I stood leaning out of the window. Where art thou my good ol’ days?
I was watching a bunch of guys play cricket from my balcony. It reminded me of all the cricket I had played with my friends, of all the streets we toured, and of all the rules we made up. That feeling of nostalgia was swiftly replaced by the question I asked myself a lot lately:
What’s the point?
Not the existential ‘what’s the point of life’ question, but, ‘what’s the point of freaking cricket’? The longing for the good ol’ days turned into a regret of having wasted the early part of my life on pointless recreations. Only if I had focused on learning a skill or becoming better at something, I sulked into myself.
Here’s where two of our generation’s greatest pursuits collide. The pursuit of happiness versus the pursuit of happiness through self-improvement. The happiness answer is easy. Does cricket make me happy? Yes! Then, go play! If not, go eat more Cheese Popcorn and call everyone a loser.
The becoming better/self-improvement answer is not as easy. There’s more than one question to answer. Like what’s the goal? Is this the best use of my time? Will cricket help me get into the Indian team and watch Virat Kohli get pissed as I replace him as the new captain? If not, it’s pointless, and doing pointless things will only make me unhappy in the long run.
Being happy now is pointless if it makes you unhappy next week or next month or next year, so you choose to ignore that longing and instead focus on things that will help you achieve your life goals because instant happiness doesn’t last, right?
Okay, have you spoken to people who sacrificed all that instant happiness and got to their life goals? Apparently, a lot of them have a question:
What’s the Ricky-ing point of all this?
This is the classic successful people wake up early v/s what’s the point of being successful if you have to wake up early conundrum.
Everything needs to have a point because that’s what will help you get to your goals, but getting to your goals is not the point because it’s the journey that matters.
It was hard for me to comprehend what this journey meant. I thought I would try anyway. It was a tad late, because cricket was over, and the only company I had was a bunch of kids playing in the garden. I joined them anyway.
One kid was randomly throwing stones into a puddle of water– mostly at the reflection of my face on the water, the other kid was running in circles like he were staging out the metaphorical meaning of life (okay, sorry), and this one dumb kid was just sitting on a swing. She was just sitting there. NOT swinging. Feeling unproductive for both of us, I asked her if I should push the swing or something and she just looked at me like I am the one who is stupid.
And I was.
All along, I thought that you had to constantly swing in this pursuit of self-improvement. That you had to keep moving, keep kicking, keep pushing harder, and then go onto another swing and repeat until you swing on enough swings. Ironically, just watching that kid sit there showed me the futility of this pointed glory that no swing will ever take you all the way around, and even if it miraculously did, you would be back where you started.
This is, not EVERYTHING you do needs to have a DAMN point.
That there is no point to all the swinging if you can’t just sit on a swing and be completely okay with it.
There’s this famous adage: There’s no path to happiness. Happiness is the path.
I think somewhere along the way we started putting in goals and milestones and rewards and productivity and efficiency and optimization and Pareto principle and kinda got caught up in that one path and – we stopped wandering around pointlessly.
There is no point to any of the wandering around, wandering around is the point. Sure, you could get lost, but what better way is there to find yourself?
I think I will go sit on that swing for a while now.
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