It is life’s nature to demand changes from us regularly. Sometimes we give into those demands and make those changes, most times we ignore those demands and soldier on. I am no exception to that norm and have lived most of my life not making the changes life asked of me, leaving life with no option but to often let a bitter aftertaste remain of most things in it. Even so, nearly five-years-ago, I was sent kicking and screaming down a path where I had to start making those changes to be a better person and live a life that was a considerably better one than the tangled mess it was.
As 2014 slowly winds down, a significant chunk of what used to be my life five-years-ago is no longer there and a lot of whatever is left of it is also being purged in the interests of living a better, simpler and healthier life. It is far too easy to look back and blame everyone else for what has been and what has not been; but, the fact remains that the life I have is the result of the choices I made. It is only logical that if I wanted to have a better life, I had to make better choices. It is also equally important to stop dwelling on all the bad things you have done.
You can’t do much about the past, but you can do a lot about the present and the future.
There are very good reasons for someone to make bad choices in life and I have more than made my fair share of those. Those bad choices have a limited shelf life and at some stage realization will hit you square in the face that the time has come to make different choices. That realization happened for me five-years-ago, but it has taken me all these years to understand the extent to which I had to change how I live and act, to be true to what I wanted. It is just way too easy to pay lip service to the constant urge to want better and yet stick to doing nothing different from what I have always done.
The hardest part, perhaps, of these changes for me has been personal relationships. A journey like this leaves little space for things or people that drag me down. What was broken had to be fixed, or let go of . It is quite easy to say that, but incredibly hard to do for someone like me who has always been attracted to exactly those things and types of personalities because they are the best places to hide my own shortcomings. The list of casualties from this purge is not long in numbers, but, in impact, it goes far and wide as friendships and close relationships, sometimes spanning a decade or more, have been let go of.
On the other hand, there are also the relationships that have only grown stronger, healthier and better. Some of them, like with my parents, have pleasantly surprised me in how it has evolved. I feel eternally grateful for such blessings. I love not feeling emotionally on the edge all the time and it is amazing how everything looks a lot better when I don’t feel bitter about everything around me all the time. It is nice to know that everything is not a conspiracy to make me feel worse, or that I am responsible for everything that has gone wrong in my immediate universe, and sometimes a little bit outside it too.
Over time, this simpler state of affairs has also ensured that I cannot sustain anymore anything that is even moderately complicated or unhealthy. It maybe most selfish to keep my own well being and happiness as the thing that is most important to me, but the realization that only I am responsible for my happiness makes it quite okay for me to live with that selfishness.
Living such a simpler life also yields simpler and healthier relationships. I have fewer friends and there are now increasingly fewer instances where someone has to stick their neck out in an unhealthy way to validate some part of me that needs shoring up. It is a world where I enjoy the fewer words a lot more, but also one where I can share a silence without any awkwardness. I don’t feel the need to shoulder a burden that is not mine, just so that I could feel that I belong, in the most convoluted way, to someone or something.
But the best part of it all is not feeling like a piece of shit all the time. Which is what most of my life, at its worst, had come down to. It is nice to make the odd mistake and not kill myself for it, be my little imperfect goofy self and still be loved for it.
If you ask me if it is worth it to gain so much losing a lot, I will gladly tell you, oh yes, it is totally worth it.