“Someone once told me the definition of Hell: The last day you have on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become.”– Anonymous
I just heard this quote today and it literally sent chills down my spine. I dread meeting the person I could have become, and then looking at the life I live – my thoughts, daily activities, interactions with people, and contributions to the community. The incredibly tiny steps towards ‘self-growth’ that I take seem laughable at best and pathetic at worst. And that is, without even spending adequate time and effort to understand what kind of growth is really growth for me. I am appalled at the current state of affairs and feel the urgent need to make a change.
So I decided to think of what I commit to doing so that I can be closer to the person I wish to become. The person I know I can become if I can give up this mental and physical lethargy. A pathway that will help me live a more focused life, a life of integrity. Where my day reflects my goals, my ideals, and what I consider most valuable. Values I think will honor the gift of life that I have received, a privileged life.
Yes, I live a privileged life. Not a private jet kind of privilege but the kind of privilege that does not have to worry about food, clothing, or shelter. The privileged few who have access to education, learning, creativity, and self-expression. By this definition, a very large number of people on this planet do lead a privileged life. And what do we do with it? We eat, drink, and do what shows up before us – browsing mindlessly or scrolling through social media, or binge-watching a show we never liked in the first place. A supposedly high-functioning individual perhaps holds a job and provides mediocre contributions. But most likely he does just enough to stay employed, to get paid. And then again, what does he do with the money he makes? Continue the shallow, material, and mostly mindless existence.
So I want to stop and think. Who is she? That best version of myself? To my surprise, I find I know her quite well. I can see her quite clearly in my mind’s eye. and yet my reality is so different. I know what needs to change and after giving those gaps some more thought, I decided to put together a list of values – anchors that will define my existence day in and day out.
Here is some of what I need to do to be the best version of myself:
- Exercise – This body is my only tool to complete my life’s work. Do I treat it how it deserves to be treated? Sadly the answer is no. I am doing some but not enough. The excess weight my legs, ankles, and knees have to trudge along because of my neglect is absolutely unforgivable. I will do 10 K steps every day except the days I do a 60-minute yoga.
- Food – I will eat self-cooked meals every day. Merely for one meal each week I will eat out/ eat food that I have not cooked. I will focus on cooking intuitively and carefully so that I can tune in to my body’s needs and give it just that, no more and no less.
- Meditate – I will spend 30 minutes a day doing pranayam and/or meditation.
- Rest and recreation – When my body demands rest, I will give it rest. When my mind desires relaxation and/or recreation, I will actively find ways to keep it happy. I will be my own champion. I will make sure I don’t make any absence of rest and recreation, an occasion for further self-sabotage.
- Writing in my journal – I will write 3 pages each day, every day. This is where God speaks to me and helps me understand who I am and what my path should be.
- Integrity – I will do only what makes sense to me and not succumb to any external pressure. No amount of convincing, persuading, cajoling, or even threatening will make me act in a way that doesn’t feel right to me. Something that my inner sense of right and wrong disallows.
So that’s my list. What does yours look like?