Re-writing my life story

December 8, 2010

IMG 1275 Re writing my life storyIt was a gorgeous day in Santa Clara yesterday. Stark blue skies with wispy clouds thrown in for romance. A sun so bright, you could see its rays bounce off the golden leaves blanketing the sidewalks. The air so crisp, you could spread some Danish Blue cheese on it and enjoy it with a glass of Cabernet.

“It’s a crime to be locked up in the office on a day like this,” said a colleague.

I couldn’t agree more.

Since I’d already written my post about the tiring 9-5 routine earlier that morning, this comment triggered an even stronger urge to question my reason for being here … for compromising with an un-ideal situation … for sticking to the comfort of everyday monotony.

I could be home, working on the book my husband keeps pestering me to spit out of my head. I could be making travel plans. I could be painting – a passion I let go of when I “grew up.” I could be swimming, taking long walks, learning photography.

I could be doing so many things – things that I’ve never had time for. Things that seem so tempting and “fulfilling” from this desk.

But as Tanveer insightfully pointed out in his comment yesterday:

When you write about how you’d like to travel, to meet new people, I think these are merely goals that all of us have in our lives of ‘things we want to do’. But I think for many of us it’s not what we see as our purpose, of what we want to put out there into the world. While I’m sure travelling would be memorable, fun, informative and enlightening, I wouldn’t be surprised if a few months later you find yourself back in this pit of discontent because all you did was divert yourself from pondering the question – what is the purpose behind what you want to do?

I didn’t have an instant answer to his probing question.

But I chewed on it last evening … and some more in the middle of the night when it kept coming back to haunt me.

What do I want to do that will make feel truly “fulfilled?” I have a vague idea … but unless I try it out, I won’t know for sure.

We might come up with a purpose that, assisted by our passion for something, helps us define our life … give some meaning to our existence. But how do we know it is the purpose that will sustain us?

In his post, How to Transform Passion into Purpose, Tanveer says:

For while passion might stir our emotions and get us seeing our jobs as the best ever, it doesn’t have the power to sustain us through those less pleasant moments; to make us want to stick it through and become the model of success that we want to be.

It’s all about doing something you love.

Gail Sheehy an American journalist, lecturer and the author of 16 books, including the revolutionary “Passages,” which remained on The New York Times bestsellers list for three years, asks “What activity do you do where time goes by without your even knowing it?” She calls it the “Time Flies Test.”

I’m sure playing Angry Birds for hours on end qualifies given that parameter, but jokes aside, what is it that gives you utmost peace … what can you immerse yourself in day in an day out and derive so much pleasure from it that you become oblivious to everything else?

Not all of us are at that stage in our lives where we’ve necessarily done something that gave us this feeling of complete and utter contentment. And some might argue that no matter how much you love something, doing anything repeatedly over time will cause some amount of monotony to set in. I say that’s why we have the concept of vacations. You do something you love for a while … take a break … and want to come back and do it again!

So, what is it that I think I’d love doing for a lifetime? What do I think gives me a sense of purpose?

I am not a doctor or a nurse, so I can’t derive that feeling of having made a “real” difference in someone’s life. All I have is the ability to write.

I enjoy telling people’s stories. I love sharing them with the world. I revel in crafting prose that triggers conversations and may, sometimes, even lead to action.

While traveling may seem like one of those things on everyone’s list before they die, for me it holds a different meaning.

I don’t want to be a passerby or visit different countries so I can update my World map with placemarks. I don’t want to write for a travel magazine as Pat suggested, even though it might pay some bills.

I want to stay put, live like a local for a couple of months, find out the challenges unique to their community, savor the foods they eat, celebrate some of their festivals, find out what makes them and the place they live in so different from the rest of the world … and yet so similar.

I want to publish an anthology of what makes each one of us uniquely alike.

It’s my way of paying tribute to our hardy, yet frail, species.

And while my husband wholeheartedly supports the idea of my quitting my job for something I truly love doing, I am not so sure I have earned my due. I mean literally — in terms of money.

For as long as I can remember, the idea of being financially independent was drilled into me by my mom. “Nobody values you if you don’t earn your own living,” Ma used to say.

Yes, I know that my husband appreciates the person I am, and encourages me at every step to be the person I want to be, but I still cannot come to terms with the idea that I will be completely dependent on him once I leave this 9-5.

Perhaps, I can devise an intermediary income-generation mode. Perhaps, I can freelance again. Perhaps, this dream doesn’t need to die in its infancy after all.

