Dear friend J called up after many years. J is this friend I shared a hostel room with, 7 years back. We were room-mates for about 3 months. We hit it off real well, thanks to our very similar backgrounds, though we had totally different expectations from life. Our life experiences till then were more or less comparable, but the lessons we learnt from our experiences were very different from each other's. (Remember primary school days, when the teacher just had to ask "...And the moral of the story is?" and brace herself for the 'n' number of answers from each one of the 'n' number of students.)
J was naturally optimistic, while I was cautiously optimistic.
J trusted that life will be great, we just have to go with the flow. I too trusted that life will be great, but that we need to have a foolproof plan and stick to the plan, to make it happen.
We were too young then to know the complexities of life. We just had a one-dimensional view of happiness, love, success and knowledge. Life seemed simple. It seemed conquerable. Life was promising, for both of us.
And then, soon, she was to get married to this nice guy working in Abu Dhabi. And I was to take up this new job in Chandigarh. We met up one last time in Bangalore, the city we both loved to bits, and the city we were both leaving at the same time to pursue our lives. It was a heady feeling. From there on, it was going to be a new city, new people, new lifestyle, a brand new life. We were both raring to go.
What we didn't know then was that 7 years later, we would be having this conversation.
J has just filed for divorce after having lived a troubled life with a violent man and his family that quotes the bible to remind her that 'A wife is her husband's slave'. Years of ill-treatment and manipulation by holding back her little son, and other assorted tactics by them, J made up her mind when she saw her toddler son screaming while his father was beating up his mother. Yes, that is the same situation which forces many mothers to put up with their collective fates for the sake of their child's future. But J decided to stand up for herself, for the sake of her son's well-being. and I'm awfully proud of her for that. J is planning to go back to school, and restart her life. And it just so happens that I am gearing up for a major reboot myself.
Life is such a slippery thing, I tell you. No amount of planning or positive thinking is going to save you from those nasty blows, just the way nothing can ever take away the triumphs it has it store for you. Good thing, this will power is.. which helps you get back on your feet again, pick up the broken pieces and move on. Because, there's one brand new life waiting to be lived, and you don't want to miss that bus.
J and I remembered that evening 7 years back. There were no silly giggles this time, no carefree laughter, no friendly teasing. Only a stronger resolve, and a promise to live it up, better than ever.
Reboot always seems like the most difficult thing to do. The prospect of starting life from scratch all over again can be scary. You don't know whether you have it in you anymore, to fight it out. You would want to look for work-arounds and quick fixes. Anything, something, just so that you can avoid the reboot.
You doubt whether rebooting = quitting? You know you are not a quitter.
You doubt whether you are supposed to adapt to whatever your life has become? But why would you put up with it when you know you deserve better?
You doubt the outcome of this new innings. Is this for better or for worse?
If we take a look around, there are so many of us stuck in dead-end jobs ('coz I don't know any other work!, 'coz I have worked 10 years in this industry to let it go.), sorry relationships (but I can't live without him/her.. wait a minute, neither can I live with him/her!), bad investments (I know, I should have opted out of that xyz fund when the market nose dived, but I would have had to suffer a loss. It's another thing that I could have recovered my loss + made sky rocketing profits, had I pulled out of it anyways and re-invested in something else, maybe gold?), grieving the loss (I can never get over it). So many of us know that our boats are heading in the wrong direction, but still prefer inaction because we don't want to rock our precious boats.
I wonder what keeps so many of us from letting bygones be bygones, and making a fresh start on a clear state?