This is kind of a meta-philosophical post, but the mood I find myself in today calls for such a one.
I recently had a discussion with a friend, and it has got me thinking.
It’s admirable to be able to stretch yourself and grow, especially in fields that do not offer you the comfort zone that you are used to. You begin with a dose of mettle, and keep going with gumption and sometimes with nothing but stubbornness and gritted-teeth as your aids.
If all these are driven by love for what you are doing, then you’re among the lucky ones, because not everyone has the same luxury when they have to make a drastic change in career or lifestyle or both. Many have to tread that path out of sheer despondency and desperation.
However, at times, there comes a situation when we need to revisit our goals and learn to give up, if that’s the right thing to do.
Have you ever been in this situation before? You are walled in by a solid wall of rock on three sides, and the only way out is to slowly backtrack the way you entered into the tunnel. Which in turn means, you undo all the work you have put into:
- Gathering up the courage to even think about traversing the dark and unknown tunnel.
- Searching for the resources that such an adventure demands.
- Convincing everyone around you (not even counting yourself) that it is the right thing to do and you know what you’re doing.
- Garnering the wisdom and knowledge that came your way during your journey through the various stages of the tunnel. True, you’re not really giving these up, but you have to give up actively making use of what you learned.
And then when you do come out of the tunnel, tired and dispirited, what do you notice? That the world around you has changed while you were on your quest. Nothing seems the way you left it. Everyone has somehow learned to move on without you in their midst. And you begin to feel like you would never belong anywhere again.
I have not experienced anything quite like this myself (not the latter half, at least) per se. I have, however, put myself on the not-so-sturdy limb of a tree by getting into the writing field. The journey has been something of a revelation – sometimes wonderful and exhilarating and at times scary and unfamiliar – at every stage so far.
Sometimes I can’t help thinking: what if this tunnel of mine, which I’m having a great time traversing, ends up with no light at the end (notwithstanding the fact that the light may mean different things to different people)?
Will I be able to retrace my footsteps in time? Will I be able pick up the pieces and move on? Will I be able to find another pursuit as meaningful and enjoyable as this one?
I don’t know the answers to these questions at this point in time. None of us knows ourselves well enough to guess how we’ll respond to such a hypothetical situation. If we do venture any likely and theoretical reactions, they will be just that – guesses. Not real.
I sincerely hope that:
There never comes a time when I may even need to contemplate these questions.
Do you ever feel this way about things in life? If so, how do you come out of these ponderous and ruminative thoughts?