Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Taking stock

There comes a point in most people’s lives when you kinda stop and take stock of where you have been, where you are now, and where you think you’re gonna end up. Actually I’ve been at that point a few times already, but this is the first time I’ve already taken the time to actually write about it. I think there are very few people in this world who, when they come to this point, can actually honestly say that they are perfectly happy with where they are, and most people having an inherent desire to get more than what they currently have or be more than what they currently are, would tend to bitch about what they desire but have not achieved. Which to some point is understandable… being too content with your lot means you will lack drive to get better things. But having a high drive to obtain more also leaves you discontented. So where does a person find the balance? Without a doubt, whether or not a person tends to lean towards accepting their lot or striving for what they want depends a lot on their personality and life experiences.

When it comes to my work, I guess I’m kinda like Goldilocks. I don’t like my chair too big and porridge too hot, I don’t my chair too small or my porridge too cold either, I like it just nice. I hoped to be a reasonably successful career woman, who is allowed to carry out my work with independence and be paid reasonably well for it, but I don’t particularly aim to be at the top of the career ladder, managing my own company with lots of cronies under me. Right now, I can safely say that career-wise, I am pretty much where I want to be, and I have potential to take on a future managerial role in my company, in which case I will likely have a small team of people under me, which is fine (hasn’t happened yet though, right now I’m still a crony, but a crony left to work quite independently :) ). I don’t have a nutcase job of a boss breathing down my neck, and I am very grateful that I am in company with an open working environment and my manager trusts me a great deal, which is a fantastically much better experience than what I had to go through in my previous job at a GLC. For that, I am truly blessed and thankful.

In terms of my personal life and my relationships, however, it’s a more difficult question to answer when I ask if I am truly content with where I am now.

It used to be ‘No’. I’m not quite sure if I can safely say now that it is a ‘Yes’… but I think I’m getting there, because I’ve kinda learned that a major reason for disappointments in life in because of unmet expectations. Usually, these are unmet expectations of other people.

I think in terms of personal life and relationship, most people pretty much want the same thing. To have people they can be close to and enjoy a good relationship with, especially their family. And especially for more girls, they dream of the perfect wedding with the perfect man, after which both man and woman hope for adorable kids who grow up to be filial children that accompany and take care of their aged folks. Kinda like an extension of a fairy tale (which usually stops at the ‘Get married and live happily every after part’).

Unfortunately, reality very rarely turns out to be a fairy tale. People you think are your good friends can end up ignoring you. A husband can cheat on his wife, or vice versa. Children may grow up to be completely ungrateful and dump their folks at an Old Folks Home, never to visit them again.

I remember once when I was in primary school, there was this Indian girl I was friends with. Her name was Dharshini. I thought she was my best friend in the whole wide world. Then one day, I can’t remember exactly what happened, but I believe we were divided into different teams for sports, and I kept bugging the teacher to let me in the same team as her… but she didn’t bother to make the same request, in fact she was quite happy hanging out with other friends. And I remember feeling so sad and disappointed, I even cried. From then on, she was no longer my best friend, and while along the way, I had other ‘best’ friends in school, but I guess that kind of shaped my early thinking of friendship. Eventually, I drifted away from my other ‘best’ friends, and I learned to be less attached to people. To this day, I have many friends, but not many good friends, and not even a best friend. So much that I sometimes wonder who on earth I would ask to be my bridesmaid if I ever got married. No person I can call up anytime and pour my heart to if I’m not happy about something. To some extent, that also comes from my mentality that I hate inconveniencing other people, and I feel that blabbering my problems out to other people would make other people sad and hence inconvenience them, especially when they have no capacity to help me other than pat me on the back and try to make me feel better. I’m not sure why I learned to be like this… but I do know that the unfortunate effect is that I also get a bit annoyed when people call ME to blabber about their problems which I can’t do anything about. I mean, I understand that people sometimes just like to tell their sob stories, but honestly…as mean as it sounds, as long as the problem does not pertain to a loved one being dead or half dead, I can hardly care. It’s horrible of me, I know. I should care. It’s important to be able to listen to people, coz’ only then can I ever hope to develop a close relationship. But I am the way I am now.

