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Lesson learned: Life has no destination, it’s a process

Aldina Braganza

I was more of the serious kind of person who always liked to put on my Freudian hat and look at life with a microscopic lens, fretting about all the whys and why not’s.

2019 was an interesting year for me. The way it began was almost magical. I thought the sky had opened up and the one who sits up there was sending me some heavy duty blessings. My lesson came when I thought it couldn’t get any better and everything went south. It was a déjà vu moment all over again.

This got me thinking – What am I missing? What is the big picture? Like an ingrained worm in my head I kept wondering, feeling terrible about life.

I still didn’t get it then. Many lessons later I began noticing one common factor: whenever I gave finality to a situation, things would change. I kept asking, ‘what is my fault in this?’ I have lived by the book, so why this?

I could see a pattern evolve. In my desire for an ending, I ignored the process and like a flashlight I got it. There is no secret ingredient! (The dramatic Kung Fu panda dialogue, which I adore) it all fell in place.

 Life has no destination. It’s a journey. Always changing, always freeing. That which may seem like an overwhelming experience today is tomorrow’s memory and eventually a lesson. And the best part of it all is that we forget and life goes on. My friend Priti calls it ‘time is the boss’.

Many of you may go through moments when you feel ‘how I am supposed to move on?’ The hopelessness of the situation might make it seem impossible. Trust me, just when you get those thoughts in your head, fast forward and look at what you will find hilarious about your present situation. 

It takes a little bit of practice but eventually you get there. I am not undermining your feelings. What I am suggesting instead is a technique so as not to get hijacked by your emotions. It could be anything – a failure, a loss, a broken heart or worse a dreaded disease. Fast forward to a place where you realise how inconsequential that moment is. Stay there for a while and get your strength from the fact that life is a process and nothing is ever final.

There is no destination. When you feel you have arrived. It will always change. So don’t hold on to it so tightly that you cannot let go.

At the top of the list of my new year’s resolution is to laugh more. Let life flow through you and laugh if can when you see the humour in it. Some people will make you laugh and make you happy till you are giddy. At other times the same person can make you cry and you feel terrible and still at other times, the same person may make you feel ‘what the hell was I thinking about?’… Such is the comedy of life.

So, yes, for me 2020 is more about laughter and having fun. It’s about making the most of time and not taking it personal because time is impersonal.

In the greater scheme of life, we and our emotions are as inconsequential as a grain of sand and yet within you is an everlasting energy that is the centre of the universe.

When you get the magnitude of this simplicity, you realise why you shouldn’t take life so seriously. So what if you failed? It doesn’t really matter, and so what if you won? It also doesn’t matter. What matters the most is if you have enjoyed the failing and winning.

Don’t put road blocks to your happiness. I have done a little research about people who have had a near death experience and one of the things they constantly talk about is the fact that we live in a level of consciousness that stops us from seeing the bigger picture. We are constrained with fears and doubts that stop us from literally enjoying ourselves. Older people when asked what it is that they regret the most, they talk about all the little things that made them happy.

We don’t need money to be happy. What we need is an understanding of what brings us happiness. We need to figure out our values. What inspires you to feel good with yourself? Who are the people and what makes you happy? That’s where you invest. Not in the end result but in the moment because there is no end result except death and that too is a cross over to eternity.

Look at the lighter side of life. The greatest lesson I have learned during 2019 is that I am going to let my hair down and laugh a lot more, hug a lot more, enjoy nature, run more miles, dance more often, paint more shells, write more stories and enjoy the comedy of my existence.

(Writer is a clinical psychologist, psychotherapist and the HOD of psychology at Carmel College for Women)

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