A Letter to my 15-year-old Self

Dear 15-year-old me,

I promise I’ll try to avoid spoilers which could ruin the fun of future for you.

You’re probably busy juggling reading, writing, studies and what you’ll later consider to be your first meaningful relationship. Trust me, you’re doing a great job.

I know you aren’t too nervous about the exams, but in case you’re wondering, you’re going to do just fine this time. You won’t really get what you were hoping for, but that’s not going to bother you much. You’re going to work when it counts (which is in your last year of school) and that’s good enough. Have fun while you can, girl; you’re not going to be a teenager forever! On that note, I strongly suggest you stop dreaming of being all grown-up. Even at 25 (which is an acceptable age for your standard grown-ups), you aren’t going to be too sure what “being grown-up” really means. Also, it’s not as fun as you think it is.

I’d have loved to give you a peek into my present life, just to dispel the foolish thought that you have your future all planned out. Don’t believe me? What if I told you that, by this time, next year, you’ll have decided to completely change the career path you’ve chosen for yourself? Or that it will shift again, by the time you’re in college, and then again when you’re out of college? You won’t regret most of these decisions, except the ones which you were forced into. But then, life has this strange but incredible way of somehow getting you where you’re supposed to be. So, maybe those weren’t necessarily bad situations even though they weren’t of your choice.

You are going to have fun with your career (atleast until 25, for sure)! You’ll get to dabble with a couple of jobs before you decide what you want. While every profession will have its ups and downs, you’re going to be relatively happy with most of it. Enjoy while it lasts, and if you’re ever confused, just go with the flow and follow your heart (yes, I know that sounds cliché and cheesy, although you won’t realise it at 15). One serious piece of advice for your work life: no job is worth killing yourself over.

That relationship you’re so crazy about in school? Well, you’re going to fall out of love in another year or so. You will learn to love again, in ways more than one (including an all-consuming relationship that’s going to change you to a great extent). Which also means you will go through heartbreaks (yes, you’ll have more than one. Or two.) and have dawn-nature-sunset-womansome really fucked up experiences (half of which will take years to make sense to you). I know what you’ve been through and I truly wish I could say it gets better. But it doesn’t. Unless you do something about it, of course. The single most powerful advice I can give you, which could possibly change your life, would be – learn to say NO when you have to. Don’t keep blaming yourself, kid. Not everything that happens is your fault. I couldn’t stress this enough, but it’s going to take another ten years before someone gets that drilled into your head.

Don’t be afraid of falling or making mistakes. Because there will be a lot of it. But you’ll have people to help you up, most important of them being your family and your best friend from school (oh yes, that bitch is going to stick around for longer than you thought). Meanwhile, keep reading, be open to new authors and different genres. Almost half of who you are and your perceptions will be because of the books you1321e-stipula_fountain_pen read. I still don’t know how you began writing but it’s going to stay with you for life from the looks of it. Find your voice, experiment and explore, but whatever you do, keep at it. While I have nothing to substantiate this claim yet, I’m sure your dream of becoming a writer will come true. Also, you’re going to start a blog soon. Please try not to abandon it every now and then.

Have faith in yourself. You are and will continue to be stronger than you think, overcoming life’s nasty (and not-so-nasty) twists bravely. Don’t worry so much about the meaning of life, try to figure out who you are and want to be, because you shouldn’t get lost in the crowd when you have to face the world in a couple of years. I could go on and on with this, but then what’s the fun in life, right? So, I’ll let you discover the rest of it for yourself. 🙂 Oh, and by the way, you don’t stay skinny all your life.

Lots of love,

Your wiser and awesomer 25-year-old self.

PS: As much as I wish I could somehow get this to you for real, that’s not happening, unfortunately. Even though a decade sounds like a long enough time span, time travel is still pretty much a fantasy. You’re going to have to wait till you’re 25 to know all this for yourself and write this letter. Sorry about that. And, no, post-scripts aren’t supposed to be so long. I just tend to rant. But I’ll stop. Now. This was fun.

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Changing Times…

This post is so totally about me! So, it could be boring. Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you! So, if you want to turn back (ie. if you have something better to do), please do so NOW!

