Sunday, May 19, 2013

Un-muting those Pesky Voices in my Head

All of us at some point in our lives have yearned to break free. Our reasons may have varied – that of monotony, a stifling relationship, a job that sucked the life out of us. It is in these periods of restlessness we see through the veneer of everything- is-perfect-in-my-life. Consumed with self-doubt we wonder whether we are doing too little or too much with our life. We retreat into a corner and finally unmute those pesky voices in our head. Voices with that air of superiority, always knowing what to do, merciless with truth – they make us feel like an errant child.

Then they are those phases when we are rudely thrown out of our comfort zones. It’s is like being pushed out of the dark comfort of your mother’s womb. You hate it – flail your arms with anger, squeeze your eyes shut and cry loudly to protest. You long to crawl back into that sac where you had just her heartbeat for company. Just like that clock on your wall, its loud tic-toc matching the rhythm of your heart, relegating each breath of yours to past tense.

As we grow old and take charge of our lives, we replicate the comfort of her womb by regimenting our existence into a routine. To bed by 11, wake up at 6, work hard on weekdays, work less on weekends, work time, play time, family time….

The truth is, most of us find routines comforting. Freedom intimidates us. It’s always reassuring to know what to expect.


Trust these phases of introspection to break the illusion. They make us question our existence, wonder if we have a purpose. If being a loving mother/loyal husband/dynamic manager/dutiful son enough!

Truth be told, we want people to know how good, attractive, generous, funny, wild and clever we really are. Fear or revere me, but please, think I'm special. It's the only reason you get up in the morning. The only reason you suffer the shitty boss, the blood, the sweat and the tears. (adapted from the Revolver)
One thing I know for sure is all of us want to be remembered well; to leave behind good memories for people whose lives we touched with our presence. I think that's what we all want, in the end; to know that we left footprints when we passed by, however briefly. 

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68 comments:

  1. Sometimes when I am about to feel comfortable in what I am used to, I feel I have to do something different as monotony is kind of stagnating my brains. But then when I want to do something new, I feel like I should go back and continue my routine work.
    So at the moment I have made an idea, the only way to solve this circle taking rounds in my brains is to go and take a nap. :-)

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    1. Haha...I wish I could nap for a few months and emerge clear-headed!

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  2. I think all it takes is to think of the day when you landed in the present comfort zone. You were equally agitated and did not want it. And now you do not want to leave it. The fact is that our life will stagnate if we do lot let is change.

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    1. I know life is not meant to remain the same - one moment you are surrounded by too many people, craving solitude and one moment you are alone reliving those moments of happiness.

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  3. Humanities quest for immortality...If not not in flesh than in memories....we all want to leave our mark...so true

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    1. Yes, it's the memories we leave behind that will keep us alive.

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  4. Be it a good wife,sister,mother or a father, brother and son, the roles we keep playing in life sometimes make us forget who we are inside and what that inner person really wants?

    Sometimes,its good to spend some time with you,just you and nobody else,take a moment to find the inner you, listen to it,and you just might find a new you!

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    Replies
    1. The new me depends on my willingness to change :-)

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  5. Been the unconventional chap all along. Opted out of a job at 41 when the career was - by others' standards - going well. Opted to close out my consultancy 2 years into it and shift to Bangalore from Delhi. Started trekking at 44 and right away to the Himalayas when I had not even been a boy scout before then. Started blogging at 48 and actively meeting bloggers. My only routine has been non-routine :)

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    1. It takes immense courage to follow your heart and you have my respect.

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    2. Suresh, seriously admire and adore you for what you been doing. Not all of us can be there!! Keep Going!!

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  6. really weel said....there have been many times I wanted to retreat into a shell and i did....but for me..i tend to think how imperfect my life is ...not matter what..unless im travelling, thats the only time i think my life is perfect!! (now u know why I love travelling so much!!)

    http://www.myunfinishedlife.com

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    1. Doesn't travelling open up our mind? It's a great way to meet new people, to assimilate new customs and respect what's different.

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  7. I felt thrown out of my comfort zone soon after the demise of my in laws and my dad. It was like there was no roof over our heads.
    And yes, the need to feel special and wanted drives us all the time.

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    Replies
    1. It's one of my biggest fears but I know it's inevitable.

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  8. Somehow I find it very difficult to cope up with the feeling of restlessness though it is unavoidable. It leaves me with insomnia, irritation and sometimes seclusion.

    Very profound post ( though kinda unusual of your regular posts :) )

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    1. Himadri, I still don't know what my regular is :-)

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  9. Looks like you have been brooding a lot about the purpose of life. When you say following a routine is comforting but so is the nature around us! Sun rises early and sets at designated time and when there are unusual natural events even we feel restless like volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tides! Take life as it unfolds like each layer of a peeled onion skin, mysterious, flooding eyes with tears but never denying the taste:)

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  10. You have expressed what we all feel. Thanks.

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  11. purba express on a philo high.good good

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    1. Now in her Purba mail avatar :p

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  12. First you say you are suffering from writer's block and then you so routinely churn out a piece that is so introspective and philosophical!

    I have mulled over this for years - what is it that I want from life? Fame, money, creative satisfaction, career? I am afraid I am still looking for the right answer.

    Perhaps the absolute truth of life is that we are meant to spend our whole lives looking for its meaning. The day we stop, we might as well be dead.

