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Leisure If you could go back in time, what would you do differently?

Discussion in 'Business, Lifestyle & Leisure' started by Aisha, Aug 25, 2013.

  1. Aisha

    Aisha
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    Hello Sangat Ji,

    I hope everyone is doing well :) I am not, so I will just dive nose-first into it:

    My entire life, I've felt like I need to be in control of everything- from school, to work, to goals and relationships. I would make lists of what was important to me/what I wanted, and outline steps to getting what I desired. And it worked great, up until a few weeks ago.


    I have now realized that my future is one big blur, I have no idea what is going to happen. I know it sounds silly, none of us know what is going to happen in the future, but what I mean is that I don't have the faintest of ideas what I want, where I am going to be years down the line, how I am going to get there etc... And so I have felt like one big wreck for the past few weeks. The feeling isn't new, I usually find something to stress myself over big time every couple of months, but this is different. The last one was 2 months ago, I quit my part-time job because I couldn't juggle it along with my schoolwork, and I am already in so much debt, quitting my job meant it was going to keep piling on until I was out of school (3 years) and started Residency. And like every time before that, my BF was able to calm me down and talk sense into me. But it isn't working this time.

    You see, beyond finishing school, getting a real job and marrying my BF when life slows down enough to let me breathe, I don't know what is going to happen. Beyond those three things, I have no goals, nothing to look forward to, I don't know where I'm going, what I want to accomplish, nothing! I have talked about this with my BF, he has tried his best to comfort me but to no avail. I think most of you know that he is Sikh. The interesting thing is that over the past couple of months, as a result of my time spent on this site and other avenues of researching Sikhi, I have come to know more about the philosophy of the religion than he does. I have all this wonderful knowledge stored in my head, but that is where it stays. If someone quizzed us on Sikhi teachings, I would most likely end up with a higher mark. But I have a hard time applying what I learned. He, on the other hand, lives like a Sikh. He is always in Chardi Kala, I don't know how, but nothing seems to bring him down. He spends his free time mingling with others, has his volunteer/charity work, and if it isn't that, he's at the Gurdwara (he knows everyone there). We will walk down the street on the other side of the city and it isn't uncommon to run into someone he knows, and he will spend 20 minutes talking to that person when we need to be somewhere else. I am worrying about being late, and he is lost in the conversation.

    He is one of those people who feels like the best way to live is in the present, that the best way to learn is through experience. When I told him about my worries, he told me to relax, that we would figure things out as we went along, that it was okay to make mistakes because you learn something from each one, and sometimes it is fun to screw up, because being perfect and having everything figured out is boring. I really do admire those qualities in him, I wish I could have them, but I can't. He never seems to be worried about anything, while I am always worried about everything, he is only concerned with the present, while I spend more time thinking about the past and future, he wants to learn through experience, I want to learn through foresight, he laughs at everything, and I am usually stressed out over things, he doesn't care care about making mistakes and actually thinks there is something humorous about being in a pile of sh1t, about being backed into a corner, having a major screw up because you can laugh about how dumb you were to get yourself into a situation like that, whereas I do everything possible to avoid doing something wrong. When we told our parents about our relationship last year, and they flipped, I was terrified it would break us up, he was having a laugh over how mad they were. When I told him that my brothers might be looking for him, he thought it was funny that he could get beaten up. Sometimes I wonder how we have even made it this far, our personalities are so different, he probably thinks I am a party-pooper, I don't know how he puts up with me.

    I guess I could say that I am having a quarter-life crisis, if such a thing exists. I am 23 years old and feel like I have done nothing, that my life up until now has been a waste. All I have done is racked up a pile of debt (that is still getting bigger), I got no job, I'm still in school, I haven't travelled or done anything worthwhile. And my biggest fear of all is that I will wake up in another 23 years and feel the exact same way, that everything was a waste, that I was wrong about what was important and what was not, that I will have accomplished very little, and the worst feeling of all, knowing that there is nothing I can do to change any of it.

