>Are you where you were meant to be?

>Am I where I was meant to be? No, let’s rephrase that question: Am I where others thought I would be? How does it matter what others think, but when they tell you that they never thought you would be doing this now and here, you begin to wonder – where did they think I would be?

Last night, over a long phone conversation with a friend, it came up – this line about ‘I never thought you would be doing this, living like that.’ And I started thinking of how I’ve actually lived my life in defiance of most expectations of me, unintentionally though. I haven’t lived up to the idea of ‘me’ that various people formed in their heads. How funny, no?

I have friends whom I lived with in Delhi and who cannot understand how I can live in Lucknow, live in a joint family, live knowing what I have left behind. They cannot imagine how I live like a party-hopper because they haven’t seen me live like one. I have a former editor who can’t tell me enough what a fool I have been for giving up the opportunities that I did. I have a family that tells me I’m not following my calling in life; members of that family tell me how law should have been my calling in life. I have school friends who think nothing of pointing out how I should give it all up (whatever they think ‘all’ encompasses) to be a mother. I have other friends who think I’m successful, pioneering, talented and quite close to the top doing what I was meant to be doing!

How strange that all those different pictures are of me! How did I morph into so many things at the same time and none of them at all?

When I was young, very foolish and very young, I wanted to be nothing but rich. Actually, I always wanted to be well-educated and rich. Polished and rich. Knowledgeable and rich. Smart and rich. And I never then thought I would work to be rich! Somewhere down the line the idea of financial independence took hold in my head and I wanted to do something. At some point, I wanted to be a lawyer but never wanted it enough. I had no idea what I could do to be rich, but I knew that the one thing I could do reasonably well was write. Things fell into place and I started writing. I was still not rich. I gave up writing after some time to be rich. Now I’m neither rich nor a full time writer! Of course, I’m still trying my luck at both! I always wanted to be my own boss and at least, that I am.

I never wanted to live in Lucknow. I loved this city always but I knew I could do so much better if I were in a place like Delhi. I met The Guy, married him and settled down in Lucknow. I was not meant to be here and yet I am. I did not want to live in a joint family. I live in one with six members now! How come I ended up doing everything I was not meant to? And yet, it never occurs to me till someone points it out to me…

Of course, we rarely live our lives that way we thought we would as kids. What did you want to be when you were a child? What did others think you would be? Are you there?

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27 responses »

  1. >Nice post. I have been through such thoughts at times, but I guess this is life. It takes us places, catches us unaware and we mould accordingly. Thats the beauty of life and of humans adapting. And if you have adapted to everything that speaks a lot about u. Isn't it great that inspite of all odds and evens we still try to make the best for ourself.On that note – have u seen – Wake up Sid. Not directly related to your post, but still how we find the calling in life sooner or later.

  2. >I think you've just given me an idea for my next facebook status update….."where do you think I would be at age 30 and what would i be doing?" :). will be fun to see responses from school friends, ex colleagues etc :)It's the same situation with me. Nothing that I thought would happen has….and few things that i never wanted, i've got.i guess it's a case of ……"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I ended up where I needed to be"~Douglas Adams….. coincidently this was my status message on facebook few days ago:)

  3. >I was very ambitious and was known-to be the most career-oriented among my friends. Now, though am working, career has taken a backseat. Now my ambition is to raise my baby as a 'humane' being.

  4. >@M@ria: You're right. I think I was brought up in a way that made me accept things as they came my way. Like I quoted these lines in a previous post, "This was never not going to happen. I was never not coming here."@A: And tell me what you friends say to that FB message!@sscribbles: Very natural too, I would say.

  5. >good post.i think, i've just gone with the flow and done what made me happy. One has regrets, of course. But if you're doing what makes you happy, how do other's expectation of where they wanted to see you matter?

  6. >hmmmm. as always, your choice for posts is profound and simple :-Dwe-e-ell….I wanted to be a vet when I was a child, then, I wanted to be like the woman you see in the Ponds ad- corporate, but not frighteningly so… guess I'm fairly there, working in media as I do. That I wanted to be in advertising is a different issue..My folks wanted the traditional 'good'jobs- doc, engineer, banker… my Dad especially was like- MBA?? and you a girl!! what on earth??? Am glad I could make him proud of his MBA daughter. 🙂

  7. >Totally get what you are saying… for that matter, I guess very few people end up being where they wanted to be.I never ever imagined to marry a south indian guy (though I am south indian myself but was brought up in UP, so more like a northie..) and ended up with one. When I started working at Google, I thought I would never never leave the place for anything, left it for the husband. have always been surrounded with zillions of friends and family, and thought that is all life is. now, i hate celebrating festivals, birthdays etc without all of them and i wonder if i will ever get to go back to them.. :(such is life… this goes in to my Twitter too! 😛

  8. >When people meet me now, they are amazed that I am working in a big organization, earning reasonably well and have left many above average people behind. They had never expected that I would ever go this far and become indepedent and be quite successful in my life. They cannot fathom the fact that I have travelled so much and have some of the best things in life…For them, I was meant to just stay in a small city, get married at a young age and become a house-wife…Sometimes, it makes me feel proud and sometimes I become sad as well.. Sad only because most of the people under-estimated me.

