I wrote my last article in 2019, a lot has changed in one year. In short, I lost two people dear to me in late 2019 – My uncle (Dad’s Brother) and my aunt (Mom’s Sister) both died due to illness, may their souls rest in peace. The other highlight of my year was my fight with depression and anxiety, my time away from blogging was a result of my disinterest from interaction with the world. Depression and anxiety mixed make up a fatal poison, from being disgusted in myself to being doubtful about every idea and thought I came up with, i have been setback wholly.
My Cauldron of Ideas was empty as I tried to cope with my situation, folks it is really difficult to live with a wrong decision sometimes. Mine was to choose a wrong career path, some may think it is easy to change careers but not from where I stand. I belong to a culture where there is a lot of peer pressure to have a sustainable earning at my age. Most of my friends have jobs and are settling into practical lives. Coupled with this is the inevitable truth of living in a 3rd world country, in third world countries mistakes inflict heavy damage and are not revertible easily. My quest to change my career and to not give much importance to my current degree is a sort of taboo that many have to deal with but avoid due to the same societal pressure. For a Pakistani kid from a middle-class family it is no less than a revolt, even a sin to for example, opt for a degree in arts and not some sort of sciences.
No 23 year old has the freedom to take charge of his life without upsetting someone, my best friend dropped out 3 years into college and his father didn’t speak to him for 8 months. I due to the same fears have never revolted as such, in fear of disappointing my father who has raised me up with love and spent a small fortune on my education and to disappoint my mother, who cares too much about my future that such an act of defiance from her only son would traumatize her (due to the uncertainty of my future). I don’t blame them, I blame this capitalist world where some innocent mistakes are punished like a murder sentence. The reason I chose this career in the first place was because of my reality of being born in third world country where there are barely any jobs or at least respectable jobs for people other than Engineers, Doctors and Teachers. Living in such a place your fears are about where your next paycheck is coming from not what your passion is.
Growing up, like any other kid I was sure that I was destined for greatness, some part of me still thinks that I am. Never did I imagine then that the difficult part of greatness was not to achieve it but to know what your greatness is. Life is a greater teacher and time is a great test, life has taught me that greatness is not fame, wealth, heroism or leaving a huge legacy, greatness is subjective, some may find it in fame and glory yes, some may find it in watering a garden to life, or adopting an orphan, raising a wonderful kid. Greatness does not need to be materlistic, in the popular Hollywood film “The Last Samurai”, the famed Samurai Katsumoto says “The perfect blossom is a rare thing. You could spend your life looking for one, and it would not be a wasted life.”
I watched this movie when I was 7, I re-watched it 3 years ago and today is the day I understood what this line meant, it means that purpose and greatness are what you make of them, no goal is greater or lesser if your heart leads you to it. If living in a farm filled with animals and vegetables near a creek makes you happy, go for it. No amount of millions will make you as happy as you’d be in that farm.
Fighting with depression and anxiety I lost hope for any sort of greatness, I submitted to the idea that maybe I was to live an average life, or that God was punishing me for my ego as I had thought less of some people just because they lived life differently. My ego shattered and my self reflection turned to doubt and contemplation. What I thought about most was that all of us are living life through our own view, for us we are the center of our life, for others we are just a part of their lives. I am the main hero of my life, but for someone else I might just be an extra. My illusion that greatness is an objective truth was gone, if my greatness was only paramount to me, why should it be dictated by others?
Why does the average person not find greatness in the craftsmanship of a carpenter? Why is a an office job at google or some fortune 500 company considered a jackpot, but someone with a flower-shop is called “unambitious”? 3 years of being unhappy studying in the most prestigious Computing School in my country is a complain not many would sympathize with. Anyone who I have opened to about my unhappiness has either reminded me of my “luck” or “privilege” to be in such an institution, am I not allowed to complain if I am privileged? Imagining what I could have done or become if I was involved in studying something I was passionate about has led me to many sleepless nights.
2020 starts, Covid-19 arrives, the world is at a halt, people are dying and Universities are closed, one month away from University, most of my depression is gone. The uncertainty of not being able to tell what will happen in the next 6 months has set me free, I don’t feel chained to the system. The system that tells me to break my sleep, take a shower, swallow my breakfast, rush to the bus stop and sweat my way to college all in the span of 30 minutes has no control over me. The urgency to make my time count, the clock ticking deadlines have all vanished, all is left is bliss. Ignorance is bliss they said, rightly said. During these days, I had the most productive time of my life, I read books, learned to make 3D digital art to such a point that it would develop into a passion. I made peace with the fact to take life one challenge at a time, and never to take a challenge that I know I don’t want to waste time with and to walk away from something that isn’t up my alley.
My passion is not specifically 3D art, my passion is identity and expression. I need to accept what makes me happy and pursue it. My passion is history in the capacity that History is the identity and legacy of millions of people that have walked the earth, the stories that they left, the triumphs and defeats, the poems and literature, the art and thoughts they sewed into the fabric of life. The discovery of all this, the awe that it brings to me is my passion. I can one second be entranced by a piece of music, spend all night thinking about some speech made by someone, or walk all day cooking arguments about a historical narrative at any moment. When I started this blog, those were one of the most amazing 3 months of my life, my writing was being read, commented on and loved. To be a blogger is a responsibility, you owe it to your writing and your readers. I made some friendships here an year ago, friendships I have abandoned, promises I have broken, words I have left unsaid, I apologize to them all.
This is a toast to new beginnings, a toast to my journey to greatness and hopefully some part in yours. Today I make a promise that I intend to keep, that I will write my mind not fearing that it will be judged but fearing that it will be left unread. There is no regret bigger than not saying what you wanted to say.