    I believe that "foresight teaches gently, error teaches brutally". Which is why I am posting this on here. Over the past couple of months, I have really come to love SPN, the sangat here is wonderful, everyone is really open-minded, people respect one another, and most importantly, I feel like every one of you has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with the younger members, I am not aware of any other threads on here of this nature, so I wanted to create one of my own.

    Please do not feel like you need to reply directly to what I said above, more than anything else, it was just me venting, I feel better now that I have let it out hahaha :)

    So imagine this: you go back in time, to when you were a late teen/early 20's, when you've just stepped out into the real world and are learning to stand on your own two feet. You take with you all the experiences and lessons you have learned up until now, all the knowledge and all the wisdom, back into the past, getting to do everything all over again.

    I really want to know what you guys feel is important in life, what is meaningless, what pitfalls there are to avoid etc... And if there is one lesson, one truth you would drum into the mind of every young Singh/Kaur on here, what would it be?

    I hope that your knowledge will clear the fog for me a little bit, so I can at least figure out what to focus on and what to disregard. And do not worry about long stories, I quite enjoy reading them lol.

    Also, I apologize if the above post is poorly written or seems all-over-the-place, I haven't slept in almost 36 hours and am surviving off of caffeine. I needed to get this out :D
     
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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    aisha ji

    I hope that my words do not frustrate you all the more, but I do hear you. When I was younger, my approach was the complete opposite of your own. I had no idea where I was going and it never dawned on me that I should think or worry about it. I had no plan other than to complete what I had started - graduate school. If I had been a better planner of my own life, more clever and intuitive about my own future, perhaps I would have gone farther than I have done. But then who really can know that? I have probably gone a long way. But then who can know that either?

    Does planning and figuring out every possible step help? You have to do some of that if you want to pursue a career in medicine. There are real, concrete and critical decision points along the way. The windows for rejection and for success are many and are not imaginary. Prudence and planning are not irrational needs. Life goals are important. Yet life goals can make for a fulfilling future and mislead us into disillusionment at the same time.

    You have to arm your psyche differently. I was able to simply go through life with far fewer complications. Times were different then too.

    So give yourself space to breathe. Take some time to walk away from the fray. Try to sort out what you can really control and what needs doing now, from what you can not really control and what can be postponed. Behind all of this is the reality that we control very little but our immediate present, and not even all of that. I mean this only as metaphor, but chaos theory talks of the butterfly effect. Somewhere something completely unconnected to your own world of the moment, not even part of your planning scheme, happens and sets a chain reaction in play that affects your life unexpectedly. These can be good happenings. Create room to notice and appreciate surprises that can transport you from your plan to a plan that is bigger and even more imaginative, more creative, more energizing than you yourself could have managed.

    I really cannot think of another time I would like to return to. I would like to know I had a few more years to make good on the years I have had. None of us gets that guarantee. You really need to be able to say that you savored more hours of your life than ever thought you would enjoy. How can you make that be your reality? If it is already, then no worries. If it is not, start now.
     
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  4. Brother Onam

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    Sat Naam Aishaji,
    I hear your concerns and state of mind. By the way, if you want to trade and end up in your 50's suddenly, I'd love to be 23 again.
    Aisha, if ever you have misgivings about your purpose and direction, one rule of thumb is to immerse yourself in charity. Whether on a small scale, helping in a home for abused or orphans, or helping inner-city kids with school work, or, on a bigger scale, actually going around the world with Habitat For Humanity or similar group, doing hands-on work with the truly needy; in the end, real purpose is revealed in this work. You may find yourself, and genuine fulfillment in this, and Waheguru, the Great Giver enjoins us to likewise give. Joy On You.
     
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  5. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Brother Onam ji

    I really like your rule of thumb. You know why? It creates more butterflies. More butterflies, more possible happenings, not to go un-noticed, but followed in earnest.
     
