I have been a person who finished writing his masters thesis in 3 days only sleeping for 4 hours every day. I have been a flood relief volunteer who went 16 hours without food for days, to build shelters. I have donated platelets the day before my engineering final exam, without my parents knowing. I have built an automotive powertrain simulation tool ground up, without any help, and learning every bit of it myself. I have taught underprivileged kids. I, always, was an athlete. I have been tested for my temperament on and off the field. I have driven great conversations with my peers where we discussed real issues and their possible resolution.
There are few things I KNEW about myself. I have shown phenomenal focus to execute a task that I set my eyes on. I have always valued impact. I have done things that have had everlasting positive impact on people I don’t even know. I have always thought that I will leave a legacy for my next generation. I will be remembered as someone who made life better for many and one who made a world a better place. I am destined to be part of a cause bigger than myself.
Last few years, however, there has been a relentless routine. Everything is great. I am employed. Paid well. Bought a house last year. Had a son couple of years ago. I don’t have to think twice before buying anything. I did not have to go out during pandemic as I had the privilege to work from home. I have wonderful friend circle that has stood by me all along. I get hot water in my house. I am privileged enough to have a huge space for the family. Cornucopia, really. It is peaceful. Everything is in its place. I am reaping the fruits of my hard work. But this keeps me up at night. It is unsettling.
How many people have I touched in those last years? What have I done to improve lives of those in need? Nothing. I have a list of life goals and plans and mission and vision. How many of them have I even started working on? Zero. And this is not me. This is not how I see myself keeping up for the rest of my life. I have been putting out first world fires every day. My mind is always distracted and every minute I get for myself is spent in “resting” from the rest of the world. My brain is cluttered with all the issues that I need to tackle, conflicts that I need to resolve and people I need to be there for. Both at work and outside. I dance around to keep up the overall mental well-being of people around me. I lend an ear to anyone who needs to rant, crib and complain. I am the punching bag. A reliable one. All of what I listen during the day, runs into my mind every night. It is the life of a daily soap with absolutely ridiculous first world problems, around people who i could not get to maintain an internal locus of happiness. I don’t know when the last time I could instigate a good conversation with anyone. I don’t remember the last time I focused on something insightful and impactful and drove that conversation with people around me. I am unable to find interested people and unable to generate interest in my existing circle. I have made every single person around me be hostile to me. There is no respect. I have been instrumental in degrading my image. I have propelled people around me to have absolutely no regards for my well being.
I am unable to generate a certain level of trust among the people around me. I don’t think i am successful in making them see me as important. They, obviously, love me, want to see me succeed in my goals. But, somehow, I am not able to get them to contribute towards the process of achieving that. I am not able to make them see the importance of my goals, dreams and aspirations. I cannot get them to respect me. Everyone is so engrossed in getting me to solve their problems that I hardly get a breather. I haven’t built a presence where my word is ultimate. Many times it so happens that even if I am right, I am not able to proliferate the weight of my word in the room. So, people end up going the other way and end up learning the hard way. I am getting myself pulled in all directions and, certainly, getting myself pulled away from my goals. And it is no one’s fault but mine. I have failed to keep up. I have failed to build relationships and I have failed to build my importance. And I have failed in expanding to people who see my worth. I have lost my way. My confidence level is the lowest. Sometimes what keeps me up at night is the possibility that this is not a temporary phase. The possibility that I wont be able to accomplish anything I decide. That I will create an environment that will interrupt, discourage or even prevent me from accomplishing what I decide.
Few things I KNOW about myself, though. I will not quit. I will keep chipping away. It will add up. I will not give up on my goals. On my dreams. I will work on my own without anyone knowing. I will make it to the next level and will keep going. I will not stop. I will not talk where I am not listened to. I will ignore the noise. I will not try to change the things around me and burn out in the process. I will not condescend to the thought that a louder voice is stronger. I will knock down doors, keep inching towards my goals and dreams. Because I have to. As long as I am breathing.