Time seems to have gone by so fast. I still can’t believe I’m going to be done with college within a couple of months (hardly). But when I think about it, I realize that even though these 3 years may have gone incredibly fast, it has had a great impact on me. I have changed a lot…a lot more than what meets the eye. In essence, yes, I’m still the same. But in many ways, trivial and significant, I have changed. My thoughts and perceptions about so many aspects of life have undergone a transformation. The bond I share with some friends and my family have changed.

When I thought about it, I realized that I’m a different person now…a lot different from the person I was on the first day of college. I can feel it in me. Now, sometimes, when I talk, I think inside my head how new it all sounds to me, how much my views have changed. It strikes me that this isn’t me…or atleast, not the person I was. Initially, I was surprised. I had never expected this. But I love whatever changes have happened. And that gave me an idea – to write down the major or relevant changes in me, over the past 3 years.

Before: I used to believe one should have an ambition and should work hard towards accomplishing it. I always thought it was essential to find that one perfect job where you could find happiness for the rest of your life.

Now: I don’t think it’s necessary to stick to a certain career line for a whole lifetime. I think life should be experienced…and that, inevitably, involves doing what you want, what gives you happiness. Yesterday, in class, a teacher said that the youngsters of today don’t have a clear-cut goal or a sense of where they want to be. Well, I may not have a clear-cut goal but I’m truly happy with that. How can you plan for a future that is completely unpredictable? Yes, you can have dreams but a goal makes your life rigid…focused only on that particular outcome, not letting you do something else you might like better. I prefer keeping my options open, not restricting myself to anything. There’s a lot of things I want to do, lot of places I want to be… A goal wouldn’t let me live all that! Though maybe, you could say that my goal is to fulfill all my different, crazy dreams! 🙂

Before: I was really pious and an absolute believer.

Now: My perceptions about religion and God have changed so drastically. Now, I have formed my own concept about what’s God (as opposed to who it is). And I don’t believe in religion. Sometimes, I think God is more like an entity that men created so that they could blame someone for what’s happening to them. Well, that’s just another weird thought I had. No offense meant! Anyway, I guess that shows how much I have changed in this aspect!

Before: I believed that there existed a Mr. Right for me, somewhere out there, someone who was exactly the way I wanted my guy to be, someone for whom I would be a perfect match, blah blah.

Now: I do NOT believe in a Mr. Right anymore. You might find someone you truly love, someone who understands and accepts you as you are. But the whole concept of a Mr. Perfect is a total fantasy and nothing more (I have already blogged about this, and in case you want to check it out – Seeing Through Mr. Perfect…). My perceptions about relationships have changed like hell, too. I have become a lot more broad-minded and less demanding. I believe a relationship does not have to mean being together 24*7. It involves giving each other the time and space they need (something everyone might know but rarely put into practice), letting the other have a life of their own, knowing that you are always an inseparable part of it. It is about respecting each other’s choices and decisions…and a lot more, of course!

Before: I never had a particular attachment to my family. Yes, I loved them but I didn’t miss them when I was away or feel anything very deep.

Now: I’m extremely attached to my family! I may not be close with my parents beyond a certain extent but I’m really attached to them and my sisters. I miss them so badly. Even as I type this out, I wish I were back at home with them! 😦

Before: Until I got to college, I had only seen a small part of the world, known very few people. I didn’t know much of how diverse people could be. I never knew how fickle some could be.

Now: After coming to college, I have met so many different kinds of individuals. Now, I understand people a lot better and deeper. I have come to understand that there are people with so many different perspectives, behaviours and characters. And I have learnt to accept all of them, learnt to see through them, atleast to an extent. I have also realized the meaning of true friendship. Back at school, I had so many friends. We used to have this great gang and I thought we would be in touch even after school got over. I was very very wrong! But those who are still with me, I’m sure, will stay for life. And I know it will be the same after college. Those who stay, will stay.

Before: I used to study, atleast for the exams.

Now: I don’t bother to study. I go for the exams without even touching the books. The reason is simple enough: I hate the stuff I’m studying!

