Acceptance is a Small Quiet Room

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Dear Friend,

I just got to know about your recent unsuccessful attempt at the exam. I know you prepared very hard for it and you were confident that you would make it through. You must be feeling heartbroken. You must be feeling hurt, angry, disappointed, lost and even confused as to what you did wrong. You must have checked your result multiple times, to make sure that you are not mistaken. And you must be getting haunted by the unlimited calls and messages that you would have been getting from friends and relatives. You want to be left alone, but at the same time you are afraid to be left alone. The future is terrifying, so much that you cannot even imagine it. Thought of doing it all over again, studying the same concepts again to attempt the same exam again. But why should we expect different result if we are doing the same thing again. Fine, lets assume that we leave this. Then what? What would I do?

My friend, I would like to start by asking you to relax. Take a deep breath. Although you might not agree with me right now, but believe me its not the end of the world. Sometimes, life gives us certain complicated riddles and it starts to seem as if there is no way out. We are growing up in this world and we have been taught that hardwork never goes waste and its part of a big plan and if you have worked hard for it, you would get it. And slowly we are realizing the fact that although this may be true, but may be not entirely. But it still is not the end of the world. It was not the last time a job was posted. It was not the last time an exam was conducted. There will be numerous exams like this and on one such exam, you will see your name in selected candidates.

Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Sometimes you’ll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you’ll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room. My friend, lets start by accepting. Lets accept that yes, may be we screwed up. May be we lost this battle. May be, we were not good enough. Accept it. It is a small quite room. You will find yourself  in that room, realizing that there’s no grandiose parade to arrive there. There’s no welcoming committee or celebration that you’ve finally made it. Nope, none of that. It’s just you, and the quiet, almost silent (if even there at all) realization that you’ve turned to a new page of your life.  If you are feeling that you are at your lowest, be happy because you will only progress from here.

This is the very first step. And probably the most difficult one. Whenever someone loses a loved one, the hardest step is to accept the fact that yes, it happened. And that acceptance comes eventually, sooner or later. It is a pain which one has to go through. There is no other way around it. Nobody will protect you from your suffering. You can’t cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. It’s just there, and you have to survive it. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal. Acceptance is a small quiet room. And that is the scary truth.

Your assumptions about the lives of others are in direct relation to your naïve pomposity. Many people you believe to be rich are not rich. Many people you think have it easy worked hard for what they got. Many people who seem to be gliding right along have suffered and are suffering. Many people who appear to you to be old and stupidly saddled down with kids and cars and houses were once every bit as hip and pompous as you.

But believe me, you are not the first person who was ever exposed to this pain. You are not the first person who was ever frightened or even sickened by such situations. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily some of them kept records of their trouble. You’ll learn from them- if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. Its history. It’s poetry.

These seemingly useless days will add up to something. The shitty hours at studying and cramming up the text. The hours writing in your notebook. The long meandering walks wondering what the future might hold. The hours reading books and newspapers and novels and dead people’s diaries and wondering about fun and God and whether you should take a rest or not. These things are your becoming.

One evening when you will be all successful and surrounded by people who are waiting for you to pay attention to them or wants just a little bit of your life, and your days will be way too busy to be thinking about yourself or talking to friends or even sitting with your family, you will miss these days where you could actually do that and you wasted worrying about your future. And I promise you, these days will come. You will regret the small thing you didn’t enjoy for the rest of your life.

So, my friend, take a deep breath.Thank God that he made you so capable that you had the brain to prepare and attempt such exams. I know you must be scared. But my friend, remember that life is often found in the dance between your deepest desire and your greatest fear. Believe me, this pain will not last. What did beckett say- Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

Your’s Truly

Pallav