I have got some explaining to do.
You can’t call yourself a writer, if you don’t write. That’s all there’s to it.
It’s not like I haven’t thought about writing since I wrote my last article here. This January, I sat down and watched all four seasons of Sherlock. The intent, of course, was to write something about it. The draft progressed as far as two structural revisions before I stopped cold turkey.
I wish I could handwave this away as an annoyingly persistent writer’s block. The truth, however, is stranger. And in parts, predictably boring.
Welcome to the Rest of Your Life
I am pretty much done with my undergraduate studies by this point. Barring any unexpected setbacks, I will be wearing a black gown and cap and posing for pictures by the end of the year.
You are never ready for real life, when it comes knocking at your door. It grabs you by your collar and yanks you out of your cozy bubble. Your cute little briefcase, filled with all your clever plans, skills and credentials, wrapped carefully with your hopes and dreams? That’s one of the first things you lose in the frenzy and harshness of the adult world.
You are never ready for real life, when it comes knocking at your door.
You come to realize, very soon, that adulting is a different ballgame altogether. It’s no longer a game of improvements; rather, it’s a game of trade-offs. You must choose the things you want to keep in your life. That also means having to choose the things you must let go. The choices you make stick with you.
You look back at all the choices you have made so far, and think ‘what If?’. If you aren’t careful, those what-ifs can become dangerous distractions. You only have so much time for daydreaming. You have work to do, and responsibilities to handle.
You realize that you have grown old. You can’t afford to think like a kid anymore.
Depression, and Death of the Soul
It feels strange to talk about depression at length. It’s been there by my side long enough for it to feel normal. It’s frighteningly easy to get used to feeling dead inside.
The first few months of this year, however, were especially trying. I felt my soul dying, wasting away in real time.
I felt my soul dying, wasting away in real time.
My mind reeled from the onslaught of despair and sadness. It reacted, perhaps as a coping mechanism, by amplifying my empathy to eleven. I could feel others’ emotions, experiencing them in high definition. And then, for a brief moment, I became hyper-aware of myself and my consciousness.
I could see all the versions of myself, that came before. The child, the nervous teen, the intrepid adolescent. They were all ghosts now, lost to the rivers of time. And now, I was becoming a ghost too.
Every day felt like a struggle. I took what help what I could on this slow march towards soul-death. For a while, watching motivation videos before heading off to office became a ritual. Time, however, was on the side of cynicism and anger.
A strange thing happened, as I felt the embers of my previous self fade away. I learned to take care of myself. I decided to put my ghosts to sleep, and make peace with the inevitability of death.
Life, of course, isn’t so easily solved. There are still days when I find myself teetering on the edge. To tell the truth, perhaps one of these days, I will let myself fall.
Knowing, and Not Knowing, What Love is
“You don’t even know what love is,” she said. “Yes, I don’t know what love is,” I snapped. “Just like the way I don’t know what design is.”
If only that she was right.
I know what love isn’t. Love isn’t putting someone on a pedestal. It’s not about looking to someone else to fill the emptiness inside you.
I know enough about love to know I am not in love anymore. I do remember how that felt, though, in bits and pieces.
Love isn’t putting someone on a pedestal. It’s not about looking to someone else to fill the emptiness inside you.
I remember seeing you as a person, warts and all, and being filled with warmth and gladness. I remember feeling proud about how you have grown, in all the time that we have known each other.
I know that love is not enough. It does not fill our bellies or pockets, or ease our minds from everyday worries. Love is not enough to overcome barriers that were in place long before our births.
Perhaps, you were right. Maybe, I have forgotten most of what I knew about love. Sometimes, a stray conversation or two is all it takes to bring it all rushing back.
Maybe I should take notes the next time we talk.
Failing, and Failing Faster
Building startups can often feel like raising a child. Yes, it’s a painfully obvious cliché. But it also feels painfully apt when you slip into the shoes of a would-be entrepreneur.
You feel the responsibilities and duties of being a parent soon. Trying to get a content blog up and running doesn’t exactly require rocket science. The devil, however, lies in the details.
Building startups can often feel like raising a child.
Working on UpThrust is akin to enrolling in a constant crash course. Every small gain can feel like a major victory. Similarly, every setback can feel like a monumental loss.
Sometimes, I ask and expect too much from UpThrust, like all parents do. Learning to let it breathe and grow at its own pace is also part of this experience, I suppose.
I know I am not father of the year material, or anywhere close. I am just getting used to doing this. Nevertheless, sometimes it feels like UpThrust is growing up too fast. As is the nature of all things, this too shall pass.
One Last Thing
Writing is the needle that connects all versions of myself in a single thread. It’s hardwired into my being in a way that other interests and aspirations aren’t. At various points in my life, I have grown tired of those other things, but that’s not the case with writing.
Writing centers my mind and keeps it nourished. I write, even when I am not in my best spirits, because I don’t truly have any excuse not to.
Writing isn’t supposed to be easy.
Writing isn’t supposed to be easy. There are times, however, when it can seem frighteningly difficult. That’s one of the big reasons why I have procrastinated so much as a writer. As long as I am not writing anything, I don’t have to deal with the possibility of my work not measuring up to others’ standards. Or worse, my own.
Why worry so much? Life is short. You don’t get that much space for words on your gravestone. I don’t know what’s going to be there when it’s all said and done; I hope, however, that it ends with “He used to write, too”.