Until two months ago, there was a huge chart hanging on my wall, right beside my writing desk. It was my vision board. I had captured my best dreams upon this sheet of colored paper, and in the most beautiful way. Everyday, for over a year, I would stare into the chart and keep reminding myself that I have a mission to accomplish.
I had to become the strongest self-help author there ever was, and save the world like a new-age Captain Marvel. And then there were those international best selling novels in my kitty. To top it all, I wanted to transform the educational system, and buckle up all those kids in the world to gear up the future. All of this was until two months ago, when I tripped and fell head-first on the streets of Tokyo and bust my lips. And until one month ago when I began to feel my body cry out the word “stress” repeatedly, calling me up on a sudden, impending danger that I was so far unaware of. It is called Time.
I am intrigued…what about Time?
Time is age, and it is catching up with me.
Every time I stepped out of the house, an irrational fear would grip me, and yell into my head that I just had to make it back on time. The fear would grip my feet, clench my insides and delete every other thought from my brain. I could put only one name to this fear, and it was called “stress.”
Even though my family and friends tried to alleviate this intense pressure through their well-intended words, I began to feel that if I did not listen to this stressful call, I would go insane. And insanity, is my greatest fear.
As I tried to analyze the reasons for this sudden bout of unreasonable stress, I was able to shed light on a few probable causes for my stress-call. The loudest call was my age.
I am almost forty. And forty is the age when my parents began to fall into the unforgiving health-issues whirlpool. Both of them, on account of their circumstances, neglected to care for themselves until it was too late. My father passed away when he was four years short of his sixtieth year, and my mother lived to see only one year past her own sixtieth. Neither of them lived comfortably in their physical states ever since their fortieth year. And I, am almost forty.
It is not my genetic age that concerns me, as much as the concern of how I age.
And how do you want to age?
When I answered the call from stress, I began to visualize my future, in the way I have taken to visualizing these days. I began with the end in mind.
I saw a robust woman in her mid-sixties sitting on a swing with her husband, watching the orange sun go down behind the hills near her home. I saw her long, thick hair, streaked with mild shades of silver flow with the breeze. I saw her steady fingers kneading dough, preparing to bake for her family. I heard laughter in the background – a small gang of young adults and their children, I figured. The woman looked contented and fulfilled. I could feel her contentment and fulfillment, especially since she was wearing my face.
With that end in mind, I broke away from that visualization and began to assess myself from where I was now.
The swing is here, and so is the husband, as are the sunsets behind the hills. Except that they are all there by themselves in their busy lives, and this incomplete picture feels empty.
I am nowhere close to robust. Three days on the go to the office that works from the opposite side of the road, I lose my energy to live by the time evening rings in the sixth hour. My hair is thin and lackluster. My 12-year-old is still a momma’s boy and needs to shape up if he needs to grow into that healthy, intelligent, young-adult age.
My story is not going to move to where I want it to go, if I continue to remain stagnant at where I am.
And so, the perspective shift
You are not going to save the world then…
I am going to continue writing. I have been preparing myself to become a writer ever since I was a child. Undoing the mysteries of the unknown is way too exciting and intensely satisfying for me to give up on that activity. Besides there are too many words inside my head that will drive me into insanity if I don’t spill them out. What I am going to do, is slow down my ambitions. I have realized that breaking my head over international bestsellers, in a world of international bestsellers, is not for me. I am also going to stop worrying about whether you are reading what I have written, or like what I have written. Worrying about things I cannot regulate takes up a lot of my energy. And I am not going to do that anymore.
I am going to reach out to my inner child. My sister-in-law has taken to playing throw-ball, because her childhood craving to master the large ball was too hard to resist at the sight of a neighborhood throw-ball team. I am going to listen to my inner child too. She has been begging me to curl up with some Phantom and Tintin comics and a large bowl of potato chips for quite the while now. There is something extremely satisfying in getting back to a small piece of childhood, regularly. It feels like me staying with me.
I am going to grow up. Adulthood is all about responsibility. And the first person, I need to be responsible towards, is my own self. Over the last three years, I have worked on my sense of self-worth. I have been building myself as a writer, expressing my intelligence and helping others express theirs. In between all of this though, I have continued to neglect my physical well-being. And through those stress-filled calls, the wise woman within has made me aware of her breaking points that I was so close to breaching. Now, it is time to start caring for my physical self, as much as I have for my emotional and mental self. It is time to reach and sustain a balance of well-being.
I am going to slow down. Yes, I want to write, I want to travel with my husband, I want to enjoy my son’s growth, and I want to chat with my friends. In between all of this, I also want to manage an organized home, nurture my cooking, create beautiful journals, and indulge in the alchemy of beauty potions. There is something else that I want to do too. I want to listen to the birds sing, feel the breeze upon my face, watch the night sky light herself up, and relish the smell of earth after her first showers. And if I have to do all of these, I need to become mindful of how I pass my time. I need to become mindful of how I gain and spend my energy. In other words, I need to slow down. I need to slow down to embrace my time, and energy.
I am going to stay grounded. Thinking is easy, writing a short challenge, but doing – doing is a test of strength. Doing is also the only way to transform ideas into reality. I have wandered through life, learning and unlearning, all inside my head. I have even brought myself to gather up the habit of writing regularly. But I have only now found the woman in me, the woman that yearns to live well. If I have to keep this woman with me, I need to stay grounded to my well-being. I cannot afford to remain the wool-gathering girl that trips and falls on foreign lands.
I need to stay grounded to deliver the gift of well-being, peace and contentment to the memory of my beloved parents. I need to stay grounded so I can deliver the gift of well-being, peace and contentment to that robust old woman sitting on the swing with her husband. I need to stay grounded to me…
Here’s to bringing the lost us back home to well-being! Here’s to completing a lifetime through peace and contentment!