The transition of a decade #10yearchallengeMuhammad Ahsan
The transition of a decade #10yearchallenge
Starting off I must say that I am a little late to the party, with all the controversies of #10yearchallenge being a gentle prod to mine data to train facial recognition algorithms or just a complete stupid fad, I thought it was a great time to reflect back not just the visual layer we all transform through but the emotional and the psychological evolution I went in from 2009 to 2019.
I’d sum it all up in ten key realizations and songs which I relate to deeply.
Table of Contents
Acceptance of diversity
I was a very different person in terms of how I perceived other people who didn’t had the same school of thought as I had. I wasn’t a crazy jerk to others thanks to my introvert personality, but I had a very rigid notion of categorizing people in stereotypes sometimes doing it without even realizing I was doing it. As with nature it was a slow process of evolution into a person who now accepts diverse thoughts, ways of life and journeys.
“Diversity is about all of us, and about us having to figure out how to walk through this world together.” ~Jacqueline Woodson
Not feeding the energy vampires
Oh yeah you read that right, vampires do exist and no they don’t lust for your blood, but they do suck your literal life energy and they are everywhere. If you aren’t careful, you may end up being a feeding bag and loose yourself in the process.
Now before you ask me again, let me clarify who these vampires camouflaging as normal folks are. It’s easy to point them out if you are surrounded with one, just look if someone constantly devalues for who you are and what you stand for, if someone has always a reason to prove that you are wrong or pursuing the wrong path, if someone who radiates negative energy in every breath they take then you know it’s them.
Being an INFP personality, I loved and strived to be of help whenever possible but sometimes that became a burden to carry as I was getting exhausted more and more before I realized that I needed to guard myself from these suckers and keep my sanity in check.
Here is a handy survival guide if you want to protect yourself from energy vampires.
A planned life is boring albeit, a necessary evil
No matter how much I endeared the idea of being spontaneous and living the carpe diem philosophy, I found myself walking the fine line between being organized and a person who has no idea what’s going on.
Planning sounds dumb and boring which it may or not be depending of which school of thought you belong too, but you can never underestimate the importance of doing so and specially if you are ADHD like me.
I learned to be boring every now and then whilst at the same time being flexible enough to sail into the mist of unknown with the right frame of mind.
“One of the secrets to staying young is to always do things you don’t know how to do, to keep learning.” ~ Ruth Reichl
You don’t have to be perfect
In the age of social media and a constant stream of updates from your circle, which is filtered to just highlight the most exciting moments of their lives makes one feel as if he/she is the only looser in the world. Depression and anxiety will take over, I was one of the millions who fell in the impression of how everyone around them was having the time of their lives whilst here I was just barely making through the struggle.
I learned that being vulnerable and open about it, is emotionally rewarding than fixating on having a completely fictional representation of oneself. This blog is a testament to exposing my vulnerable sides, staying human and connecting with those who share similar journey.
People who mattered may become a distant memory
At one time, I barely could think of hanging out with people whom I didn’t know out of my family circle, being that weird kid in school who sits alone and then time happened.
Even though I am still the introvert person as I have always been, but I’ve had to adapt myself to get out of my comfort zone. Lo and behold ten years and thousands of acquaintances later, I now not only realize that people come and go, but also some may drop out of your radar altogether and that’s how life just works.
Analysis paralysis is akin to being in a coma emotionally
If you are reading the words “Analysis paralysis” for the first time, then here is a very layman version of the definition. It’s when you have so many options to choose that you cannot decide which one to go with.
I am certain that many of us have been there where we just overthink things too much until it becomes a fever and things never get done. This has been my pet peeve for eternity, however with time I’ve learned to embrace it and put my crazy neurons to work in tandem with my consciousness.
Learning to say NO
This directly relates with point #2. I was a big-time sucker for getting out of the way and saying YES, often to my own peril. It took a lot of courage for me to say NO when something is asked of me which takes a toll on my wellbeing.
I know it’s shocking that it took me 10 F@#*ING years to realize the importance of putting myself first.
“Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” ~ Eleanor Brownn
It’s okay to be different and stand out
Perhaps one of the most important one of all the realizations I made, is that it’s completely okay to be not normal, to be different, to not conform to societal/cultural stereotypes, to be misunderstood and to be judged by scale you don’t belong in.
Just as much as it was a journey to accept diversity in others, it was exactly same process wherein I finally accepted that I don’t have to subscribe to other’s ideas of living the life, it’s mine and I must make conscious choice to live it the way I want. I don’t have to justify and/or reason my decisions to anyone.
Below are some of the most common things said to me:
- You don’t have focus, you’d never get far in life
- You have far too many interests, just pick one
- You made a big mistake taking an unorthodox major, which wasn’t directly tied to specific JOB
- What you can’t drive, oh you’ve committed a cardinal sin punishable by eternal taunts
- Oh, you work from home office, clearly you don’t understand what real life looks like
“They laugh at me because I’m different; I laugh at them because they’re all the same.” –Kurt Cobain
There is no standard definition of SUCCESS
I have observed this fact more in the last ten years than the first twenty years of my life. As I matured enough, I began to associate that somehow becoming successful I’d finally find the place where I am content too, whereas my experience on the contrary led me to explore the roads less taken.
I self-doubted my decisions when I compared my results to that of others, but those trials gave me the confidence to venture into new unknowns and come up a framework of life wherein the variables of success are dictated by how I feel, not by the metric set by others.
I enjoy working less than 10 hours per week sometimes and on other weeks completely burning the midnight oil every F@#*ING night.
I love being home to cook my parents their breakfast and seeing my nephew grow up in front of my eyes, I love how easier life got once I stopped measuring myself to the scale of success on just one vertical is that of money.
Kindness goes a long way
It helps that you aren’t a douchebag, but in all seriousness, I cannot recall how many times I’ve built strong relationships, business network, calmed people down when they were at the edge of bursting with anger and got away with much more value than I’d have normally would; just by doing one simple thing, being kind, appreciating and understanding others struggles.