Contentment or Confinement?

Yesterday I had a really amusing conversation with a friend. Something that deserves a blog post to it. A very casual conversation suddenly took this course:

Him: Hey MK, are you passionate about anything?
Me: What?
Him: Have u ever tried looking for that something you’re really passionate about?
Me: Ummm… yes and no…
Him: Why? and Why?
Me: I am a very weird person. Everything creative looks interesting to me. Cooking, Baking, Sketching, Writing, Designing, Traveling… But none of it really reached the level of ‘passion’.
Him: Sucks.. Doesn’t it?
Me: Not really… I am content with these small interesting things that keep me occupied.
Him: But don’t you want that one thing that would occupy all your time? That one thing that you would want to pursue with single minded devotion even? That drives out everything else and gives you absolute pleasure when you’re pursuing it?
That’s the only thing that you dream about. All day and night. Working on it gives you peace. All you want to do is that one thing. Rest everything is secondary. That craziness… that passion..Don’t you want that?
Me: I have enough craziness in my life. 😛 I’d love to just lead a normal life and whenever I find time these things keep me occupied. I am happy this way.
Him: No I get that. But that ONE thing will make you HAPPIEST. Don’t you want to find what that thing is? One ring to rule them all, and in the darkness, bind them 😉

Some more conversation followed that begets a more detailed explanation. This question that he asked me is something that bothers every 20s something person these days. Each one of us has been through this syndrome. I’d call this a quarter-life crisis(although with the reduced life expectancy of our lot, it really should be called a mid-life crisis). Anyway, the question manifests in this form- “Am I content with my life? Is this what I had been dreaming of all my life? Was all the hard work that I did till date, aimed to achieve what I have right now?” For most people, the answer to the above is no. And then you wonder what that ONE THING is that ignites you. That one thing that you’re passionate about. That you could aim all your energies to and that one thing which will make you HAPPIEST.

And then there are people like me. I don’t have a passion but I am content with my life. Don’t I want to be HAPPIEST? Don’t I want to look for that ONE THING? In my defense, I did try. I have tried each of the thing that interests me but nothing could grip me to the level of passion. I just couldn’t hold on that long. I would bake for some weekends, get tired for it and wouldn’t enter the kitchen for months at stretch. I used to write religiously during college days and just gave up on it. I am an enthusiastic but occasional traveller. I did each of these and still do and these are the things that help me remain content in my life. Would I want to trade all of these for any ONE of these? No I wouldn’t. This reminded me of a conversation with another friend who is so ‘passionate’ about football that he’d postpone his wedding if his team was playing a match that day. I had wondered that day if my contentment with life would be confused with confinement. Was I confining myself to a mediocre life? Was I letting my ambitions down by not actively looking for something I was passionate about? Was I wasting my life not directing all my energies towards that ONE thing?

The quest for passion has turned into a form of rat race. Not being passionate is looked down upon. Being content is considered as a confinement of dreams. However, being content in life isn’t something to be ashamed of. Lacking passion isn’t the same as being unambitious. And it definitely isn’t something to be unhappy about. People spend their lives fretting over the fact that they aren’t passionate about anything. That one thing that’s supposed to make them happiest, is actually resulting in an unhappy present. They sweat hard, first wondering, then looking at all the wrong places for that one thing. They’ll pick something up, spend nights and days over it, sweat over it, curse it when something goes wrong and finally achieve it, only to realize that they either got bored of it soon or that the happiness they felt after the victory doesn’t measure much when compared against what they had before all the rat race. When I think of such a scenario, I feel blessed to have these multiple small things in life that make my life happier. Right now, I am the happiest that I have ever been. It hasn’t come from any ONE thing. Its the little interesting things I keep busy myself with.

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Now the question, does contentment mean confinement of ambitions? Definitely not! I would hate if I was not to have any ambition in life. Ambitions are what make me feel alive. However, my ambitions do not pertain to my passion. I have short term and long term goals that keep me motivated throughout. People who have found their passions are lucky, people whose ambitions are linked to their passions are even luckier but those who keep the flame of life lighted up even without the fuel of passion are no less heroes. Its great to have the one thing that drives everything out, that makes you stretch to reach the epitome of success. It’s great to have your ambitions attached to your passion but it makes no sense to sacrifice the happiness of today in the quest of that one thing. Eventually you’ll realize that success doesn’t measure in the trophies you collected or the accolades you won. It measures in the memories you collected, the lessons you learnt and the happiness you created.

Love,
MK

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