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  6. Brother Onam

    Brother Onam United States
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    Spnadmin ji,
    That was exactly my thinking and experience. When you have a little bit of life under your belt to look back upon, you realize how small choices may have taken you to unimagined outcomes. When those doors open, who knows what destination they can lead to? (So Daar)
     
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  7. aristotle

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    Aisha Ji,
    I would not rather lecture you on the importance of something somethings or about how planned regarding the future we should be, because I'm not qualified to do that. But one thing that I have learned in my life so far is that no matter downhill goings are, there is always something which has the potential to pep you up, be it talking to a loved one, or turning on your music headphones in full volume and shutting the world out, or reading that novel you always wanted to read......
    The most important person in your life is you and devoting some time in the day exclusively to yourself is tge least you can do. Keep yourself happy and happy you shall be.:)
    I shall end with the lyrics of a song I have always loved,

    " When I was just a little girl
    I asked my mother, what will I be
    Will I be pretty, will I be rich
    Here's what she said to me.
    Que Sera, Sera,
    Whatever will be, will be
    The future's not ours, to see
    Que Sera, Sera
    What will be, will be. "
     
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  8. arshdeep88

    arshdeep88 India
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    I wont change like to change anything in my past. There had been things which have troubled me in the past too and i am still struggling with my career and i have failed two times at my chance for good post graduate admission for consecutive years,.I have felt miserable as you did mentioned and unworthy of not being able to achieve something or make a mark in my life and still feel sometimes.All these feelings i believe are natural and for a purpose if we learn from them positively to overcome .If someone has hurted me in the past i try to forgive them in my heart and make it a point in my PRESENT not to give my happiness in other's hand .If there is someone whom i have hurted me it has allowed me to be a bit more compassionate than before ,if i have not been a disciplined and hard working it allows me to work more hard and stay focused on my goals,If i have not been able to achieve anything in life it allows me to work towards my goals more passionately.
    If in past i have blamed someone for today what i am either my parents or friends or people around me,today it allows me to be more responsible for my each and every action.
    Troubles,mistakes and pains have shaped us for today as we are .Now its upto us to either take positives out of this and move ahead in our life or wait again for more painful and troubles lessons ahead.

    And about future worries i found this wonderful shabad on ang 1429 of Guru Granth Sahib G
    "Chinta Ta Ki Kijiye Jo Anhoni Hoyi
    Ihe Sansar Ko Nanak Thir Nahi Hoye
    Jo Upji So Binhas Hai Paro Aj Kai kal
    Nanak Hari Gun Gayee Le Chadhi Sagal Janjhal".

    from my limited understanding i could gather that this shabad says that no need to worry about future for the unexpected twists in life as this has been the play of life and nothing remains permanent neither worries not happiness instead focus on the PRESENT moment for a relationship between you and god and enjoy the wonderful life positively.
    So lets work hard positively and forget about the results.

    Between wonderful collection of Gurbani Salok Mahala 9 from Guru Granth Sahib G

    Complete SALOK MAHALLA 9 (NAUVAN) | Read along with Bhai Harjinder Singh Srinagar Wale | Gurbani - YouTube


    Dont worry there are many more like me who are really poor at handling such issues,and that is the reason GURBANI for me has become a motivational ,inspirational and worth learning than anything else.
    Best of luck for the journey ahead and i hope to see you much strong lady ahead in coming years enlightening ,inspiring and motivating many persons like me sister :)
     
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  9. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    I am basically the same person I was 20 years ago, if I could give you any advice it would be that when you feel the way you describe, it is normally a part of the internal changing process that affects us all, do not fear it, welcome it, it is your mind, your body, all growing, leaning towards the light that is the truth.

    Learning can be fun, or a duty, if we laugh at life and learn at the same time, then it is fun.

