately seek a way out. Since this person couldn’t take responsibility of their life along with the ones dependent on them, you rose to the occasion. But this person would never accept their in-capabilities or acknowledge your efforts in setting things on the right path.

Now that you’ve been handling these responsibilities for a while, you feel lost in this journey of life. You do not understand the reason for your existence. You feel like you’ve given up a lot of your time for other people in your life and cannot identify with yourself anymore. The responsibilities that drove you earlier and gave you a purpose have transformed into a burden. You gave up the crucial days of your life trying to set things right for your family and ended up without experiencing the carelessness and freedom enjoyed by a teenager. Now that you are an adult and are ‘expected‘ to take care of everything, you want your childhood back, your innocence back, you feel like taking a backseat.

There’s a turmoil in your mind and you take it all out on the person who was supposed to make you feel safe, be there for you, shield you from troubles and guide you. But they didn’t do any of it. Is it right to keep accusing the person for your troubled past, burdened present and blurry future? Can we allow another person’s inadequacies to control our life’s decisions?

I’m a big admirer of Oprah Winfrey and absolutely look up to her for motivation and guidance. She had a troubled childhood too, yet she didn’t let that define her destiny. With everything that went wrong in her life, she discovered her purpose and aligned her life’s choices with it. Despite all the accolades, fame and fortune earned by her, I respect her for being happy with her life. Everything else is superficial if it can’t give you peace and happiness. One of her famous sayings goes like :-

“You are responsible for your life.”

It’s a simple and profound thought yet extremely difficult to implement. Especially when you have dealt with many situations in life which you weren’t responsible for and were beyond your control. But these situations are a matter of the past now. Your reactions to these situations determines your present and future.

I have to accept this harsh reality. I would be able to see the silver lining and maybe change my life for the better once I own my life in it’s entirety. I’m clueless on how to begin the process of doing what it takes to take the reins of my happiness. I might stumble and fall along the way but hope to be persistent on this pursuit of being responsible for my life.

Free as a bird

#13/100

The other day while having a general conversation with one of my closest friends about my work life, she asked me a basic question that put me into a deep thought. I told her I wasn’t enjoying my work at the moment and am very confused about what I want to do in life. She asked me to tell her about any activity apart from work that I really enjoyed to do. I do have such activities like running or writing but I couldn’t envision a career in them at the moment. I really enjoy them as my hobbies, without a specific rule book attached to it.

She told me then that I like to travel and explore. I like to be ‘free as a bird‘. The realization made by this simple sentence hit me hard. Tears welled up in my eyes, my eyes went moist right now while typing the sentence. This is exactly what I want to be. I want to be free from any expectations to act or behave in a certain manner, dependency to continue something that my mind doesn’t enjoy doing, low tolerance to mistakes and failures, the need to beat the competition and not better my own self. My mind and personality aren’t made for cut throat competition. I like to be free willed, set targets for my own personal development and achieve them, only gain motivation from my peers and not be forced to be better than them on paper to gain a promotion. After working in a corporate job for 8 years, I feel more alienated from the crowd than be a part of it. I feel like running far away and never return back.

I have some responsibilities at home at the moment which need my support and attention. Until then, I need to convince my brain to help me out and make me happy doing what I am supposed to do. Alas, our brain doesn’t act that way. If our brain wholeheartedly rejects something, it takes a long time to even understand that something’s wrong. I’m watching a very insightful video currently on the “Neuroscience of depression”. It’s such a brilliant video which explains everything that goes wrong in our brain when we experience depression. The worst part of it is that nothing is under our control. However, as with everything in life, there is a silver lining here as well. Depression is treatable. You can have a lot more understanding of your thoughts if you try to understand how your brain works.

As far as I am concerned, I’m really trying to live each day as it comes. I try to find happiness in small things like watching my favorite videos or eating good food. I’m also regularly practicing meditation which is like a deep relaxation for my mind. I instantly feel refreshed after a 20 min meditation session.

I do secretly pray to be “free as a bird” sooner than I can imagine. 🙂