This is something I wrote last week. I meant to finish it later, but then lost that train of thought and lost interest. But I am still posting this because the feeling is still real.
Do we really want to do the stuff that we want to do? People go on great trips, I want to go too. People eat at unapologetically expensive places and I want to eat there too. In reality, I probably just want to lie on my couch flipping channels doing nothing worthwhile. It’s a really complicated thing. My wishes don’t actually feel mine as much as plagiarized from the previous fellow. When I ask myself, do I really want to go on a European tour, I don’t get anything back but a feeble maybe.
We live in the great era of FOMO. I’ll feel horrible if I miss out on whatever good stuff is happening around me. It feels like some kind of a personal failure if I don’t respond quickly enough to my friends on social. If I don’t, I’m out of the conversation and I’m reduced to a worthless wallflower. As long as I can fire off the best quips to keep the connection alive, I am here and a part of the place.
Our passions and interests are so much driven by what the people around us do, it’s very very difficult to know whether we are being true to ourselves. For the longest time, I dabbled with the guitar because I wanted to become a musician. Then one day I grew out of it and ‘fell out of love.’ Now I reckon that was probably not something I wanted to do, but just a by-product of my circumstances at that point in life. Back then, there was a vibrant rock music scene where I was, and some of the live performances really rubbed off on me. I wanted to become them. I bought a guitar and spent so many hours trying to learn some really cool songs all by myself. I love music, yes. I love rock music too, yes. But becoming a musician was never for me. But it did not hit me for a long time, until the day I stopped feeling the urge to practice. With enough exposure to a certain positive experience, we start telling ourselves we want to do it. That experience reinforces belief that it is a step forward.
There are so many such examples. Try for yourself. Pick something you do often and stop it for a while. Do you miss it? Would you rather do something else or nothing at all? Everyone is different, but we can’t help falling into these cliques because they give us widely accepted identities. When supposedly neutral platforms like Facebook herd us carefully into predetermined pens of information to further their own interests, we dig ourselves deeper and deeper into our unwanted rabbit holes. There is not much time to look at ourselves and seek out that which we desire deeply. We are scared that our deepest desires may not conform to the popular notions. No one wants to be seen doing the weird stuff.
As the quote says, you are your true self when you are alone. And that is okay. When I am alone and under no pressure, I will do whatever maximizes the level of my happiness. If I could do anything I wanted and I still go back to playing the guitar, that’s true passion.
The guitar is still with me. A beautiful black acoustic. I’ll try it again – this time from a different place. I will relearn to play the guitar not to become a great musician, but because I like the sound of it.