It’s never as good or as bad as you think it is
Now, It might seem like a condescending offhand quote which every pretentious essay starts with but believe it or not, it has been something which I have come to understand this year. If I had to sum up the year in terms of golf terms, it was “well above par”. After the crash and burn, I witnessed in 2021, it wasn’t going to be hard to top it. I really can turn back and say, it was the best year of my life I have lived so far. If 2021 was Bukowski, 2022 was Murakami.
Fortunately or through sheer luck, I found myself in the company of some great people, who had seen me right through school and my undergrad, but I feel this year the connections really blossomed. I’m proud to admit that, one of my best friends today is someone I have known for almost 18 years. Almost all my life. Now I don’t know how we managed to keep it together and not just drift apart like most friendships naturally do. Still, after all this time, we remain in touch and probably are each other’s counsel when it comes to navigating life and dealing with things in general. It will probably go right up there in my list of achievements alongside not having watched a single episode of Game of Thrones. :p
On the topic of friends and humans in general, I think I have also come to a realisation that just like Rome wasn’t built in a day, it wasn’t built by just a single person either. I’d say as someone who is comfortable with his own company, I really could go on for weeks without much human interaction. “Work From Home” destroyed all preconceptions. I’m not really sure if we can call it “Work from Home ‘’ because it really doesn’t get much work accomplished (at least for me), but hey, there are accomplished literature scholars who should coin a better term. That’s not my job. I digress. Working from home, sometimes 8 hours a day, in front of a lifeless laptop screen is excruciatingly painful. Even harrowing maybe. I crave to go to work now and meet my colleagues even if I haven’t gotten much of a chance to know them, the default human configuration in me definitely did override my fickle illusion.
Work has generally been good, it pays me so I endure it is what I sometimes tell myself. I come across an extremely melancholic quote and fall into a spiral of existentialism, but then 5 minutes later I’m back on Microsoft Excel looking at rows and rows of data with varchar, numeric and date-time types. I’m not sure where I stand on capitalism or what kind of economic reforms we need, but working in an MNC as a young adult earning some money has been liberating. It’s not a lot of money, but it has provided me with perspective as well as freedom. I think they both go hand in hand, perspective and freedom.
That dopamine high does wear off after a few months. Jargon that you thought was boring and something that didn’t concern you take a sudden entry in your life. This is where I felt perspective comes into play. Making money is one thing but keeping a hold of it is even more complex. Firstly, the government is out to get you because how dare you try to earn money on their land? Then it’s your own impulsive spending and rash decisions made while being extremely drunk which you regret the next day. Death, Taxes and Spreadsheets are the only constants in life.
Life is nothing but a slow decay. But I don’t want to decay on my own. So this year I decided to find someone who could and would like to decay with me. There was this really great person who felt like a breath of fresh air. Thinking back, it was probably the most enjoyable part of the year just getting to know this person. But as life would have it, it descended into a “Modern Love”-esque plot. It definitely does feel like a big misfortune when you think “wish I had met them at a different point in my life”. If I had to put my love life on a scale of 1–10, this year would be a solid 8.5.
Among all this, there were numerous occasions I felt really worthless. The chill in your spine when you realize you might not be good enough. It was a tussle between giving up and keeping going. It wasn’t an easy year at all. There were moments of despair, and on the flipside moments of zeal. I don’t think I’d change a thing about it.
Shantanu, signing off.