I don’t subscribe to labels (husband, wife, religion, parent, work, success, career, etc). I try to live my life. And hope for everyone to live theirs. The labels come with expectations and that’s where I start falling short since I don’t know what the expectations are and they get in the way of me being me.
And so I had decided pretty young in life that I wouldn’t think of making others happy because that’s the easiest way to make yourself unhappy.
It took me a while longer though to come to the decision not to think of making my own self happy because that too is a fool’s errand. Happiness is a spurt of joy that lasts a moment and the endeavour to string together a series of such moments is like climbing a mountain every minute. No, I eventually satisfied myself with having one and only one goal in life: to keep myself busy gainfully. I was 19 when I took that decision and in the two decades since I have never made a better decision.
And am single-minded about it too. I don’t let anyone or anything stand in the way of being gainfully occupied every minute of the day – not spouse, not children, not peers, not parents, relatives, employees, no one. The key word in this is “gainfully” and I was around 25 when I added that qualification to my original goal of being occupied. Gainful occupation is important because I refuse to be occupied doing the same thing every minute for it doesn’t solve the problem I had set out to solve – boredom.
And while it took me much longer to let the desire for recognition go, when I did let it go (I was 31), it gave me a freedom that is breath-taking. The greatest tyrant a person can have is one’s own ambition for it creates a prison of such complexity that it is nigh impossible to escape from it. Once the ambition is gone, all that is left is occupation and constant occupation without ambition leads to continuous learning and an endless cycle of improving performance. There is no other goal but to be gainfully occupied.
For me that is.