These are the major changes I could think of. Apart from these, some relevant changes would be: I started blogging (best thing that happened to me in 2011!!!); my perceptions about guys have changed a LOT; I have understood myself better; I discovered something I would love to do in life. And so many more imperceptible changes. I think I have begun loving changes!!! 🙂

In love with…UNCERTAINTY!!! :D

As I near the end of my course, one question I have been repeatedly facing is about what I’m planning to do next. It is a question I have come to dread. I find myself at a loss to give a proper answer to it. Of course, I can explain better to those of my age group. They will surely understand the confusion I feel, the indecision I experience. But how do I tell all the others (read : grown-ups, relatives or mere acquaintances) that I haven’t really decided, that I don’t know? Another reason for my hatred towards the question is the barrage of suggestions I get from these people: “Why don’t you go for CA?”… “You should take MBA in Finance/Marketing/whatever!”… “M.Com is the best!”…blah blah… I hate that whole talk about scope, job security and everything. I wonder why people just don’t ask me what I’ll be happy doing…or better still, why don’t they just let me decide and live my life?

Of course, how could I forget? Here (particularly, Kerala) if people have one constant business, it is minding (more correctly, poking their nose into) others’ business. I’m amazed at their untiring, enthusiastic efforts in this matter. Not that it affects me much…I don’t let others change my decisions. Anyway, this post is something like an answer to all out there who are so eager (whether genuinely or not) to know what I’m going to do next. 🙂

Around a month or so ago, I was extremely disturbed. Everyone around me kept asking what I’m planning to do after my course and I had no definite answer. It worried me that I had no plan, no idea about what to do. Even though some friends assured me that it was ok to feel this way, that they were all going through the same, it did nothing to pacify me. Then, I approached a teacher at my college. He seemed very friendly and kind of like the person who could understand my predicament and help me out. So, I had this talk with him. And guess what he told me? No, he didn’t guide me to choose something or advise about the best possible courses. He asked me…to enjoy the uncertainty I’m facing! Yes, as simple as that!! He convinced me that this stage in life is something I won’t be able to retrieve later on…that this is a time when everything in life is open to me, and I can do what I want. He told me to enjoy this phase of indecision because I can afford to do so! I loved the thought. I had never seen it that way. I was amazed by what he said…something so simple as enjoy what I’m going through! There is a certain unwritten rule in our society that we should always have a clear-cut idea of what we want to do in life, where to go next (in terms of career, mainly). The talk made me realize that it is not necessary to follow that rule…that all you had to follow was your heart!

Later, sometime during last month, I was reading a book named ‘Marrying Anita’ by Anita Jain. In it, the protagonist leads a gypsy-like life, moving from one town to another, never getting too settled anywhere…leaving a place where she has a good home, a decent job and friends…rebuilding the life at another place, new and strange; finding new people and opportunities. That’s exactly the kind of life I want. I know I will have to deal with a lot of loneliness, apart from other problems, but I also know that I will love the sheer thrill of it, and the discovering of a new place, all by myself. I don’t want to find a job, get settled in a place and live there for the rest of my life. I want to try out many different jobs, go to new places, so on. In fact, I don’t think I can or want to stick to a particular job for a whole lifetime. I came up with myriad possibilities, options I’d love to take up. I would love to work in a magazine, pursue writing… or maybe work in a library or bookshop, where I can be around lot of books… or try a little of journalism (I have been thinking a lot in those lines lately)… perhaps, something in the advertising field… or I would LOVE working as a movie/book review writer!! So many such ideas… Thinking of all this, I realized that I could actually do anything I have a longing for. That’s exactly what I wanted…and I’m happy I finally realized it. I’m exactly where I want to be, where I have always wanted to be. Which is nowhere in particular!! Yeah… I can go anywhere from here, choose to do anything I want. New places, jobs, friends…and when I get bored, start all over again. Basically, gather a lot of different, awesome experiences and live life. It was this realization that led me to this happiness. I truly began loving the incertitude that the future held…and couldn’t wait to begin that life. I felt like I had just found the zeal to live! The knowledge that I’m free to guide my life to whichever path I want has given me a deep happiness…something I have rarely felt before.

 

So, now if you ask me what I’m going to do next, I’d tell you: “I don’t really know, not yet at least, and I’m happy about it. Happy because I can decide what I want to do in my own time.” I don’t want to restrict myself to anything. I want to try whatever job that fascinates me, keep moving and experiencing life. That’s what I want to do… Damn! I’m absolutely in LOVE with this uncertainty!! 🙂

PS: To all those out there who are so concerned about my future – I hope I have provided a satisfying response and explanation to your question. 🙂