Monday, April 11, 2011

I suddenly saw few decisions that I had made in times of yore, all flash-backed as I went to bed last Tuesday. The same day, I had met a seventeen year young chap nicked ‘Yongba’ (a rare case to find such named native in Punakha). He accompanied me throughout my four hour walk to a far-flung village called Nidupchhu. First he was hesitant to talk overtly but when I started to ask him personal questions, he was natural then. I learnt everything about his whereabouts, family, reasons he didn't returned back to the Shedra he was studying after he dropped out of his school from his seventh grade, his ambition in life then and now. And while we were conversing and walking up the steep mountain, he landed up sharing about how an American tourist once wanted to adopt and take him to his country. He was all willing to leave behind his family, his village and his country in quest of a better life abroad. But his dream remained a dream till this day. His father refused. He confessed that he still wondered how his life would have changed. He still marveled how his life could have been, had his father said yes to that American stranger. His unduly curiosity unlocked my past decisions which shaped many aspects of my life that I had all but forgotten. It reminded me of my journey to where I am today.

There are many instances in my life where things have been different because of my decision. There were times during my high school when I wanted to become an Engineer but my career direction changed when I was in my twelfth standard. Like others I was confident enough to dream big. I wanted to become a human doctor. I was so positive that I would be so perfect for the profession. I dropped math to concentrate more on biology despite my love for math. Had I taken math and studied well, you might have seen me writing all technical stuffs. I could have become an Engineer.  

Back to Yongba, I could see his excitements still fresh when he remembered about that tourist. It made me wonder too about how his life could have been now. But this time with his excitement was the apparent pain of not being with his supposedly adopted father to live an American dream. Like this young gentleman, I’m still excited at the thought of ‘if only I had taken Math along with Biology in my Pre-University level’. I might have worked hard on my Physics too and had other options to choose. If not a Doctor, I might have been living my other dream (among many) of working as an astrophysicist. Well, it’s always hard to deal with the “could-have-beens” in our life.

This takes me to our constant companion of life: fear! Fear of the unwilling risk, fear of the risked outcomes, and fear of the fear affecting almost every decision we make in the end. There was this constant fear that taking both Math and Biology would mean dividing my study time for two subjects and risking low grades in both. My fear of Calculus and low grades in Math made me opt for Biology. Because of this fear, we land up having all those could-have-beens waiting in line in our life hoping that we will find what we have been chasing. We are not ready to let go every thoughts that we so apprehensively built in our mind because of the fear of what we could be missing. This very fear shapes all side of our lives, from choosing a subject to study to choosing a career, from falling in love to choosing the right soul mate and everything in-between in the journey of our life. There is always a fear accompanying us in everything that we dream about.

Do you wanna know if I ever missed on some of the best moments in my life because of it? Of course, I did miss; the undersized opportunity of working for NASA or having the title “Dr.” in front of my name…LOL..I still dread to realize the fact of losing what I never had or what I never really found. Sometimes when I look back on my life, I’m disappointed that I didn’t make an honest effort to make many things (things that mattered and I might have really wanted) happen. There are decisions that I pulled an upset for myself. Personally it cuts me with my every could-have-beens that I’ve so long added and accumulated in my list. All the chances I never took, the relationships I was afraid to have and sometimes the decisions I waited too long to make. In my chase of perfection, I was too scared of being not-good-enough. In my pursuit of happiness, I was afraid of denial. And in my search for an idyllic life, I had insecurities of life per se. 

I’m still wondering how Yongba might have grown up to be. And I wonder about all the dreams I never pursued.

Now I have this slow realization of how our life’s not all haha-heehee. The paradox of life will always be there; moment of bliss taking you into heart-rending sadness. It’s like that line, “Just like a seesaw always teetering on end finding joy then sorrow then joy again”. The possibility of getting into the contradictory situation has always been there (at least for me). Many things in my life have quite turned out because of all the boundaries that I set for myself. I’ve encountered high and lows, bumped into both success and failures. I‘ve been the victim of my obvious and hidden choices. But I’m glad that I got to learn my lessons if not late: to take risk and avoid having those moments of regret for not giving it a try. Universe, as we know by now, has its own way of throwing challenges on our way as much as she pleases. The choice is finally ours to make: to embrace the challenges, seize the opportunity and take the plunge. I say overcome your fears and take it on!

You only come through stronger when you thought you couldn’t cope with more. So, until next time, step out and live your life saying ‘at least I tried’.

...Caterpillar in the tree
How you wonder who you'll be
Can't go far but you can always dream...


PS. Well, now I’m certain that, had I met this American adopted Yongba now, he must have talked to me with his American accent: Howdy ma'am?