I never used to believe it, but we all have choices. I held a pretty deterministic view of life. I believed failure or success was pre-destined.
Choices define our lives. It defines us so much that many of us live in fear of making the wrong choices.
Me? I admit I was a pretty stressed out soul getting really angry and upset with myself for the choices I have made in the past. However, somehow I never got angry with myself for too long, because I believe everything happens for a reason. Making poor choices leads to valuable lessons and accumulated reasons, making good choices leads to increased faith and happiness. Therefore, in my opinion, there’s really no such thing as a bad choice. Success or failure, we are all learning along the way. Sometimes, you just take a while longer to get to the destination, but they always say, it is the journey that matters.
Here I am, staring at the vast ocean through the window of my room. Wondering about myself and my choices. Reflecting on my life and the path that I have chosen. My life could have turned out really different, but do I want the difference?
Sometimes it is really difficult. Seeing peers acquiring assets and attaining career success. I am human after all and sometimes I wish I don’t have to worry about money, I can afford to buy a house and a car, and I can have my parents living off me. Which could be possible if I have chosen differently.
Over the past one year I have met incredible people in different interpretations of the word. Through the hard work I have put in I have had the opportunities to work in a couple of big-name companies. Even if I didn’t want the corporate life, I could have been working in a very successful startup, earning the sort of keep that will not only keep me worry-free financially, I could probably afford to buy almost anything I wanted (I don’t go for luxury goods so that’s not that difficult to fullfil).
I also gave up the opportunities to work with people that I admire. On projects that may not be fulfilling financially at the moment, but definitely potentially life-changing.
I gave all of that up.
To find myself again, so that I can be myself.
I don’t deny I think of all these things wistfully, I think of the car I could have bought, the house I could have saved up for, the smile of my parents if I were to give them that fat red packet.
So when people tell me that I’m ‘lucky’ or ‘cool’ because I am ‘free’ to travel around and enjoy breathtaking views, I don’t really know how to react.
Because most of them will not know all that I have given up to be where I am today. And it is really not easy. I give people the impression that I am simply a ‘heart’ person and I make decisions like these with a snap of my fingers.
Nobody knows the nights of insomnia and all those tears behind my smile.
A friend of mine once told me, there are two ways to change the world. One is to become rich like Bill Gates and start contributing massively to charities, the other is to be like Mother Theresa, giving your whole life to everyone else without expecting anything in return.
I can never be the Bill Gates sort of person, neither can I be Mother Theresa. Who am I kidding?
But I hope and wish that by being true to myself I can somewhat encourage more people to be true to themselves as well. By writing openly about my issues and hurt I can let a few tortured souls realise that they are not alone in how they feel. By being idealistic I hope to remind some people of their ideals again.
They are all lofty wishes, but I hope and wish and I try. I never thought that I could change the world, but I thought that the very least I can do is to be the change I want to see in the world.
Perhaps the act of giving up to be where I am now will never allow me the same opportunities again. Perhaps it will bring me even more opportunities when I am ready. All I know is that I try my best. I believe if I try my best and do what I truly believe in, satisfaction will eventually come.
I believe everyone has a different role in this world. Once in a while there comes a Steve Jobs or a Bill Gates to shake the world. Albert Einstein, Mother Theresa, Gandhi. There are the ones who give up personal time, family, love, just to create a product, a mind-blowing film script, or a book that will influence the minds of society.
But there is also the housewife that does her chores and brings up her kids the best way she can, giving up any form of career and ambition. The man that works in a boring 9-5 job faithfully for 30 years just to support his family in the best way he can. The woman who spent 25 years of her life walking around America without a single cent just to prove that compassion exists.
We all have choices. Sometimes these choices may not seem to be worthwhile on the surface. Sometimes nobody will see the value or understand the choices. Sometimes it is difficult to live with our own choices. All the what could have beens.
I think we just do our best. We all have different priorities. The easiest way to make a decision is just to ask yourself whether you will regret this on your deathbed.
Till date, I think I haven’t made any choices that I would regret on my deathbed. But I think I can do better. I want to make choices that I will be happy with on my deathbed.
As I was writing this post, I put a “do not disturb” sign on my hotel door, and a hotel staff quietly puts a change of fresh towels and water quietly on the table at the balcony. This is a simple act that many expect or take for granted. I manage to catch a glimpse and I saw her placing those items with her utmost care quietly, with a small smile on her face. She left without knowing that I was looking, or that I was touched by her simple gesture.
Our choices often create ripples of repercussions without us knowing. Good or bad, you get to choose.