End of 2020 Musings
Old habits die hard.
It’s been a proverb that’s stuck with me ever since I heard it…God knows when.
I believe I know a thing or two about habits. I know I form them too easily, that I’m easily addicted to them and sadly, not to life-threatening habits like smoking cigarettes and or depending on whiskey, but worse. I get addicted to human beings, the ones blessed with the heart and feet to get up and leave one fine morning.
So, every time I think about this proverb, I’m also thinking of ten different ways a certain ‘habit’ is going to hurt in the future. I’m also thinking of ten different reasons I should not get too comfortable with any. I’m thinking of ten new ways I need to find to get used to changes. Become more adaptable.
My mom always thought I could never move out of home. “You are not good at adjusting or compromising, you’d have a hard time coping”. And I have always wanted to prove her wrong although deep inside, I knew she was right. I was never good with changes and I always needed more time than I could ever get, to get adapt to the changes in my life.
And just like she predicted, I suffered when I moved out for the first few months. And just like I predicted, I suffered when I moved back home permanently this year.
I read a book recently that said, “The nature of life is change and the nature of people is to resist change”.
What is with us and not being able to let go of our routines? Of our past? Of our present? What is this conditioning towards permanence in life? If I have something, I need it forever. If I learn something, it needs to benefit me all my life. If I meet someone, I need them to love me forever. If I have someone, they need to stay forever. I wonder when it was that the younger me was taught that if it isn’t for ‘forever’, it isn’t worth your time.
We all know that everything is changing every minute, we look back at the end of the year like I am today, and think about how different it all seems from the first day of the year. I began the year living independently, enjoying with friends that made every day memorable, going to concerts and getting lost in crowds. I end this year, sitting with my family enjoying a book or a movie silently in my room, unsure if I’d ever get to meet these friends again.
Did we expect this change? Were we prepared? Hell no. But it still did happen. And that’s how every year has been, be it on good or bad terms, every year ended differently from how it began. Yet I can’t think of a single day I gracefully let the world around me change. I can’t think of a single day I didn’t fight too long or hold on too far till it made me bleed. We speak and yearn to be in control all the time, but when were we taught that we could ever be in control at all?
This year I experienced every moment like I never have before. In slow motion. Every minute of excruciating boredom or every minute of stress or every minute of joy. It almost felt good, to slow down for once. To just breathe and look around to process what’s happening. This year, I began to notice the clock ticking away and my aging body. This year, I began to notice time and time is a funny thing that way. A concept I rarely think of, to be honest.
Simple and profound. Just sitting there, ticking away. Slowly taking away seconds, hours and days out of your life yet it never reminds you to enjoy it while it lasts. I like how silent it is. I like how it doesn’t make grand entrances or grieving exits. It never reminds you that looking back, it’ll make you wish you had more of it. And that’s just the spirit of the universe.
No instruction books given out at birth. No rulebooks to get through adulthood. No ‘one size fits all’ solutions. No ‘this is how you adapt’ or ‘this is how you move on’ cheat codes. I think what this year taught us is how differently we all view the same global condition. All of us get through life in our unique ways.
It is scary, yes. To know that what helped you might not help me. That my habits are different from yours. My ways of dealing with these old habits are different from yours. But almost comforting too, right? Maybe this is what control is. To take charge of your own life, of how your path is going to be, of what your story will look like. How you let go when it was time and embraced when new things came your way and how different that makes you from the one million people around you.
Yep, I didn’t sign up for this. But Goddamn, don’t laugh at me for not getting on the world’s scariest rollercoaster. Because I still get out of my bed every day and try my darn best to weave my story into something I’d be proud of one day. And if that’s not being brave in an adventure, I don’t know what is.
And I think that is my biggest learning this year, capsuled in this quote —
“If all you did was survive today, know that you did it beautifully”.