Life lessons

A youngling recently came for a Sleepover. She is in tenth grade. And we Indians love to obsess about the boards, what to do after tenth, and if it’s a girl, then, being extremely choosy about college. Imagine if she were to make friends with the wrong kind. Oh no! She will be ‘out of parents’s hands’. And that is simply unacceptable.

If only they were that choosy about selecting the husband, life would be so much more better.

Anyway, she came home and most part of the night was spent pondering over which stream she ought to opt for. I gave my two bits, of course. Selecting commerce at that level is a very bad idea. It’s premature is what it is. Sometimes, I wish they would make all subjects compulsory till twelfth. Some young adults know exactly what they want in life, but they are a few. More often than not, people in general, are a confused lot. Why would you want children to choose so early on?

Anyone can make the transition from natural sciences to humanities and social sciences. Anyone. But once you have decided on taking commerce or accounts and give up natural sciences and math at that level, you can never take those subjects again. That is the advantage they have that I, as a social science graduate don’t.

But I think what made most sense to me was to tell her that no matter what you ‘pursue’, life will keep teaching you. Nobody knows what they are doing. Oh, they are writing, publishing, working… But everyone is as confused about life as she is. Everyday, every minute you choose to do something, you are not doing something else. She said, ‘it’s just that I want to do everything at once.’ Who doesn’t? I want to do my phd but I also want to work in the fancy/swanky Facebook office one of my older cousins keeps talking about.

I told her that life will also teach you. All your classes at school aside, life lessons are the most important. They teach you how to survive.

But first, life will break you. It will undo you. It will leave you vulnerable. But life is also about balance, even while it throws you off balance at every available opportunity, don’t you think? It gives you chance to rise like the very Phoenix. But not without the hard lessons first. Life is a process of unlearning. Now, you can try to stay protected by going to a jail like college or hang out with the same circle forever, but life is not about comfort. It will catch up with you eventually. And sometimes, your workplace might be the very place life has lessons waiting in store.

I told her she will have to accept her weaknesses, and no, not make them into strengths, they are called weaknesses for a reason. But she will have to work through it, learn to love herself for the way she is and stand up for what she is.

Life isn’t easy. Life is no tragedy either. Well, you heard about the beholder, right? Life is no jollity. Life is ordinary. But the inane can offer you with opportunities that will help you grow into yourself. And that’s the goal. To finally grow into yourself, being happy with who you are, shadows and all, seeking no one’s approval, and having a strong internal locus of control.


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