Friday, 1 May 2015

The Things I Have Learnt

I have recently been told by somebody who I deem is important to me that I am as tarnished as everybody else. It was meant as an insult. As an attack. It was meant as a reminder that I am fallible. I am happy to report that I have long since accepted my fallibility as a human being, a sister, a daughter, a wife, a girlfriend, a friend, and every other role one can think of. I have even been a most disappointing audience once, when I fell asleep and may have snored a little during a grand musical performance everybody else seemed to be enjoying. I have been a disappointing trainee on more than one occasion, when I failed to lift a weight my trainer felt I could lift.

I am comfortable with disappointing people now. Not because I am a disappointment. But because I have long since accepted that I cannot be perfect, I do not want to be perfect. I am happy to hobble along my way through life, making my mistakes and figuring out my own learnings. It is so much better to do that than borrowing learnings.

Borrowing learnings is a dangerous job. You read stuff, you hear stuff and you then start quoting that stuff. Call it self help, spirituality, psychoanalysis, whatever. But soon enough, you start believing you know the stuff you perceived. Nope.

Knowing comes from living through experiences. Or knowing comes from complete empathy and faith. Complete empathy that if a movie can scare the pants off somebody else, it could do that to you too, and then deciding if you want your pants scared off you. Is that a good example? Perhaps not. Complete empathy that if people say they feel mildly sick after being force-fed curd rice, they are probably not lying, and instantly offering them a steaming hot plate of Medu Vadas. Complete faith that sticking your hand in fire will give you a horrid burn, even if you have never done it before. Learning from complete empathy and complete faith saves us a lot of time. For instance, you need not know the exact principles of how electricity works for the fan to start rotating when you switch it on.

Everything else is borrowed. Borrowed learning is pointless because it creates this illusion that you know, deep inside, when actually, all you know is the definition.

All I have learnt on my own is that I must take care of my body, and my body feels good when my mind is at peace. I know that when my mind is at peace, I am a more effective, productive, happy person. I know the people I love and who love me back, irrespective of my journeys and the milestones on it.

I know that I must get enough sleep, that I love good music, that silence is precious. I know that people just want to be heard. Not everybody is looking for a solution. I have learnt it's easy to be nice. I have learnt to be happy at silly things. I have learnt that I cannot base my life on feelings because they change; I therefore stick to my commitments. I have learnt that I do not have to make commitments just because I am expected to do so.

I have learnt that doing things you want to do is one way to be at peace inside. I have learnt that if you wait for universal agreement, you will be waiting an eternity. I have learnt that sometimes, the universe is one person.

I have learnt that death is coming for me, sooner or later. I have learnt that the idea of never seeing a loved one again is the sort of wound that never closes, whether you pick at the scabs or not.

I have often felt ridiculously lucky.

I know that a good cry helps as much as a hearty laugh.

I know no more. And dear universe, everything you throw at me, I shall tackle with the knowledge I have learnt. I am hopeless at using borrowed knowledge, I have learnt this too. Mostly, dear self, just focus on being at peace with how you live your life. I am not the authority on this but it seems to me that that sums it up.

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