They say that friends are the family you choose. If that is true - then I am very lucky. After going through a bit of a rocky time at university and not knowing especially well what to do next in life, I found myself doing not very much at all.
I would dabble in the occasional job every now and then just to avoid questions being raised, but I would never end up making continuous efforts or gaining much satisfaction out of doing the work. I thought of going back to school, but couldn’t get much further than looking at the odd online prospectus or two or reading a bit about the course in question. The only thing I had been able to master was going round to my best friend’s house every night without fail, where we would all meet to just hang out together. We would sit around, watch TV and just talk about our days in general - not really realising how many days were passing us by.
I was deeply lacking any form of motivation to do anything, but I was also becoming more and more aware of the repercussions of doing nothing all day. I became rather frustrated with life and couldn’t quite keep up with how quickly it was going versus how little I was doing. This began to consume me and I think my friends began to notice.
Rather than going to my friend’s house at the end of the day, to unwind and chill out - now I would go to vent and rant at others with my scathing comments about this world and what life was (or what my take on life was).
One such evening, when I was explaining (or rather excusing) the fact that I was not doing much in life because I found it pointless and meaningless and a bit of a let-down, my friend Rishi turned to me and just cut me off mid-sentence.
He said, "You're right. There is absolutely no point to life whatsoever. If you want to think that way, then you're correct.”
I looked at him, astonished that he had decided to support my rant… But it was what he said next that really forced me to think.
“So why don't you make something of your life? Make it worth something? What's stopping you from doing that?"
He was right. It wasn’t that people hadn’t said something similar before, it was just the way he said it. Here I was complaining that life didn’t seem worth it, but completely missing the point of it all - that I was the one who was meant to make something of it!
Whichever way you want to look at it, whatever creation story you want to believe - the fact that we’re even here, present on this planet and capable of doing the things that we do is a) a miracle; b) just a bloody coincidence. So, why was I getting so swept up by such a grand (or trivial, I guess it depends on your perspective) question and not making the most of this gift?
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I went out the next morning and got myself a shiny new job or anything like that. But what Rishi said resonated with me through the night.
The next day, rather than sleeping till midday “just because I can” - I went for a walk in the park right opposite my house...“just because I can!” I went and checked a book out of the library after a very long time - “just because I can!” I made a conscious effort to connect with my family again, “just because I can!” And yes, I did take job hunting more seriously because I had found the drive within myself to strive and do better...just because I can.
The words keep repeating themselves, but it’s the attitude with which I started saying them that changed, and needed to change.
What Rishi probably didn’t realise was that by deciding to question me mid-rant on some idle Thursday, he had set chain of events in my brain back on course. Something clicked with what he said and made me really think about the choices I had been making or the excuses I had been using just to avoid doing things in general. Ultimately resulting in losing time that I would not get back, ever.
I’m not dwelling now on the time that I lost because that would not be productive; I’m just making sure that I use my time effectively and productively, so that when it comes to that point in life when they say that your life allegedly passes you in front of your eyes - I can actually have something I am proud to look back on!
So, when it comes to doing things just because you can - one has to perhaps think about the choices they are making - are they contributing to your life? Are you happy with the choices you are making? Are you doing anything, or are you just letting time pass you by?