Saturday, October 30, 2010

Me against the world

I found this picture at the etsy shop of

Factoid 1: My greatest quest in life is to find my purpose; my calling; my destiny.

Factoid 2: I have been actively and passively engaging in this on a conscious and sub-conscious level in all the ways that I know of, all my life.

Factoid  3: Once in a while (actually, a lot of times in a while), I become absolutely convinced that I have found my calling and that the quest, though long overdue, is finally over.  This event is not a pretentious or a half hearted resignation to fate. It is a sincere and honest belief that I have discovered the blueprint for my life. My destiny.

Factoid 4: When this happens, the following events unfailingly result every time.
  • Scene 1. The place I'm at at that moment. 
    • At the moment of revelation, I tell whomever is around me that I have finally found my calling,  and after the spontaneous response of uncontrollable, rolling on the floor clutching the stomach laughter, they inadvertently conclude that either I'm trying to pull a fast one on them or that I'm being sarcastic about myself, both of which they inform me happen at an alarmingly high frequency. I console myself that though my credibility has taken a severe beating, I have found my calling(!!!!) and there is no power stronger and no glory greater.
  • Scene 2. In conversation with my father. 
    • Again, there is spontaneous laughter followed by a solemn oath of support from him. Father: 'If this is what you truly believe you want to do, I will support you with whatever you do. But if you start on this, you must persevere till the end. You know that Rome was not built in day and neither will you be. If you want to be a tailor, you can be, and I will support you. But then you must be the best tailor you can be. A job not done is better than a job half done. You must be clear of that!.'
    • Me: By this time, I start shaking in my skirt because, to be honest, I start wondering what the nitty gritties of my calling would actually be and I wonder of I could or even want to go through the process. 
    • Father: When he realizes that I'm floundering yet again, thats's when he loses it and gives me a disco version of how I'm 'wasting my talent and my intelligence and my oppurtunities and that it really hurts him to see my squander my life away.'
    • Me: This is when I'm trying to build a failing argument on how this is indeed a workable plan. But honestly, my mind is like this '#$%^%#^&%*'. (I'm not cursing. It's actually random symbols that float through aimlessly.)
    • One of us bang down the phone, mercifully ending a bewildering conversation. 
  • Scene 3. Lying on my back staring into space in a reverie of how awesome my life would be as an identifier and follower of my destiny.
    • In my dream, I'm hobnobbing with the rich and famous or planting an organic garden that stretches to eternity or being mobbed by grateful children and parents whose life I have touched or giving an acceptance speech after winning The Pulitzer or happily creating ceramic at a kiln or painting murals or cooking up a storm in a state of the art kitchen... you get my drift. Life has regained it's colour and I am happy once again.
  • Scene 4:  On the phone with Thom.
    • I tell him I finally found my purpose and have a brilliant plan on how to make it work. He patiently says 'Good Liz... tell me what it is.' (I know that he is groaning inwardly at this point but never mind.) 
    • I tell him my plan, having gained back lost confidence and gushing at the prospect of a self actualized life. He says, (and he always says the same thing. With alarming consistency. But steadfastness is him.) 'You should find out more about it. Of course you can do it. You can do anything you want if you set your mind to it. But I still think that writing is what you do best. Think about it. Take your time and figure it out. It's fine. You know who else started out late in their life? Buddha and Jesus Christ. You are going to be fine. And I will support you any way I can.'
    • And I do an encore of my response. 'But I don't enjoy writing! And I suck at it. I think I would make a fantastic waitress though!' (Or gardener or potter or IAS Officer depending on the calling in conversation.) 
    • Unconvinced, Thom always replies 'We'll see!' So much for that. 
Dejected by everyone's lack of enthusiasm and absence of vision in seeing that this indeed is my destiny, I decide to call my indefatigable mom, whose greatest regret in life is that she became a doctor when all she wanted was to be a beautician or even just a housewife with a little house, an Ambassador car and goats to get milk from. Now she would get me, even if no one else did.
  •  Scene 5: On the phone with my mother.
    • Me: 'Mother, I think I know what I want to do. I want to open a little cafe that sells everything that ends with 'cake': Cupcakes, Pancakes, Mousse Cakes and of course, Cakes!
    • Mother: 'Ha! Every day I call you, you have a new plan. And they are all so whimsical. One day you want to be a yoga teacher and the next day, a healer. And now its baker? I think you should stop your nomadic existence and come live with me. I love you so much. When you were small, you used to do everything I wanted and I used to make you do so much stuff. Waaa! Now you don't listen to me. Waaa! Even your grandfather misses you and your brother misses the cakes you bake. (But of course I can't be a baker!) Come home and do M. Sc. Psychology and M. A. English through distance education. You used to be such a good student even though you never studied. You can get so many degrees with no effort. But look at you. Waaa! You have only one post graduate degree. And your job? It paid nothing! Waaa! And where are you in life now anyways! Stop working and come sit at home now! Enough is enough. Waaa! (And I'm not exaggerating. This diatribe is delivered in one breath. Without a pause. In this particular order. And the 'Waaa!' is her whining. I couldn't think of a better way to put it.)
    • Me: Speechless. 
  • Scene 6. Lying on a bed on my stomach, trying to bury my face into the pillow. 
    •  I'm so confused at this point that my head is about to explode. 
    • Could I have been wrong? Was my brilliant idea just an exercise in my creativity where I'm unwittingly thinking laterally and arriving at out of the box solutions to problems? 
    • Do I subconsciously know that these are just fancy plans to punctuate my otherwise mundane days and humdrum life with much needed colour? 
    • Am I setting myself up for failure? 
    • Am I sabotaging my own chance of worldly successes and gains? 
    • In my bid to remain n my comfort zone, am I pretending to want an unbeaten path, so that when I end up back on the beaten path or off the path and on my couch, I can console myself saying 'I did try!'? 
    • My mind races, my heart beat quickens and my foreheads get clammy. At this point, I get my version of an anxiety attack. It's not as fashionable as the actual anxiety attack but it's fun nevertheless, in retrospect. (Claustrophobia and Anxiety attacks according to me, are the most fashionable of diseases. Apparently, everyone suffers from them! Everyone who is swanky and in vogue at least. Kleptomania should really be the most stylish disease. At least it literally lets you be stylish with all the clothes you could steal. I had an ex room mate who was a kleptomaniac and she was impeccably chic. She knew just what to steal. The disease and her personality were very complementary!)
But I meander.