  9. >@Mumbai Diva: Other's expectations don't really matter, especially when you aren't conscious of them. But sometimes they just catch you unawares, making you wonder whether you didn't expect enough from yourself.@JLT: Oh well, the long gap between the last post and this was because I was trying to come up with something lighter but couldn't find anything in my current state of mind…@Rohini: Sometimes, it seems just not fair! Such is life!@Ashutosh: So true!@Soulmate: 🙂 But it's always nice to over-achieve than not, wouldn't you say?

  10. >Nice Post! I am exactly where I thought I would . I dreamed of presenting my ideas to top CEOs and I do that now .I dreamed of marrying for love and I have done that.

  11. >I wanted to be a journalist when I grew up. Became a techie instead. Always knew I would work but am now looking forward to staying home and organizing my family life, kids in particular. Thought marriage follows love, opposite happened. Going back to school was never desirable but am thinking of taking up some courses in writing. Perhaps life may end with what I first desired to be. I certainly hope it does 🙂 I have no idea what people think of me though.

  12. >I think this is what makes life more interesting, especially when you look back. Makes your jaw drop and say 'wow' or something like it.

  13. >A very interesting post! I guess the world has expectation from everyone!!! Though in between there were phases of being deeply dissatisfied, I guess I am quite happy with myself now. What others expect doesn't matter, if one is reasonably satisfied with what one is doing… Also I have seen some people who just say anything without giving any serious thought to what they are saying – … can't take them seriously.

  14. >You know I was thinking along the same lines the other day, when a distant kid cousin told me that people perceive me in a particular way. I was taken completely unawares. I didnt know really that people thought of me at all. I reckon a lot of it is perception. People really dont know what you do, they just see the appearance and the easy manifestations of what you do. Having said that, most people dont do what people think they will i guess. or do they?

  15. >@Utopia: That's a big deal – knowing what you do and why! :)@Saumya: Lucky you! Not all of us have been that clear in our vision and in pursuing it.@Anamika: It's a nice thought to know there's still a chance you may be where you really wanted to be, nay?@J: Maybe. But "interesting" isn't always desirable, eh?@IHM: It's not that I'm affected by others' expectations from me, but I am sometimes surprised!@Cynic in Wonderland: No, I don't think they do. And yes, most of it is about perceptions indeed, not all of them are correct.

  16. >sigh.. not me.. i always wanted to be a teacher.. still do.. but there is no money in that.. which is a sad thing.. i think women are like water..we easily take the shape of whatever vessel life hands out to us and quite enjoy being there! 🙂

  17. >I think very few of us can say that we are where we thought we'd be. Or where others thought we'd be.For most of us, Ashutosh's comment sums it up: Life happened when we were busy making other plans.I have to tell you this: I am amazed at the very thought-provoking and almost universal posts you seem to come up with. Cheers,Quirky Indian

  18. >@How do we know: 🙂 It's a good thing to be able to adapt to situations, but if that's a gender-specific thing, it doesn't make me very happy!@ki: I hope you can look back and be happy!@Quirky Indian: Yes, Ashutosh's comment does sum it up well. As for my posts, well, perhaps they're "universal" because my personal life is so boring 😛

  19. >"And yet, it never occurs to me till someone points it out to me.." That line sums up everything. You are so comfy being where u r that u do not think that u were meant to be anything different. That's the way it should be, right?I never sat back & thought what I wanted to be. At lesat you knew u wanted to be rich +.

  20. >i have always bit vague about what i really wanted out of life. i just wanted to be happy and i am there as of now!wonder if its a bad thing that people might never have expected anything out of you?! ;)cheers!abha

  21. >I wanted to be a journalist or in the hotel line, ended up in a otally different line. I had wanted to get married after working a few years, havign acheieved a c certain position in life, instead I got married sooon afetr college of my choice.My only regret is that I had planned to take a year off and do my Masters abroad, which I will not get to do now. That is my only regret today.

  22. >Of course, we rarely live our lives that way we thought we would as kids. What did you want to be when you were a child? What did others think you would be? Are you there?What a touching, warm post? You are right. I've noticed that very few of us live the life we thought we would when we were kids. I wanted to be a doctor when I was a kid but I became a lawyer. Others thought I'd become a doctor too. In fact, I love the field of medicine, love discussions with doctors even now and yet I've grown out of it and become firmly set in my professional mold as a Supreme Court lawyer.Do I love seeing couples break up and come to me asking for divorce? Do I love grandparents fighting for the custody of a kid whose mother has remarried, had other kids and doesnt have time for this first kid?I don't but I love the fact that I can find ways to make things better for a lot of people out there and yes, it's not about money, it's about adding value to life.Of course, being financially secure is important. People look for those signs whenever you are out. What type of car, what type of shirt, what type of sunglasses, those little details of looking and being rich, don't we all look for those signs?I think I've come a long way and I believe it's not what I chose but I am happy doing it if it makes the lives of others more meaningful and worthwhile.

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