    I think your doing fine kiddo
     
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  10. Aisha

    Aisha
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    Admin Ji, even though I only know you through SPN, I will still say that you have gone a long way :) I am extremely grateful for the work you put into maintaining this digital jewel, there are very few, if any, other virtual sangats that are as caring, loving, respecting and informative as Sikh Philosophy Network. This is perhaps the only site on the web that promotes what I believe to be the true spirit of Sikhi, the real message of the Gurus, and in doing so you have exposed the beauty of Sikhi for the whole world to see, and I think I can speak for every member of the sangat here when I say that we are deeply touched by the hard work you and others have put into making SPN one of the premiere sources of Sikhi knowledge on the internet, and I will take what I have learned here and carry it with me for the rest of my life and for that I can only say thank you. :kaurhug:


    Sat Sri Akal Brother Onam ji, age is just a number! I am 23 and sometimes feel like I am 80, I know a 60-something year old in real life who is more active and energetic than most teenagers. Sometimes I wish I could be 18 again, here is what my BF always tells me: "learn to live in the present, stop thinking about the past, because if you spend all your time wanting to be 18 again, before you know it you'll be 30 and want to be 23 again, then 35 and want to be 30 again, and your entire life will fly by and you won't have lived a single day". Perhaps he is more intelligent than I give him credit for. Enjoy the present, because one day you will be saying "I'd love to be 51 again!".

    I agree with your post, I would love to travel the globe and help impoverished communities in whichever way I could. St. James said "show me your faith without works, and by my works I shall show you my faith", sounds like he was a smart guy.



    Thank you Aristotle Ji, I will keep that in mind :) What always peps me up is charity work, I remember going to a soup kitchen the very first time as a volunteer back in High School, and seeing the homeless people have tears in their eyes because they got a plate of warm food, and that is all they wanted and it was the only thing they needed to stay happy. As a kid, like most of my desi friends, I used to get lectured everyday by my parents about how ungrateful and spoiled I was, how I always took everything for granted, how they had very little growing up and would have killed for the opportunities I have, but I do not appreciate any of it. I would normally roll my eyes and walk away or carry on with what I was doing. And then you see something like that, people crying tears of happiness because they got a plate of warm food and wouldn't have to sleep hungry that night, coming up to you and thanking you for helping them, it did more to change my perspective than 1000 lectures from my parents ever could, and made me realize that my problems are not real problems and I have nothing to complain about. I just need to get better at remembering that lol.


    Arshdeep Ji, one of my favorite quotes of all time is by Michael Jordan, he said "I've failed over and over again in my life and that is why I have succeeded". Trying and coming up short isn't failure, failure is to give up and stop trying, or worse, to have never tried at all. Success is falling off the horse nine times, and getting back onto it ten. I think perseverance is the single most important character trait when it comes to realizing success, you have the highest IQ in the world, be the most creative, the most clever, but if you don't have perseverance and determination, it will do you no good, so many great mind and genius has gone to waste due to lack of perseverance. But you can have nothing, as long as you are persistent, the sky is the limit. Keep trying, and I will keep you in my duas :D


    Thank you Harry Ji, but I must ask, why do you feel like you are the same person you were 20 years ago? As I understand it, you came to SPN an Atheist and today you are a Sikh, do you not consider that a change? I am sure you have changed, only those who aren't living stay the same, and reading some of your posts, it sounds like you live more in one year than some people will in their entire lives.





    @All the sangat of SPN, thank you for replying and helping, your posts were greatly appreciated and I feel more comfortable going forward now than before, a little foresight never hurt anyone, but perhaps having EVERYTHING planned out really is boring, life wouldn't be any fun if we knew all the answers. Although I would never tell the BF, he'd never let me live it down lol
     
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  11. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    I used to think people changed, as time went on, but I think all that happens is that you get a better understanding of who the 'real you' is. I still feel the same as I did 20 years ago, whether I would still do the same things I did, is another question.

    I suppose what I am trying to say is that when your young, you feel a million different things, and act on all of them, as you get older, you know what to act on, and what to not, but the feelings, for me anyway, are still the same, I have not morphed into a 40 something responsible man, I am the same big child I have always been.

    I called myself an atheist as I firmly believed then that Sikhism was about the heavily Vedicised version that I was exposed to growing up, Never for the life of me did I believe that there was a concept of no reincarnation, no ritual, no chanting, no repetition, no belief that reading things or doing things will change your luck, the change from atheism to Sikhism was easy, because, in my view, Sikhism is not about prostrating yourself before God and making him happy, it is about being in consonance with your surroundings.

