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Baby steps! February 10, 2009

Posted by deewane in Uncategorized.
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2008 was supposed to be a revolutionary year in my book. I had promised to be more pro-active, wrap up my research, search for a job/internship, switch to a healthier lifestyle, basically get my life together. Nothing very earth-shaking, infact all my goals shared the virtue of being quite ordinary. And the reason for such, well, “low” expectations was simple – I was still learning to be on my own!

I have had the dubious advantage of having very protective and at the same time very progressive parents. That coupled with the fact that I was (and uh…still am) a total nerd (and not even a studious nerd, I was the kind who would read ANYTHING other than text books!) didn’t make for a very practical and worldly wise human being. My mother, a practicing doctor for the past 30 years is a creature of habit and may be the most practical and normal member of my family. Whatever semblance of routine we had in our lives was marked thanks to Mom and meal times- Mum would cook all 3 meals successfully compartmentalizing the day in to morning, afternoon and evening. I never realized that a day could be seamless, i.e., until I started living on my own, mornings were pretty much out of the window as I hardly wake up before 10:00 and never before 9:00! (Weekends are pretty much a blur of trying to block the daylight out and spending the nights awake propped in front of my laptop, the magic box, which has become the boon and the bane of my existence). After the morning, lunch which would have marked the official descent of the day into afternoon, is pretty much absent from my itinerary and dinners are a hot mess with me oscillating between cereals on night when I do happen to notice the expanding waistline (with all the missed meals you’d think atleast the waist would behave but I think my body just reacts to all the stories about how EVERYONE gains a ton of weight after landing in the U.S. of A and just tries to keep up!) and pizzas when I just don’t give a damn (ohhhh this is when all the expansion happens :P).

Dad, otoh, has been the driving force behind my crazy! I always wanted to be like him, I saw him as this jet-setting business man who got to travel the world, make decisions, sleep, eat, do anything at any time he liked and of course someone who never-ever got mad at me. I followed him around all day long (it helped that he worked from home) and he took me with him almost everywhere, I bet anything my umbilical cord was attached to dad rather than to Mom (Wow that paints an awkward picture!). Life at home was pretty rosy (only in retrospect though, I don’t think anyone between the ages of 13 to 21 would admit that life is good, coz that’s the period when the anguished tormented soul is trying to break free of the social norms and find her/himself!).

Then one fine day my absolutely confused hiney was packed in an airplane and left to fend for itself on a continent halfway around the world! My only crime was getting a good GRE score (Hah! and you thought I wouldn’t brag about that :D) and applying to universities! Not that I was completely against the idea but I did feel like a premature baby too soon out in the world. Every single day just convinced me that research is not for me, still the first 2 semesters were easier to survive, the classes were easy and so far apart but I missed the hunger to learn, and the more I was disheartened by my reality, the more I turned to dreaming! I lead a complete and quite a colorful life in my head, which, though, was set in the future, the present just became a blob! What I didn’t realize was that decisions are made on the basis of present circumstances and not on something that someday just might exist.

2008 saw many resolutions aiming for the life in my head. I was supposed to have been done with my MS, and that knowledge with my own need to please everyone and the copious amount of guilt that I accumulated (since I thought I was never being good enough, I think I just needed my prof to come and give me a hug every single day, which no self-respecting prof would do!). Problem was that I could do the work but couldn’t be interested in it, so I found that taking care of my lab-mates’ work was much easier than actually focusing on my own! It was/is so simple. I don’t enjoy what I do, but was it normal for it to have such a hold on my life? I don’t know. I don’t even know if someday I’ll figure out what really makes me happy. I do need to live in the present however. I need to do what makes me happy TODAY! May be it’s a lesson learned too late. I won’t fault myself for being naive, for trying (coz I did!) because that’s how I’ll learn. Having spent too many hours just pointing fingers at myself for everything that was going wrong (it was my fault I didn’t like my work, it was my fault I ever took the damn GRE, it was my fault I never did anything sooner about it, it was my fault that I’hv never had enough confidence..etc etc.) and quite literally driving myself to the edge I have decided to forgive myself. No it’s not easy. I have been quite stupid, it won’t be easy to face my fears, it won’t be easy to get back on the track, I have to finish what I started and I will. I know I will!

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