A young child stood clad in his worn out pajamas. You could make out his diaper as he grappled with controlling his legs. He was at an age wherein he would not remember this day. There was no sun, only clouds and a strong breeze that thankfully didn’t sweep him astray. His father stood from a safe distance, both marveling and trembling as his son slowly walked away – towards unfamiliar ground, towards dangers that were unfound. Yet the boy would constantly look back to his father, seeking approval more than permission. Rules have yet to be taught, caution could wait til he could talk.
Today, it was a day only the father would remember in exactly the same way.
I had taken to writing my 2018 goals this evening when I found myself trying to recall what I wrote last time. I had written one last year, not that I had the habit of writing every year. Last year just happened to be one of the years I did. I taped that piece of paper literally on top of my bed. In the position I figured would be leveled to my face if I was perfectly supine, back when I was still living in the student dorm. I had planned to see it before I slept every night, to reinforce my hopes into plans. And perhaps turn those plans into reality. I had probably stared at it longest on nights when I was farthest from what I had written. Truthfully, most nights last year I was too exhausted or preoccupied to have looked at it – I had little time to lay on the bed and admire my ceiling with the lights on. Most nights that year, I turned off my lights and headed straight to bed after cleaning up, in that order. And as the tendency with most things constantly around us, we lose consciousness of their presence with time. They blend into the habitual, their initial value fades. We forget their presence and underestimate their worth. What was once a shiny goal sheet had become a piece of paper I would only sometimes notice again. And the times I noticed it, I would always wonder if I would fail the year’s resolutions again.
Yet I was overcome with sudden gratitude. Finishing my thesis was definitely the first thing I had written there. I had received my PhD degree right at the beginning of this year. To write “that” book, which I had no idea of what it was to be about at that point in time, was also one of the things I had included there. And I printed the manuscript for a piece I had written for my mom at the end of last year. It was a small 60 pages, but those memories were precious. And while I had written India as a travel goal, I went to Nepal instead. Perhaps I should put something else just in case it works that way for dream places? The weight goal was something I never achieved because I had written (a perhaps unrealistic) 50 kg. Weight-lifting didn’t help. In any case, last year was the most consistent I had been in exercising. There were weeks I ticked 6 out of the 7 days. Though December was a complete fitness fail – nothing like the remnants of a holiday to motivate you into going back strong to the gym life.
I feel like I wrote something else, something along the lines of smile more often or be a better person. But it escapes me now. Interestingly, the ones I remembered were the actual goals instead of general reinforcements.
In hindsight, I never consciously pursued those things I wrote. The thesis was the only exception. It was a glaring, shouting, insistent milestone anyway to begin with. I had moved out of the dorm by July and had not posted the goal sheet in my new room. Needless to say, that goal sheet was out of sight and had long been forgotten when I actually finished my PhD, started writing the book, redirected my frustrations to exercise the most often and decided on a spur of the moment that I was going to Nepal. If it had worked its way successfully into my subconscious can be argued, but I was nevertheless thankful and awed at how things just somehow turned out fine in the end. My 2017 was far from perfect, it broke my heart in so many places, in places I doubt will ever heal again. In the same way, it gave me back so much – my faith, in so many things. I wasn’t able to finish writing my 2018 goals tonight because I ended up writing this post instead. But tonight’s gratitude was hard-earned, and it is but comforting to remember that however big my doubts and fears were when 2017 began, it had somehow worked out in the end. As with all dark periods. Dear reader, please remember that.
Baby blue powdered unto softened gold. Purple curtains where red and blue lay in proportions untold. And if you wanted to write happiness, you’ll end up with a double rainbow. In the same way that sadness is a gray melancholy that gives birth to a rain of orbs.
I’m 29, currently unemployed, single and at the throes of figuring out a career path after an unremarkable PhD. There is no resolution yet in sight, but for some reason I am not petrified. Yes I’m scared, but there’s a difference. This point in my life is yet another beginning of so much possibilities. It’s the end of all possible formal schooling and the start of more selective and conscious learning. I’ve lost many, I’ve kept what matters. But perhaps the weight is an exception, I welcome more loss. And more of what matters. In starting this new blog, I will try to keep to my plan to be brave enough to write about pain, failure, and uncertainty as I feel it. To be unashamed of these lesson-bearers. And in the same way, I will try to stick to my plan to see through clouds of happiness, because it’s not always sad girls who write. Happiness deserves to be an inspiration, because we are not undeserving of it.