Everyday, I’m faced with this question that boggles my conscious
Am I working towards a successful résumé or a heartwarming eulogy?
Late night musings are my escape from reality.
I often wonder about the huge amount of focus we give to our daily grind. Coupled with the internet’s array of techniques to be extra productive and exude a put-together life, I am left to sonder in the few minutes before I fall asleep at 1 am.
Just try googling “Carl Sagan quotes”. I assure you that you will end up feeling the truth about all this rushed existence — we are nothing. We are nothing but a temporal particle in this cosmic dust. But then again, I think about the microcosm of my world — my dreams, goals, family and myself. I love the sense that I have some sort of purpose to go with my being. So, with that, I take on an ambitious persona that drives me towards accomplishments, fame and a weird kind of happiness. While I get a chance to ponder about life, however, I start to take on a humble persona. In these times, my persona silences my numerous questions and worries. “Why does it even matter?”, I tell myself. See, one good thing about this is that I use my humble persona when it looks like the situation is not going in my favor. Yet, when I succeed, this fuels my hunger for future successes. Then, this translates into relentless willpower and I find myself working my butt off. In this constant dilemma, I live my life each day, knowing that the sand in my life’s hourglass is draining gradually.
Is it right that I am trying to be successful in a worldly sense? Or is it right that I am attempting to make a positive difference in the lives of the people I come across? How do I find a balance between building my résumé and crafting my eulogy?
The first step that I’ve taken, to give my soul some food, is to volunteer. Giving the time, that I could be using for myself, to contribute to someone else’s smiles and happiness has definitely improved my wellness.
First of all, to get this straight, I am not an outgoing person. I am like one of your friends who is the introverted extrovert. I like people, but I also don’t like them too much. But, throwing my personal veils aside, I jumped right in. Since I’ve started, I find myself understanding others a lot more. I have grown to become a better listener and my level of empathy has increased ten folds. Well, how is this helping my eulogy? This is perhaps just another bullet on my résumé, right?
Let me tell you about Yollie. Yollie is an unbelievably happy sunshine in her 90s. She is such a sweet lady, I can’t help but smile as I write about her. “Good morning..Gooodd MOORRRNING!”, I sing as I deliver her Saturday newspaper to her in a generally happy tone. She says, “Holy heavens, here you are!”, beaming with her dentures. Then, we sit down and just talk. It’s hard to describe how our conversations take a certain turn, but they are some of the most insightful ones that I have on Saturdays for sure. Even though I’ve routinely seen her for over 4 months, it was just today that I found out that she had been battling with cancer all this while. I was baffled. How could she possibly not show a trace of pain or dull face?
Today, she was telling me that she was getting a procedure done in a couple of weeks. “The cancer is rearing its heads”, she said jokingly. I smiled as those words fell like bricks in my ears. I smiled because I didn’t want her to feel that I pity her or feel sorry for her. Inside, though, I felt terrible. I acknowledged her cancer and realized that her face drooped in anticipation that I would start with the pitiful comments. Instead, I asked her if she wanted her nails done. Oh, the joy in her face after she heard that!
The day ended with her being pensive. As I turned to leave the room, she held my hand and said, “You are a blessed young lady. Never stop being who you are…”. In that moment, my eyes blurred as my lips curved up.
I was lost in the feeling of experiencing the overwhelming positivity that I received with the little time I spared for her. There and then, I realized how my purpose can be tied to both my universal basis and my microcosmic success. Not to say that this dramatically flipped my life around, but it is one such experience that I am adding onto my valuables list. I vouch for the concept that giving ourselves to the greater good has an incredible effect on overall wellness. Health can be garnered with exercise and eating right, but wellness is a whole new thing. To truly lead a put-together life, one has to feel the feeling of giving.
So, a simple answer to my preluding question is this: Shifting the focus from me to we, is how I found a balance between building a résumé and crafting a eulogy.
The art and science of such balance are not within an arm’s reach, but just within us.
“We are the universe experiencing itself.” — Alan Watts