If only

We tend to hinge our happiness on things and people. A long bus ride could have been more enjoyable if only we had brought along our earphones. A difficult day would have been less disheartening if only we had a special someone to talk to. A tiresome month could have been more tolerable if only we had lived somewhere it snowed. An uneventful year would have been so much better if only we had been able to take that vacation trip we wanted to.

Our happiness just riding on a trail of If Onlys. The things with If Onlys though, is that, once you actually manage to have that elusive person or place or thing, its magic fades away. And there you go, looking for another If Only. It’s a never-ending drama, which also makes your happiness a perpetually incomplete goal.

This whole ordeal just seems to stink ten times worse when you are scrolling through social media. Everyone else seems to be having a whale of time! If only I had that. If I had that person with me. If I had lived somewhere else. If I had gone somewhere else. I would have been happier. If only.

So what do we do?

Here’s how I deal with it: I try to squeeze out as much joy or peace out of any day that I can. Sure, I would love to go to Reykjavik. I would love to just drop everything and go. But hey, where I live isn’t so bad! The unyielding sunshine piercing through the trees! The petrichor! Amazing! I could paint! I could cuddle in with a book and a cup of tea! I could go to that cafe and gorge on garlic bread!

Whenever you think of If Onlys, try to think of the million Coulds you should do. The trick is to make yourself The Happy Place. When YOU become more interesting than a place or an idea or even a person, when YOU amaze yourself with the things that only YOU can do and when YOU become the source of your happiness…

My God, YOU would be a fearsome, wondrous thing to be behold.

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Love.

What a beautiful word. When was the last time you said it? When was the last time someone said it to you?

Love as a verb – I love you. I love chocolate. I love running.

Love as a noun – A mother’s love. Love for your country. 

Hold on to that word. Reserve it for the truly beloved.

The first time you say it to someone, it would be to someone who gives you the butterflies. All the feelings, jitters and tingles that only innocence can bring forth.

The second time would be to someone you respect and like very much. You would think you’ve grasped the true meaning of the word.

The last time and final time would be to someone who feels like home. Someone who makes you love yourself for who you are around them. Someone who brings out all the beauty in you and around you. That’s the one that lasts.

Save you.

I came across this really profound post on Tumblr.

It’s okay to love yourself. It’s okay if you end up with yourself.

It’s okay to save yourself. It’s okay if all you can do in this lifetime is save yourself.

I’m just going to leave this here.

Three’s a crowd.

Friendship is a tricky equation. It remains quite simple as long as there are only two variables in it. It’s easier to know where you stand when there is only one other person in the room. Add one more person to it and you might suddenly feel yourself swimming in a cesspool of doubts and jealousy. Suddenly, there’s room for collusion.

Do they like each other better than they like me? Do they share more with each other than they share with me? Oh god, am I the third wheel in this friendship?

Even communication becomes complicated. It’s not easy to let the pieces fall where they may. It’s hard to accept the fact that your other two friends may like each other more than they like you.

You don’t want to be a desperate doormat or a lonely third wheel. All you can do is accept the pieces of the friendship that is extended to you, with amazing grace.

Whatever stories or myths you’ve come across, I’m pretty sure you’ve never read about a herd of unicorns. They appear as stand-alone characters – pure, beautiful and yes, alone. Not with their mates, not with their foals. Always, always solitary. It might seem a bit forlorn, lonely even. But I don’t think they feel that way.

Instead of being awash in insecurities and envy, you can choose to be a unicorn. You see, unicorns know where they stand. They stand first where it matters the most – in their own rainbow hearts. And then they saunter about dazzling everyone because heaven knows nothing beats a unicorn.

Window to the World

The voices of the world are heard through a string of letters and sentences strewn together. We cannot all speak at the same time; our voices would drown each others’ out. But we can all read at the same time. Whether you read for pleasure or with purpose, reading is a window to the world. The only way to know what’s happening out there, in the vast and overwhelming world, is to read regularly and extensively. Without that knowledge, you become irrelevant in this competitive world.

To convince people that you  can lead them, you need to be aware of what needs to change and what needs to be created in the current status quo. Reading teaches you powerful ways to make yourself be heard and improves the way you put words together to make a larger impact. It allows you to encounter different perspectives of an issue. It expands your view of the world, helps you grow as an individual and dream about the way things could be. You could enter so many different worlds through a few pages and often reading between the lines offers invaluable insights about how the world works. As Albus Dumbledore puts it:

Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic. 