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    1. It's when we get tired of running and stop to take a breather, we wonder whether its the right direction we are taking. Especially when there are endless possibilities.

      And Rickie, your last line summed it up perfectly.

      P.S After the massive discussion about my writers block on Facebook, I was up next morning scribbling furiously :-)

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  13. That was beautifully put. At my age I've figured out that change is the only constant; that I'm very human and probably mortal :); that very often, the most difficult person to live with is myself

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    1. And I have discovered that being alone and loneliness are two different things.

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  14. True, we all crave for acceptability but that should not necessarily come from conformity. Moving on with life in its pursuit keeps us alive. Nice post!

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    1. I think most of us conform for the sake of peace of mind. Why think when you can pretend?

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  15. Replies
    1. Thank you, assuming you meant the post.

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  16. Agree with everything you wrote. There are phases when we are just happy to go along with the mundane, then we feel the itch to do more. We need the routine as well as the adventure. Life is not a constant and the fun is in the journey more than the final outcome. I can sense a lot of churning going on in your mind. I get into these brooding phases myself :). Nicely written, something I feel that each one of us can identify with.

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    1. Busy keeps you happy because it doesn't give you time to think. It's during moments of solitude we start questioning.

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  17. At times,we come out of comfort zone only to take up fresh challenges

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  18. I am on this planet for a ride ... Where to, I dont know, but I am having one helluva time getting there. Comfort zone? Dont have one, but then, if I had it, I'd have screwed it up perversely

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    Replies
    1. Not giving a damn to what others think about you will always keep you happy.

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  19. So simple and So true! Yet , so complex....

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  20. that is quite a way to combat the pesky voice when they are un-muted. but it is a difficult battle , because it is somwehat a struggle to believe that you are special(all the time) when you are lost in the humdrum of the mundane and caught in the cobwebs of somethings so stifling. you actually need to break free,sometimes and take decisions (and decision making may not be comforting).

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    Replies
    1. I am always plagued with self-doubt.

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  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  22. True, most people are intimidated by freedom. Dostoevsky illustrates it well in Brothers Karamazov, especially in the character of the Bishop in Ivan's poem. Religions thrive on this fear of freedom...

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    1. Religion is just another excuse to control and subjugate.

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  23. But....but routines are boring! We all make plans and have a routine because we think we can control everything by it. Because in the end we all crave immortality.
    But sometimes we think too much. We should stop over-thinking

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    Replies
    1. Of course they are, that's why we call them routines!

      And agree, over-thinking makes you miserable.

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  24. That why it is said that sanity is a permanent state of lack of imagination.

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  25. What I always want to do is find time to write. I have this insane craving to write and that is the only thing I love being constant. I have done a lot of funny things to let it be in my life- like carried two identical diaries to office one was for work the other for writing. Boss always thinks I am working a lot :P

    Anyways what you have presented is a trajectory of every restless human mind who is so preoccupied with this everyday drudgery that the thought of it going away triggers panic. So the good old routine is good for cribbing and best for living :D

    Richa

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    1. But it's the new routine that opens up our mind :-)

      P.S I always wanted to write but never had time for it. Too much to do and too little time to think. It's only after my daughter grew up and I left my job, did I sit down to write.

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  26. If it wasn't for the daily bread that makes me go to work every single day,I would welcome every change and treat it as an adventure.In this phase,anybody or anything that tends to break my routine is an irritant.The only welcome change now in this phase is a vacation.
    Like you said,waiting for my retirement and for my kids to grow up so I can spend all my time reading,writing and travelling.

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    Replies
    1. We are still in the "sowing the oats" stage. When we finally get to the "reap the benefits" stage, I wonder how much/if we'll enjoy it.

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  27. Purpose is what we all look for in life and many a times we lost way. I do that a number of times, hide in corner and un-mute and it doesn't help all the time. It increases the chaos too. I agree, we all feel comfortable in routine despite longing for freedom.

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    1. Yes, it's always reassuring to know life will continue the way it is.

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  28. I hadn't read a serious post on your blog before! It's a first for me :)
    We have to believe that change is good for us, even though it hurts like crazy to get out of the comfort zone and try something new! But I have enjoyed change mostly - so much so that I am now getting tired of too much "change" every few months, and have now started craving stable comfort! :D

    Cheers,
    Deepa
    Ten Reasons Why I didn't Post

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    1. You'll be surprised, how many serious posts have written :-)

      Think of Melbourne as an extended vacation. You will leave with only the good memories of Degraves lane.

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  29. Hi Purba

    Great post, loved the last line, footprint onto those we touched in our lives....

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  30. ...and unmuted my voice too :)

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  31. Reminds me of 'Who moved my cheese?' I'm one of those who would want to remain in the comfort zone cocoon..that's what is keeping me away from learning new skills and switching a job in a different field. Life as such is full of surprises. I stopped feeling and telling myself, everything is okay. Whenever, I feel all is well, then a twist and turn happens and ....your last line made me feel real good about me. When people say, I gave them memories to last a life time, now I realise what it is..:)

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    1. We are all the same. We hate venturing out of our comfort zones. But how we adapt to change is makes us different from others :-)

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  32. Hey Purba
    This is so true and as we live a mechanical existence..we need a break at times, to re-think bout' true purpose of life:)
    Cheerz

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