Two minutes post the huffing and doing jazz hands in front of my face, I am back to the equanimity. Or at least my version of equanimity. And I neatly compartmentalize my 'brilliant idea' into the chest of vocations to be pursued sometime in my life. The Lord said, 'Taste and See.' I'm just doing what I'm supposed to be doing.

And like Thom says, it's better to try and fail than to do nothing or trod the same road. And I'm secretly hoping that my purpose in life is not 'to find the purpose of my life', in which case, this could go on till the cows come home.

Factoid 5: Getting back to the thing that started it all, the fortune cookies that say 'Look for the dreams that keep coming back. It is your destiny.', here is my list of dreams that keep coming back. Maybe I need to choose my destiny, rather than it finding me.

1. Photographer (The most persistent dream and my biggest dream of all)

2. Potter / Artist (The new addition to my list. And honestly, my hands are itching)

3. Travel Show Host (I love travel, I love food. One way I can do this for free is is by being a travel show host. The clothes and styling are just perks.)

4. Documentary film maker (That's what I studied to be for my PG.)

5. Psychologist / Counselor / Social Worker (That's what I studied to be for my UG.)

6. Journalist (Says Thom. But take a look at my blog. Succintness is not my saving grace. Hyperbolic rants are more like it. Maybe I could be a columnist.)

7. Baker / Chef / Restaurant Owner (Food, glorious food!)

8. Food Critic (Free food, glorious free food. Plus I get to be a lean mean killing machine!)

9. Soap / Organic Beauty Products Manufacturer (I can save the world one pretty face at a time.)

10. Product Designer (So many awesome things there are floating around in my brain that will die unfulfilled deaths if I don't bring them to life and allow them to serve out their destiny. Like me!)

11. Alternative Healer (This is one area I love learning about and I love engaging in. Alternative therapies. Parapsychology. Metaphysics. Plus I want to save the world. Two become One.)

12. IAS / IFS Officer (This is my mother's and father's dream, rather than mine. They think I'm a brilliant failure, to put it kindly.This is their solution for redemption.)

13. Organic Farmer (I am hereditrarily a  farmer. All my ancestors were landlords and farmers. I love food. I want to save the world. Three become one.)

14. Handmade Paper Manufacturer (I heart handmade paper. They have so much personality and are so real. I have such a huge collection that if I actually wanrt to start a shop, I wont even need to manufacture them.)

15. Bookshop Owner (Books are the closest to my heart after my family and travel. I could spend eternity curled up with a good book and not feel wasted. That's actually why I dont feel wasted now, even though everyone around me deems me to be. Books are my world.)

16. Traveler / Nomad / Wanderlust Satiator(I admit that this is not well thought through. No, I dont know who will pay for me. No, I wont be working. Yes, I will get tanned and sunburnt. Maybe I'll just sell some land of my landlord farmer ancestors to travel.)

17. Owner of Paris (Actually this is my biggest and most persistent dream and Not to be a photographer.)

Never mind everything I said. 'Owner of Paris' is the way to go. At least it is, if I believe in the above mentioned quote. And I do. So there.

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