A date with self-doubt

To set the past week in perspective, my first working day of the week was Friday. I had worked from my room’s desk Monday through Thursday (the small pleasures of a start-up ), and started an independent consulting project on Friday. The week has been one long weekend. I’m writing this as I watch Tron on Z-Studio from the corner of my eye, and it’s well on its way to a rotten 10% on my personal TomatoMeter. All this lone time got me remembering how different my thoughts were in July, when I decided to leave my US job and return to India.

My reasons were personal: a longing to spend my life in India, a desire to be with my loved ones in a time they seek company, my affinity for a simpler life, and my hope of doing more meaningful, spiritually satisfying work that lets me help fellow living beings. After discussions with my loved ones, my enthusiasm multiplied as I learned we all wished for the same thing: to be together. The path looked clear. It was now a matter of breaking the news in my office, and preparing to leave.

And all along, there was doubt poking me on the side. Trading a high-paying job for unemployment? Exchanging security for uncertainty? Moving from the Promised Land to the crowded, chaotic homeland? All this, driven by some obscure ideals that usually invoke a raise of the eyebrows? The burden of my decision felt very heavy, as it felt like my entire life hinged on this one choice.

And here I am, four months later, drinking chai sitting on my terrace and writing a blog. I learned some things along the way:

  • No matter how heavy and critical a decision may seem at the time, life will always move on. All decisions, in time, become a matter of the past. Life does not stop.
  • Why fear making the wrong choice, when we can never fully comprehend the impact of our decisions? Life usually plays out differently from the way we imagine it. There is immense liberation in knowing you do not know what’s coming, even if you watch your steps carefully. In the Mahabharata, Bhishma pledged never to marry so his father Shantanu could peacefully marry. Although he did this to bring joy to daddy and Hastinapur, in time it led to war between Shantanu’s descendants. This would not have happened had Bhishma assumed kingship, and left no room for a new king. So we see even in our mythology, it is usually exhibited that we can never fully control the outcomes of your decisions. So why fret?
  • It is important to make a choice, and then make peace with that choice. If the choice we make does not bring us peace, we are subconsciously choosing what’s easier, not what we want. We live once, so why cheat the heart? If we truly choose what “we” want, not what somebody else wants, we will find peace.
  • It’s all summed up in this quote I read somewhere – “Life is so rewarding, even in mishaps, that to complain is to miss the whole point.”

So if a big decision awaits you, or looms in memory from the past, lay back, relax and tell yourself you did well – and it’s all gonna be alright.

Chilling my heels in Alleppey, Kerala
Chilling my heels in Alleppey, Kerala

5 thoughts on “A date with self-doubt

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