Be kind to yourself. I really mean it. Whatever has happened so far is in the past; nothing you ever do can undo past events. Some people blame themselves for their current life — if only they had made better choices in the past. I fall prey to this sometimes — “I could have had a much better life had I made that choice, if only.”
While it is true that you control some aspects of your life, many events are outside your control — financial condition, relationships, natural disasters; the list of externalities can go on. My thesis is that most people make choices that they think are optimal at that point in time. It is impossible to judge the best case because they cannot account for every scenario.
You never know what new opportunities will come knocking on your door. You just got to keep going despite the bad days. Some days will be challenging, but you will also have happy days.
This is not to say that you decide randomly when presented with choices. You must weigh your options carefully and choose the one you think is best.
I like to think of life as an escalator that only goes up. Once you step on that escalator called life, you cannot get off it. Sure, you might slip and stumble down occasionally, but even if you’re bruised and hurt, you will only keep going up. As you would in an escalator emergency situation, you should seek the help of others (your friends and family) when you feel clueless in life.
Others might help slow down the escalator a little bit so that you can get up on your feet, but the escalator will keep going up no matter what. So, when you fall, relax, seek help, and keep climbing.
Summer is finally here in Vienna. The leaves are back on the trees, which means it is beautiful all around. I’m going to miss this place so much once I leave. I don’t know when or if I’ll ever be back, but yes, I’m going to enjoy the days that are left — reading books, going to cafes to write and have virtual dates, and working on my master’s thesis.
The other day I discussed various life choices with a friend — past, present, and future choices. It is refreshing to talk to people outside of your safe bubble now and then. They provide a new perspective on your worst doubts and help you see things in a different light.
Everyone made choices to get to where they are today. Listening to others can make you feel a little more sane — not everything you decided was the worst. In some cases, you might even come to learn that you are better off than most people, and everyone is trying to work through one struggle or the other.
Deciding to come to Vienna was a choice, going to IIMA and not IIMB was a choice, and engineering was a choice. Most choices were deliberate, keeping in mind the constraints. Did I make the most optimal choices? Most likely not, but I got to own up to my earlier choices and see where the future takes me.
Perhaps the biggest gift that the IITK-IIMA journey gave me is the self-confidence I gained along the way — a belief that even when things get tough, I can slow down a little bit, keep working, and something will work out in the end. I have become more confident in the choices I make. A bad choice might set me back a few years, or I might have to try multiple times, but in the end, things will generally work out, so I’m not too worried.
That is in sharp contrast to how I felt a few years ago. I thought life was running out and that if I didn’t take care of everything now, I would regret it forever. Looking back now, it might not seem like a big deal, but at the time, with my limited viewpoints, I thought that doors were closing on me. To be fair, I’m a few years older now, so it is easier to see things in retrospect.
So, if you feel like you missed out on something, and are questioning yourself, don’t. The doors are not closing on you. Everything is going to be okay. Things are going to turn out great for you.
Go back to the drawing board, brainstorm, and keep moving.
Some essays you might like
I have a blog, in case you did not know. It is my digital garden — a place where I publish my thoughts. I was thinking about discontinuing this newsletter and publishing everything over there. But I decided against it — I shall publish longer essays there and keep sending out this newsletter every two weeks.
Here are some of my favorite essays (yes, two of them are written by me).
What my IITK-IIMA journey taught me about India, the world, and myself
You can read my other essays. You can also buy me a cup of coffee if you’d like. Thank you!
I hope you have a great weekend. Until the next issue, bye! 👋
Loved this! I quite agree with all what you said. I believe we should practice self - forgiveness and compassion because it's not only the right thing to do but also because we'll be staying with ourselves for the rest of our lives. If we don't forgive then who will?