Losing the compass.

Life is a journey. It has a definite start and an end, but how we connect the dots is totally up to us. We may end up spending all our days saving for the rainy day and hit the end before it ever starts raining. Or, we may live with throwing a fig at caution and never see the end coming. Its not the fact that we connect the dots, but it is how we connect them that matters. 

As kids, life seemed infinite. There never seemed to be a lack of time or space to do whatever we wanted to do! The only things that seemed powerful enough to bind us were our own fears and tastes. And of course, a parent. 

Then we grew up and things started getting muddled up.

Life becomes an endless charade of academics, extra-curriculars, crushes, 'CV-building' activities, 'compulsory' volunteering, economic downturns, unemployment numbers etc. etc. etc. 
 We stop doing things for the sheer JOY of doing them and instead look at things for what they can give us tomorrow. We stop moulding our lives based on our likes and dislikes and instead start using an illusionary future moment as our moral compass. 

We become so obsessed with that particular moment of the future - that moment when we earn our billionth dollar or that moment when we sign the lease on that French Ch√Ęteau - that we forget to look at where we are. We stop looking at what we have and cherishing them. 

This is all good till that future reference point stays crystal clear in our minds. But if a crack starts to appear on that image, that all-important compass, the grounds give way beneath us. We are left stranded in a place that we do not want to be and we don't understand how we got there. We start getting nervous and desperate and try to cling to the last vestiges of that image, that former goal, but it still slips away from our fingers just as the mist in the incipient morning sunshine. We lose our bearings. Things start looking scary, very very scary. 

When things look scary, when everything is dark around you, the only thing you can sense and feel is yourself. So it is important to look within. Introspection is a hard game to learn. But it is a game that teaches as much from failure as it does from victory. Try to figure out where you are and what got you there and why you are not happy. Try something outrageous, something you would never have tried in a million years before you fell into the darkness - Tap-dancing or Malay cooking or watering the plants outside on a hot, summer day. Make a fool of yourself and revel in the warmth of that fact. 
Appreciate the fact that there are still things to learn, skills to master, things to make better and failures to be born. When things are dark, all it takes is the striking of a match to bring back the light. You might have to strike at it multiple times, but you will get it eventually. Meanwhile enjoy your time in the darkness, it may not be the place you envisioned yourself to be in, but that does not make it any less of an experience to be cherished. And when the match does light, stop focussing on a point in the horizon. The horizon can wait, the next step can't.  


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