purpose, second edition

A friend requested a college edition of purpose, a post in which I’d attempted to think about why life excited me way back in school. It’s crazy how insanely shallow and yet incredibly true that post is. My short term goals are momentary and startlingly specific.

In school, my world was limited to school and home. That was a blessing in disguise. I wasn’t affected by anything beyond the fence but for some weird reason I wanted to be.

Years later, here I am…still wondering what helps me wake up with hope and energy. In the bluntest terms, my purpose

Summer after school ended: Going college shopping, the possibilities that come with transitioning from school to college, the thought of having a good college experience and really turning things around

First year, college: Getting good grades, no room to slack off because I wanted to get into every Master’s course I applied to, I didn’t want to be rejected by anyone ever again.

Second year, college: Reading, interning, reading obsessively because book blog but in a way that felt so enriching, studying became easy again so I didn’t have to study obsessively

Third year, college: Not screwing up my post as Lit Sec, spending time with friends, allowing for good moments with people to have as much meaning as my invisible military-style check list of goals for every year

Summer after undergrad: Not screwing up entrances and interviews, wondering why it mattered sometimes but salvaging those helpless purposeless moments by escaping into a book, Candy Crush! I had to finish 100+ levels…just because.

First year grad: Cycling around a pretty campus, learning for learning, through videos, through assignments, through life… plastic fluorescent stars, a vision board, the night-sky… more about experiencing, less about concrete needs and goals and outcomes.

Second year grad: Stuck without thrill or meaning when my yellow phone got misplaced and my data didn’t work…made me wonder how everything depended on network. why. Made me feel so hopeless and ordinary.

Second year last few months: Experiencing, living, being, me.

Summer after grad: I lived for attention, belongingness, validation. Or just any one. Life needed to be a good story, a quirky plot.

my purpose, now: Finding balance. Embracing moderation. Carving my own destiny without upsetting everything in sight in the name of free will. It’s so easy to throw yourself into everything or abstain. But to regulate and stay afloat…to flourish while holding back especially during times when it’s just more comfortable and less troublesome to abandon logic and context…Moderation and/ equilibrium is the real challenge (less is more, more or less).

I started my new years feeling happy to have had a balanced and fruitful day.

But one day is easy. I hope to summon the strength and resources to make what I want out of the rest of the year.

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finding herself.

She was in a tiny little cafe. It was the kind of cafe that looked nondescript from the outside, but had an elegance to it on the inside. She had ordered a slice of chocolate cake that cost twice the amount it weighed, and a cup of Earl Grey Tea. She readjusted her scarf, as she opened her little black book.

It was drizzling outside, and as she traced the outline of a passing cloud, she felt like a cliche.

Her marriage had ended recently. She had flown to this quaint little town, to ‘find herself’. Only, in the midst of her little adventure, she realised finding herself was getting quite expensive. She couldn’t walk around here, making quirky pseudoacquaintances who taught her life lessons, unless she got a job. Since she’d been a student all her life, she did not know what that would be like. But it seemed to involve a lot of responsibility, and she’d rather be a cliche than take responsibility.

Contemplating that maybe, she had found herself after all, she’d decided to leave town the next day.

This was her last day here, sitting by the cafe window, pretending to be engrossed in her work while her thoughts ran wild.

Her deft strokes brought the page to life, and suddenly she was engrossed. She became the sketch, as her tea grew cold. It overtook her self consciousness, as her head was bent over the page, and she colored the eyebrows of the woman in her picture. She could feel the uneasiness in her stomach clear up, as her heart soared with every honest detail- and

and her pencil lead broke.

i used to think

that labels and distance and where i stood mattered.

but does it really?

labels change things, but will it outlast what belies it?

you needn’t be close, or far away, for you to be mine. you are already a part of the way i walk, the way i talk, what i read, what i look for in other people… you are the shadow behind my vigilance, validation for my independence and motivation for further awareness about myself and the world.

we could never see each other againbut the day you stumbled into my line of vision, you became (and will always be) a part of me.