Of Cabbages and Kings

November 8, 2010

What one wants

Filed under: Random musing — Chinmayi @ 5:20 pm

seems so constructed sometimes. We chase so many things which, when examined, seem a little empty. This isn’t a depressive post. It is just a bewildered one. I’ve been puzzling over what I really want. And honestly, I don’t know…I have no idea at all.

At my age, people chase money – I’ve done that and it is fun but too easy, and green only to the person on the other side really. People chase power and fame but I suspect that the same can be said for both of those. I’ve been to good universities and I’ve done a couple of things that should have sent me over the moon. Did it make me feel good? Yes. But only as long as I was looking at myself from someone else’s eyes. When I stepped back into my own shoes, I was still me – my earning capacity, my universities, my achievements don’t change that. Winning a competition may tell other people that I’m reasonably competent at something but as far as I am concerned, nothing changes really. I could be happy being me. Or not. If it takes validation like competitions to make me happy then it is only a question of time before I will start craving more validation, and more…and it won’t really end.

The rat races never actually end. You hop from one to another and then another. I don’t notice the ‘achievers’ from the past being secure. They may have won one rat race but it just took them into another. And then another. And then another. With all the attendant stress and fear. The sense of achievement seems fleeting, and the desperation to win again seems to drown it out.

The people I know who want to ‘save the world’ are also confused. They aren’t quite clear about what their contribution will be – is it better to responsible for 100 people’s literacy than to bring up one really good and generous human being? Is it better to help a country shake off colonial rule than to ensure that your family doesn’t die of grief and starvation from your neglect? When we say ‘hero’, do we only refer to people about whom books are written or do we include the sweet old lady next door who has suffered much but has only ever loved everyone around her and done her best to help everyone who came her way?

I go through my phases of the usual ‘dreams’. But I wonder – how many of them are really constructed? Bits and pieces cadged together from other people’s expectations, directed at getting other people’s approval. How many of us truly know what we want – what makes us happy…divorced completely from the way in which the world, or at least some small part of it, sees us? Relationships, power, fame, money, climbing up this ladder or that one… how much is really a choice?

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