This isn’t just a post-vacation reactionary idea as anon1 pointed out in his comment:

…several of us have questioned status quo at some point in our lives (usually right after a long vacation icon wink Re writing my life story ), but a majority falls back into routine pretty darn quickly… Do not underestimate the power of inertia.

And I know this isn’t a stream of thought that will be suffocated by indolence. If anything, the fact that I am taking the time and making the effort to introspect publicly and rally some support, will spur me on the path to “freedom.”

I want to be able to taste glorious sunsets – and it can’t be done from behind the double-paned glass windows in my office.

Thank you, all, for your words of encouragement and wisdom.

My life story is at the precipice of being re-written.

16081BD1A60533E0F1173D28DE4F0D3F Re writing my life story


dp seal trans 16x16 Re writing my life storyCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mansi Bhatia

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23 Responses to Re-writing my life story

  1. Tina OwenNo Gravatar on December 8, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Mansi, you’re not just a writer-you’re an incredible writer who definitely makes a difference in people’s lives with your words. You certainly made a difference in my life with your thought-provoking questions and your incredible insights and your courage to examine what most people shy away from. You make me think about my life-and you give me hope that it will turn out OK.

    P.S. Thanks to your blog, I’ve realised that my passion is gardening. And maybe I’ll start painting again-like you, I gave it up when I grew up.

    • MansiNo Gravatar on December 16, 2010 at 2:43 pm

      You are too kind. You’re such a talented writer and gifted knitter … and I remember seeing those gorgeous photos of your garden from way-back-when-I-was-on-Facebook. I’m learning that life doesn’t wait for one to catch up with it. I want to make the most of the time I have on this planet and I want to be happy — not just spend my time wishing I could do things that would make me happy.
      Here’s to doing what we love.

  2. PatNo Gravatar on December 8, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Uh-oh! Sounds serious Mansi.

    • Ian ClarkNo Gravatar on December 8, 2010 at 5:56 pm

      Check out an interesting sight which I have found many informative and career challenging comments.

      • MansiNo Gravatar on December 16, 2010 at 2:40 pm

        Thanks a lot, Ian. I’ve started following Chris on Twitter. He’s done a LOT of traveling and I’m reading up his tips these days on planning a world-trip :-)

    • MansiNo Gravatar on December 16, 2010 at 2:40 pm

      You better believe it, Pat :-)

  3. BillNo Gravatar on December 8, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    Well knowing what you really want…what trips your trigger, is a great way to start. I have no problem with introspection but far to many of us become content with our normal lives & truly lose the passion we all have for something. To me life is a journey & it’s enjoying the ride that makes all the difference. To grow to a place of enlightenment takes the ability to discover joy in each moment. That joy can be from anything but if you’re not living in a state of joy, you’re missing out the journey of your life.

    I believe each of us needs to challenge what we believe everyday to continue to learn & grow. Whether that means traveling the world to experience how very different we are, or discovering that truly we are more alike then anything else. The truth is what we do is only apart of who we are….the secret is to not allow yourself to fall into the malaise of an ordinary life. Take chances, find what makes your heart beat faster & commit to spending time doing it. It doesn’t have to be your job, it just needs to be apart of your life.

    You are special Mansi & whatever you set your mind to, I know you can do!! Believe in your dreams & watch them become reality.



    • MansiNo Gravatar on December 16, 2010 at 2:35 pm

      Thank you, Bill. It has been a journey to joy so far and I am happy to report that I intend to continue walking these paths that lead to a life well-lived … it may not be anything extraordinary, but it’ll certainly be something that makes my heart sing. Truly appreciate knowing you’re on my side :-)

  4. TulikaNo Gravatar on December 8, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Take the plunge Mansi! Not everyone can even contemplate a change. A lot of people perhaps want to break free but can’t do so due to myriad reasons…responsibilties…kids…parents…and the like. Don’t let go of this urge while it’s there. Make the most of it, and chances are U’LL ACTUALLY RE-WRITE UR LIFE! Cheers!

    • MansiNo Gravatar on December 16, 2010 at 2:33 pm

      Thanks, Tulika. I’m bracing myself for the impact when diving in head first :-) Appreciate your support.

  5. GabrielaNo Gravatar on December 9, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Hola Mansi:

    Every time I read your posts I remember you and your husband, when you came to my Spanish class (BTW: I stopped posting on my Spanish blog – no time or energy :) ).
    Yes, you write very well and many times I feel empathy with you, your thoughts and feelings. Well done and once again, congratulations on your good writing, good pictures and nice blog page!


    P.S.- I’m still teaching at SCAE and I teach a higher level of Spanish, as well.

