Lessons on the trail.

Have you ever tried to change something fundamental about yourself?

It’s a wonder human beings have survived as long as they have with their inherent abhorrence of change. We are awed and humbled by people who change themselves voluntarily. And we are constantly striving to duplicate that accomplishment. But in a desultory, half hearted manner. Because we do not want to really change to make our problems to go away. We just want our problems to go away, with a minimum of effort on our part. Indeed, if we really wanted to change, there would no self-help hot-cakes on every book shelf or million views on weight loss youtube videos. These businesses are thriving because we fail to change and then try over and over again – contributing our bit to the happy commerce of inadequacy. So, if you are a person, let’s say like me, who’s trying to break the manufacturer’s mould and create a new one, there are a few things you might want to keep in mind.

Force yourself to enjoy life. Life is not fun. It is grim and more often than not, resembles strongly a solitary plane journey with less than optimum leg room, and maybe a snorer in the next seat. But you will have to force yourself to not be cranky and resist giving them dirty looks from time to time. It’s like using the point of view gun on yourself. Look at life as how you wished it was instead of how it is. Dream a bit. And failing all else, smile through gritted teeth.

Make jokes. About yourself. About the things you hate about yourself. It’s the easiest way to make people laugh at you, and then in a bit, with you. Treat your flaws like a bad haircut. You can’t force your hair to grow faster. But what you can do is shrug, give a sheepish smile and tell people how your hairdresser is secretly plotting to kill you by depression.

Drink. It’s easy to talk about how one must be strong and not let mere alcohol be more important than the good things in life. But you know what, it’s difficult to fight too many battles together. Pick, choose and when you’re done with it, pour yourself one to celebrate. Take the edge off.

Maintain friendships. Nothing is easier than ignoring people. Society’s general reluctance to be a clingy nuisance combined with the option of barring calls, makes it so easy for us to just be by ourselves (except the occasional social network). Don’t. Invest in people, as a very close friend tells me. They owe you then and you get to play Godfather.

Attempt to see a point to things. Not in the exasperated what-is-happening-to-me-and-why way. In the there-must-be-a-purpose-to-this-and-I-would-see-it-if-I-wasn’t-so-dense way. Because only by assuming things to have a purpose will you stop wasting a lot of time on trying to ‘figure out life’. Let it go. And if it comes back to you, drink.

Discover health. There is nothing wrong in taking care of yourself. Being on a diet is not stupid. It’s your first faint step towards change and no matter how many times you break that self imposed rule, it will never feel as bad as not giving a damn and doing nothing. And if you are suffering from rude health like yours truly, just make sure you milk every rare sick day for all it’s worth.

The last one. Love. Something, someone. Make sure at all times there is one thing/person which gives you absolute happiness in life. Because, in the end, all change takes time and there must be something making the wait worth it.


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