    I have in fact found the Sikhism that I was looking for as a child.
     
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  12. chazSingh

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    Aisha Ji,

    Firstly, thanks you for sharing so much from your personal life...it must be difficult to share so much. This is a great post.

    Secondly, the way you describe your relationship...it seems so similar to my own relationship with my wife...

    I'm pretty laid back, don;t think much of the past and future, whereas my wife delves into the past often and is always trying to focus and plan for the future...and our two modes of thinking sometimes clash...but this is a great relationship...

    Your husband may help you over time to reduce anxiety of the future and at the same time, you'll teach him not to get tooo relaxed, as some effort is always needed to plan for the future...do you think this is how it is developing?

    Back to your question...
    For me, coming from a large extended family..and having quite a large friends social circle, i've lost some very good friends over petty things...one example..a very good friend who'm i went into business with...we were very focussed on making money...making the business a success...it kind of consumed us...and our friendship suffered...we argued over who worked the hardest, who should get a higher percentage of the profits...the business fell apart not due to the business itself...but because our friendship broke..

    A Good friendship lost...a very good friend of mine..over some very silly things...
    Its been many years...i've since apologized for my own behavior as has He...but the friendship isn't as it was.

    Our focus was at that time all about money and success...our friends were making money and were having success (whatever that means), and we wanted the same ... but we lost what was most important...not much gained...a lot lost.

    I see this a lot with other friends...and have seen it a lot in family...
    Friendships broken when focus is lost to other less meaningful things...when often a little forgiveness, lessening the mental burden we so often hold...could resolve things.

    Since then i've always tried hard to keep friendships...to not let them dissolve over petty things...doesn't always work but i feel better for having tried.
    I learned a lot from such experiences...they now appear as blessings :)

    Not sure if this was the kind of reply you were after :)

    God Bless Ji
     
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  13. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    aisha ji

    Even if I am any of the things you describe, none of that "me" would be possible if there were not people around to create this forum, sustain its purpose, and be here all the time to speak and be heard. The forum is always about "us" and that great divine sense of it that all fits together just the way it should, "out there" and "in here." So thank you for recognizing the "us" that inspires us to stay together and enjoy each one. You deserve special thanks. I am on the brink of crying actually - from the special, individual and poignant notes you have left for some of our members. All written in such a personal way. May life treat you with the compassion and support that you deserve because of the grace you harbour within you. Everyone of us has been changed by our connection to you.
     
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  14. angrisha

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    Aisha Ji

    I have been there with you... and many ways I still am.... Im a not a planner... My goals beyond a year have never really existed, and Ive met many ppl along the way that seem to have it all figured out or have a 'plan'. Im okay with not knowing, or not having that end game figured out...

    The truth is, there is never going to be a perfect time to 'breathe', life rarely slows down and tells you this is your time to pause. What I have learned is, that you literally have to take it for yourself day by day. You can say I will have a chance to slow down at this time in space, but there is always something to pull you away.... in many ways keeping busy is an excuse not to slow down and actually work on yourself....

    I graduated couple years ago, started working and ended up back home... where life picked up even more. It took me months to carve out mental space for myself, which amounts to about an hour a day (on a very good day). But even if its just 15 mins to sit and meditate or write it truly helps to clear your mind. I cant say that it'll bring you purpose you desire, but your purpose at this moment is to be where your at. Weather that be lost and confused, or some other mental state you find yourself in... The truth is, it isnt your life its your life situation your worried about, and your situation you are in control of to change. You can always CHOOSE to think differently.....

    One of the hardest lessons im learning is, is sitting with wanting when you cant have it yet... (i.e. hukam). When your always planning like you said, sometimes you want to be somewhere (like married to your BF) when it isnt time to get there yet.... sometimes you have to learn to be comfortable when things arent perfect... knowing that they will be... you have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable... Second question I usually ask 'what is this here to teach me'.. somewhere in there is a lesson for yourself to learn to grow from.

    Just remember, nothing lasts forever... Have faith, and you can always control the way you choose to the see world.
     
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