    • MansiNo Gravatar on December 16, 2010 at 2:26 pm

      Thanks, Gabriela. I wish hubby dear had more patience and we could continue taking the advanced level of Spanish … I could do it by myself, but it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun, would it? Thank you, again, for stopping by and for your generous compliments.

  6. snigdhaNo Gravatar on December 10, 2010 at 10:15 am

    What a post mansi. reading your blog after long and thoroughly enjoyed the post. Its tough to make choices in Life since they depend on so many other factors. Hope you find your calling soon enough and inspire all of us..

    • MansiNo Gravatar on December 16, 2010 at 2:25 pm

      Thank you, Snigdha. I appreciate the encouragement.

  7. NeetaNo Gravatar on December 11, 2010 at 7:42 am

    Hi Mansi,
    I am lucky to have crossed paths with you and your range of writing really expands my brain a little. I wish you good luck in wherever life (and your thoughts) take you.

    i am a little surprised by your discontent with your current life/career. you have a loving family, financial security from a well paying job in a field of your choosing. You are living in one of the greatest countries there is, and in an area that provides diverse experiences, food of many many cuisines. From your writings I get a feeling that you are also very connected to your self spiritually. Sometimes we need a reminder of how great our life already is! i know i do..

    Maybe you just need a break. One way to find out can be to take a few month sabbatical. another much harder but more fulfilling way is to start a family (groan) :)

    best of luck!!

    • MansiNo Gravatar on December 16, 2010 at 2:19 pm

      Thank you, Neeta. It warms my heart when I read comments like these.

      I can see where you’re coming from … and I do consider myself blessed at having the opportunities I’ve had and making the most of them resulting in a not-so-lucrative-but-certainly-challenging-in-a-good-way career. My discontent does not arise from any of my past decisions which have helped me reach this point in my life, but it’s sparked by where I am headed. I don’t want to continue treading the beaten pathway … I want to try new things, I want to be able to think outside the box, do things I haven’t done before, and I want to do all this before more time passes by … I am not getting any younger, you know. Also, all this talk about life purpose and calling is great, but the bottomline is that we get only one life and if we don’t do things in it that make us happy then we’re wasting it. I know it’s not about taking a break and I know, for sure, it’s not about having a baby — it’s what I don’t know that I’ve got to go figure out :-)

      Thanks, again, for reminding me of everything I have and helping me continue my journey of seeking answers. Also, thanks for being such a loyal reader :-)

  8. Tanveer NaseerNo Gravatar on December 11, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Hi Mansi,

    I’m glad to see my ideas are helping to fuel your introspection. As I mentioned to you on Twitter, I do believe you’re on the right track. One thing I would like to challenge you on is that assumption you make that you haven’t made “a *real* difference in someone’s life”. It’s easy for many of us to discount our efforts because we don’t have tangible proof we can hold that shows we made a difference. However, the sum total of our lives is not a collection of tangible connections, but meaningful, intangible ones. Moments where because we took the time to reach out to a friend or a family member, we helped ease their pain or brought some unexpected sunshine in their day.

    I think the measurement of whether we make a difference or not is not one that we can measure; instead, that’s something that can only be qualified by those around us, those who can truly measure the value of our contributions and how we have in fact made a difference in the lives of others.

    There’s two pieces on my blog I’d like to invite you to check out that go along this train of thought. The first one is called Making Life’s Little Moments Count and the other is Finding The Courage To Take That First Step. I think you’ll find the latter piece mirrors much the apprehension and uncertainty you feel right now, but also hopefully the inspiration to face what to do next.

    Again, best of luck with this, Mansi; I hope you find that best road for you to take.

  9. KatieNo Gravatar on December 15, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    Beautiful post as well pictures! You are such a great writer. I am following you from a Wednesday hop. I hope you’ll visit and follow back. Also, I’m hosting a hop for tomorrow (starting tonight) so be sure to link up!

    • MansiNo Gravatar on December 16, 2010 at 1:48 pm

      Thank you so much, Katie. I truly appreciate your kind words and I have started following you. I hope you visit again.

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  11. Duncan RiachNo Gravatar on January 31, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    You are a very entertaining writer Mansi. I enjoyed this very much. I recommend reading the book “Crush It!” about monetizing your passion. I listened to the audible version. I also recommend using emotional freedom techniques ( to desensitize the emotional charge that might be fueling any limiting beliefs.

  12. anon1No Gravatar on March 15, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    I’m curious to know if you managed to ditch the 9-5 in favor of “glorious sunsets”..
    Or if you swapped one 9-5 with another 9-5 ?!
    (I wouldn’t fault you for either :P )

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