A Note for You

Whether it’s broken bones, broken heart or a broken soul, I think the one thing that truly does have the power to heal you is music. Music doesn’t glue up the broken pieces together. It just makes you forget that anything was even broken in the first place. Therein lies the true, potent magic of a few notes strung together by profound verses.

Unknowingly, we are all connected by the gossamer threads of the songs we love and cherish. Somewhere, someone out there loves the same song that you do. Someone is reliving it. Someone wrote it for you. Someone sang it for you.

So when everything seems bleak and cold, cling on to those notes sung for you, written for you by a person you will probably never meet. After all, as I’ve said before, I believe in the kindness of strangers.

Hey, little train! Wait for me!
I once was blind but now I see
Have you left a seat for me?
Is that such a stretch of the imagination?Hey little train! Wait for me!
I was held in chains but now I’m free!
I’m hanging in there, don’t you see
In this process of elimination?

Hey little train! We are all jumping on
The train that goes to the Kingdom!
We’re happy, Ma, we’re having fun!
It’s beyond my wildest expectation!

Hey little train! We are all jumping on
The train that goes to the Kingdom!
We’re happy, Ma, we’re having fun!
And the train ain’t even left the station!

Great Expectations.

There’s always this voice in the back of your head.

Am I doing the right thing? Am I disappointing them? Would they think I’m a slacker? Am I not doing as much as I should be?

We all deal with parental expectations at some point – some better than others. It’s a vicious cycle. We make a promise to ourselves, to never inflict this affliction on our offspring. To be a better generation of parents. I’m sure our parents thought the same.

It’s a common notion that the true purpose of evolution is to pass on our advantageous traits, yes. But more precisely, it is about producing a generation that was better than ours. A generation that can accomplish what we couldn’t. And this dormant desire awakens every now and then to beat freewill into submission. At some point, we all tell our children:

You were supposed to be better than me. You were not supposed to make the mistakes that I made.

And even if the words are not said aloud, even if they learn not to say them with the passing days, their echoes reverberate through time and distance weakening our confidence and inducing pangs of guilt.

Learning to ignore these echoes is a marvelous life skill. You see, it’s not about doing what your parents want you to do.

It’s about doing what you want, in a way that will make them proud.

Sentence.

“Oh she’s pretty. Pretty in that dress. That pretty… Huh. Must not be that smart. Probably a bitch. Yeah, she’s a bitch.”

How many times have you thought that? Sentenced someone to bitchdom because they were beautiful in a way you could never be? That such good looks must be balanced with a nasty dose of vanity and a dollop of stupidity?

That’s the only way you can swallow the injustice of the disparity in the distribution of good genes. It’s not fair otherwise.

Women have a tendency to tear each other down without knowing who exactly they’re tearing down. It’s like a cage competition. You enter a room. You scan the competition. You size them up and then dole out a judgement if you won’t win.

Pretty. Stuck up. Peacocker. Plain. Very blah.

It’s a very primal (re)action. But the reason we were given an extra sense to separate us from primates was so that we can quarrel with ourselves and very painstakingly change our preconceived notions about people and things we have yet to perceive.

So next time, before, or even after you pass a sentence on someone, will you try to hear them out?

I know I will.

What Elsa said.

Let it go! It doesn’t matter! It won’t matter years from now. What does it matter what anyone thinks? It’s only going to affect you if you let it affect you! Let. It. Go.

Wow. How many times have you said that to someone? How many times has someone said that to you?

Someone said something to/about you? Let it go.

Something bad did/will/could happen? Let it go.

Everything sucks? Let it go.

Everyone sucks? In case you haven’t got where I’m going with this… *clears throat*. Uh Let. Uh It. Uh GO.

But how the damn hell to let whatever-the -hell-it-is go?

Seems easier said that done. An advice that we hear and say ever so nonchalantly is actually a life skill that’s hellishly difficult to master.

Sometimes it’s easy to set down the burden. Liberating to fold it in to a paper boat and let it float away. Satisfying to set it on fire and watch the embers. And sometimes you just can’t let it go.

Personally, I’m still trying to get the hang of it. Sometimes I pull it off, sometimes I don’t. But I guess if you keep practicing enough, it becomes like muscle memory. A reflex reaction. I prefer to refer to it as a superpower called awesomeness.

You’d be invincible.

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