I am 27! Ye gods!
Somehow, I have always known that my 27th birthday and the ensuing year would be epic. Perhaps, part of this has to do with the fact that some of the most interesting people ever decided to kill themselves or died under mysterious circumstances after turning 27. I am talking about the 27 Club with noted members being Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Brian Jones, Kurt Cobain and more recently, Amy Winehouse. And, no, I am not interested in killing myself, in fact, I envisage a much more interesting and a happier life in the following year.
I spent my birthday eating Chinese food at one of my favourite restaurants in Mumbai, spending time in my happy place (a bookshop), eating lots of chocolate in various forms, talking to several people, reading and pontificating. I even logged on to Facebook which is rare for me. I had earlier contemplated cutting myself off from the world for those 24 hours but then decided against it for no palpable reason.
It has been an interesting week for me. Lots of new things have happened. Several new opportunities have suddenly come up and that too, interesting ones. Whoa! Once again, I feel sort of overwhelmed, but, in a good way. I have also taken several decisions over the past week.
Firstly, I decided to take a short backpacking trip next month. I realised that I have never really done anything of the sort and perhaps, it would be more sensible to test it out a little before dedicating my life to it. So, I am thinking of including that as part of my travels next month. While I am 99% sure that I do want to travel, I consider the trip a way to also research the realities of the situation and ensure that I am better prepared when I start travelling. I believe it might help to make the situation a little less overwhelming as well and perhaps, help me conquer some of my fear.
Secondly, I decided to not take decisions. This one is confusing. Essentially, I realised that taking a decision and setting a goal for myself (as I have done all these years) was proving to be quite overwhelming. Additionally, I found myself diverting all my energy towards that goal and staying focused on the destination and not the journey. In retrospect, I knew half-way through law school that I was not cut out for law but decided to go through it anyway because it was a goal I had set for myself and because I figured that I may as well give it a shot. I can’t even begin to imagine how many opportunities I lost out on along the way because I was so focused on just finishing law school and becoming a lawyer. Fortunately, I don’t regret it because I had so much fun in college and because it really helped me develop at a personal level.
In this regard, with respect to my aforementioned decision to travel, I have been focusing all my energies on making that work. I am also feeling irritated with myself for having so many ideas and thoughts and for wanting to do so many things. I feel overwhelmed because nothing which is line with my decision to travel is working out but a host of other things are. This made me re-evaluate my thought process. I started wondering if it was really worth it to go through so much hassle and irritation to make it work. And yes, I think it is. At the same time, I think I am also starting to fall into that trap again. I am so desperate to go travelling that I am forgetting to enjoy my present- I am not taking advantage of all the opportunities coming my way. In a way, I am lapsing into old patterns of behaviour (the ones I did not like). My solution to this problem was fairly simple and something I am going to try for a while now: Enjoy the journey. Instead of worrying myself sick over how I am going make travel happen, I am going to just go with the flow. While the overarching goal and purpose will still remain travel, I need to also do other things which would enrich my life and make me want to wake up in the morning. So, I am going to try and take full advantage of all the opportunities coming my way and start enjoying the journey as much as I know I will enjoy the destination, which still remains, travel.
Thirdly, I have realised through a particularly innocuous conversation with a cousin of mine (who is half my age), that in a certain way, my purpose (so to speak) is to make a difference. It is something I have been doing ever since I can remember- helping people. It is something which excites me and it is something I have to continue to do. Here’s the thing, yesterday, through that conversation, I realised that I have actually succeeded in making a small difference while I was still in school and that is something which is still talked about back in school even though it has been almost 10 years since I graduated. I have never really thought of myself as someone who has made a difference but it seems that I have. I guess I just got overwhelmed by the fact that I have never participated in protest marches or fancy campaigns. Instead, I have focused on playing with children, listening to them and treating them like adults; or giving out valuable business ideas/advice for free; or just smiling; or spending some time teaching someone a valuable skill; or helping a friend. Small things to do but perhaps, that is the way to go.
So, in this vein, one of the issues really bugging me is wastage of food in restaurants. As someone who has always carried a doggy bag (either for hungry friends or for beggars) consisting of leftovers from a meal at a restaurant, it has always bothered me as to what restaurants do with the food which is left on the tables or even at the end of the day. I have been told that it is thrown in the bin. I don’t understand that because this is valuable food which no one is eating and people are going hungry on the streets. On my birthday, I left a small comment in the feedback form asking the restaurant to give leftovers to the poor. Of course, I know that is not enough.
So, here’s my question, how do I get one restaurant to change their waste habits? Does anyone have any ideas or know of any success stories or can point me to any resources which might help me in making this one tiny change?
Fourthly, my birthday resolution this year is to be happy and to be myself. Quite a tall order but one I believe I have some hope of achieving it.
Here’s to a happy and meaningful 28th year on this planet!