Thursday, May 6, 2010

Letting Go

I decided to add a song to each blog post; one that is in my head or that compliments the mood of the post. Today's song: All the Way Down - Glen Hansard

I have been browsing through some old papers and realised (as I have done many times before) that life has left me jaded - I used to be passionate about everything and anything. I remember going to Europe and London with my aunt and uncle and annoying them with my overwhelming curiosity.

You have broken me all the way down
Down upon my knees
And you have broken me all the way now
You'll be the last you see

Life changes you. When things don't pan out as you wish they had repeatedly, you build a shield to protect yourself from getting hurt.

When I first started working (mind you, it was a minimum wage job in a clothing and accessory factory store), I was psycho obsessed. I would be excited to wake up every morning and be ready an hour before work. I never took lunch breaks, and I was usually the last person to leave. I worked fast, I worked hard, and when there was nothing to do, I found something. For example, the entire back wall of the store had cubicles in which jeans were folded and arranged in size, style and brand. Each cubicle held an average of ten pairs of jeans, but most of the cubicles were empty. So I went to the manager and asked him if I could do an entire clean up of the jeans. He told me I was crazy and that he didn't have enough staff to waste time on replenishing jeans. I went ahead with it, shifting jeans that were already on the store floor and bringing down stock from the store room. It took me a week, but in the end I had brought down over 300 pairs of jeans, had them size tagged, folded them and arranged them into cubicles according to size, style and brand. I admit, I did not do it all on my own, but most of the time, it had just been me. In the end, I felt as if I had achieved the greatest thing ever, and that made me happy. No one else cared. However, I did.

Forward three years, I had moved to the cash desk to work as a cashier. I started of as the fastest cashier and the few times that I had made a mistake, I would go home and torture myself over it, trying to work out how I could have made such an error. No one liked me except the managers and the casual staff who didn't really care much about the job. None of it mattered. Then, I started campus and was only worked weekends. The store was quiet, there was nothing to do and I was tired of hearing other staff members constantly complain of their lives. The spark within me had died. I had lost the motivation to do more than what was required of me.

Passion fades. When I was a kid, my uncle told me that passion is like taking the first sip of passion fruit juice and swirling it around your mouth. Allowing each taste to tease your taste buds; feeling the pips crush under your teeth; and pausing after you swallow to acknowledge the lingering after taste. Passion, in his eyes, was something worth savouring.

Another area in which I had recently given it my all is love. I loved this guy completely for years. I went all in; given him every piece of me. My entire campus life revolved around him; not that I had stalked him, but I had arranged my life around him. I walked out of an examination once without completing it because I had seen him walk out and I had wanted to chat to him. I once changed my timetable so that we could be in a lecture together (ironically, it was that lecture that allowed us to become friends). When he spoke to me, I was insanely happy; and when I didn't see him, I felt like I wasn't complete.

When the friendship failed catastrophically, I felt as if I had failed. As if I was defected and inadequate. I blamed myself - which only augmented him into something more perfect. The spark within me that let me love everyone and everything had faded. I would even get annoyed with my pets and friends, yearning to be alone in my misery. My talents became mediocre. My life seemed worthless. The passion had faded.

Passion may fade, but passion may never die. We become afraid of failure and we prevent ourselves from getting hurt. Our safety mechanism is to hold back; to stop caring; and to self-indulge in our own pity.

Today's inspiration: rekindling passion.

Last night, I stared at my computer screen, trying to complete preliminary tasks for this job that I had applied for. The tasks were mindless, and I barely understood what I had to do (maybe I was just complicating something simple). I ended up not completing it after coming up with a list of reasons for why this job was not suitable to my needs and capabilities.

It made me think about campus, about school, about work. For some reason, I don't remember ever giving 100% of myself to learning. I remember not doing homework since I was in grade 3. I always left studying for examinations for the last moment. It was not because I was lazy or uninterested... but because I was scared.

The thing is, when we don't put in everything that we are into something and we fail, we can always say that it was because we had not tried our best. When we do push ourselves to our greatest potential and we fail, our entirety fails. There's nothing to blame but ourselves.

There is no point to life if we don't live life to the fullest. There is no point in doing things halfway and letting them slide as if we never cared. I believe  that if we want something, we should do everything that we can to get it, regardless of how many times we fail. I apply this philosophy to relationships (family, friends) as well. If you care about someone and things go wrong, you should to everything that you can to fix it (however, within limits). 
Life is short. We need to learn how to let go of all the pain and fear that hinders us from living passionately. When you learn how to let go, you will learn how to live. Nothing will be able to put out the passion within you.

Life is beautiful. Don't let it slip away. Deactivate your protective shields and allow yourself to feel, to savour every aspect of life, be it pain or love or happiness.

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