Even to my own family, particularly my folks, deep inside, I would like to be close to them and be able to share stuff with them. I have no doubt that my folks love me, especially my mum. But we just did not grow being able to be open to each other and did not express care for each other with hugs and kisses. And honestly speaking, most of the times when I have shared my thoughts on something with my mum, she usually ends up disagreeing with me and advising me to do something I don’t wanna do, and if I show signs of not wanting to take her advice, she considers me rebellious. Too much to explain, but the point is, that has resulted in a clamp down in my openness to her. Not the ideal mother-daughter relationship, but I feel that that has been the only thing I could do to maintain an amicable relationship with her. My mum does it a lot with her 3 year old grand-daughter and her baby sister now, I guess that my mum’s way of trying to make up for how I and my brothers were raised.

There are also too many times on this blog when I have expressed my hope of meeting the right guy, and living that sort-of fairy tale life. I know the reality of it, of course, a lasting and loving relationship involves commitment and perseverance, and a willingness to compromise and serve your partner, not always hoping that the other fella just only do what you want. Throughout my life I have had crushes on… too many guys. Gone through that cycle of analyzing his every action and word spoken to me, looking for a sign of interest in me, experiencing that ecstatic high when he smiles at me. But I’ve also experienced too many times the disappointment at realizing he wasn’t interested in me at all. I’ve experienced and observed married couples who, instead of loving each other, want totally nothing to do with their partner, and even threaten for a divorce every other minute. I know people separated from their spouses, and having to raise children on their own. And I find it ironically strange that the same people in these crumbled relationships are hoping that I will find a boyfriend myself and get married one day. I mean, your experience sucked, why on earth would you want the same thing for me?

For most of my life, I’ve wanted to be with a man. A part of me still hopes for that fairy tales. But knowing the reality of it, I’m now coming to accept the idea that maybe it better to be single for the rest of my life. Oh, the shock and horror of it to most! No husband! No kids! Am I sure I want to live such a lonely life? Do I want to miss on the joy of being in a loving marriage and the joy of raising kids?

Well yes, I’ve thought of it, and the idea of dying without having anyone who really cares about me is pretty sad. But I also know that I would rather be single and lonely than married and STILL lonely (or even worse, hating that man sleeping next to me). I also know that I myself am full of crap, so full of crap that I may end up being the one hurting my partner, and that same crap will be inherited by whatever kids I have. Who's to say that being married will definitely lead to happiness? And speaking of kids, I don’t see the point of bringing kids into this world in the hopes that they will keep me company when I’m old, because it’s very likely whatever crappy personality traits I have will be inherited by them (in addition to having the crappy traits of my husband) and there is NO guarantee that they will not end up abandoning me… or even worse… that they will die earlier than me! Besides, it’s estimated that most of the world’s land mass will be covered with water over the next couple of decades due to rapid global warming, which would mean lack of dwelling space, lack of land for growing food, and pure havoc for our over-populated earth. Don’t want my kids going through that shit. The only regret I would have in not having kids is that I guess it would be nice to have more grandkids for my mum to enjoy... but then I have to deal with them for the rest of my life, and not her!

All in all, at this point in my life, in terms of my personal life, I can say that I have become quite jaded. The fear of being hurt in my relationships has overtaken my need to experience joy in a relationships, and I am willing to sacrifice the potential joy in order to protect myself from the potential pain, and therefore I’m perfectly find maintaining superficial relationships instead of making the effort to develop deeper ones. It’s not what I really want… but it’s what I've become.

I know that sounds rather depressing, and maybe most people reading this would be kinda sad for me. But there is no reason to be. Every person in their relationships has their joys and sadness, ups and downs. I prefer to take path of more… stabilized emotions… and sometimes it saddens me because like any normal girl I still wish and hope for love, but for the most part, I enjoy my independence, I enjoy being able to do whatever I want without having to be accountable for other people’s needs or worrying about hurting other people or being hurt myself. I still hope that along the way I find love, and that I learn to care more about other people, and perhaps over time I will change. And being still somewhat a believer in romance, as difficult as it is to find and MAINTAIN, I believe I’ve met only one man in my life who is afraid of relationships for the very same reasons I am… and for that reason, we may just be the right people for each other. And of course, it helps that I think he’s super hot, hmm… but again, one of those cases where the feeling isn’t mutual. But it’s still fun to dream. :)

ANYWAY (see, old habits die hard, I still blabber on about my schoolgirl crushes in the midst of being all contemplative), I see having hope as important, because no matter how jaded a person gets, if they completely lose hope that they will achieve the things they want, that’s just really sad. But at the same time, I wanna enjoy the moment and not dwell waiting for things I may never have.

Thanks for reading my long and boring thoughts, and have a blessed day. :)