(This is a rambling, introspective post, with no particular point to it, other than a reminder to my self to do better.)
Kushal Das, wrote a lovely piece on inclusivity and generosity of spirit. What hit me though, (ergo this note to myself), was his thundering twist of a climax
He goes through the post talking about how his life’s been one roller coaster of highs and lows and people pulling him down like crabs in a barrel, yet other mentors pushing him hard to do his best.
And then he ends with
You don’t have to bow down in front of anyone, you can do things you love in your life without asking for others permissions.
At what point can someone who writes call himself a writer?
When he turns pro in his head. You are a writer when you tell yourself you are. No one else’s opinion matters. Screw them. You are when you say you are.
I wish I had learnt this so much earlier in life. In a strange fit of domain blindness I somehow translated “Carpe Diem!” as seizing the day, doing my best work, but for others!
I spent close to ten years of my life learning skills, getting better yet lacking the courage to do what I wanted to do. Maybe if I wasn’t so chicken or worked extra hard for myself, things might have turned out differently for me too, instead of me being here, all of thirty-nine, wondering where the years went.
But thanks to the wife and her courage, I was inspired too!
I realised that I could not wait for life to hand me opportunities on a platter. I could not wait for all my problems to go away, before I could make a risk free change. I have only one life to live, and I don’t want to see myself ten, twenty, fifty years down the road, once again ruing the choices I made and the chances I did not take.
And the other related thing / flaw / weakness that I got over last year, was that I stopped waiting for people to give me permission. I used to think, that if people were older, more experienced, they would automatically be more wise, in all domains of life.
Now I know through bitter experience that, that is simply not true. I am smarter, much smarter than most folks in some areas and dumber in most others. The same holds true for other folk!
So it’s all up to me, to build myself up, to learn more, put myself out there and make something of myself, trusting in myself and amor fati.1
Like Horace wrote over two thousand years ago …
dum loquimur, fugerit invida aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.
In the moment of our talking, envious time has ebb’d away. Seize the present; trust tomorrow e’en as little as you may.
And to wrap it up even more succinctly, here’s Steve Jobs2, driving the point home (transcript below) …
So, the thing I would say is … When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your … your life is just to live your life inside the world, try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money.
But life … That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is …
Everything around you that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.
And the minute that you understand that you can poke life and actually something will, you know if you push in, something will pop out the other side, that you can change it, you can mold it. That’s maybe the most important thing. It’s to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it.
I think that’s very important and however you learn that, once you learn it, you’ll want to change life and make it better, cause it’s kind of messed up, in a lot of ways. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.