Lots of us sign off each day with some thoughts about who we are, where our life is leading us, what is next in line in life for us, and other such nitty-gritty. We take a few moments to ponder this and other related nuances of our daily living and giving. In the midst of it all, most of us think of our work as who we are.
It defines us, our capabilities, our power, our hold on other people in our arena, and so on. What most times we forget is that we have several identities. Not just one. Our work identity is certainly an important one. After all, we spend a minimum of about one-third of our day immersed in it. Thus, it plays an important dynamic in our lives. But is it our life, or the sum total of it? It is not, and it should not be.
What we should realise is that we have many such labels on our beings. We are also individual people, by right. Each one of us is also a wife, a husband, a son, a daughter, a sister, a brother, a mother, a father, a neighbor, a colleague, a boss, a junior, a badminton player, a clothes freak, a rock music enthusiast, a TV addict, a morning person, someone’s 3 AM pal, et al, all rolled up into one nice, big, fat package.
Every one of these is an identity of ours. Period.
These, in most cases, are examples of our positive identities. And then, are our negative identities. I could be a blood pressure patient, or one who is riddled with depression as well. I could be someone who is forever angry, or one who is always late with things, or someone who is not bothered by the way one looks.
Even then, none of them should get to define who we truly are.
Whatever the case be, what we should realise is that we are a sum total of all these positive and negative identities of ours. Even then, none of them should get to define who we truly are. We truly and deeply are a person who is not dictated by their circumstances. We are not what our roles are. Neither are we an amalgamation of our beliefs and our affiliations.
The real moral to carry back home with us to remember on a rainy day is that we should loosen our tight stranglehold on ourselves, on the plethora of identities which we have, and let the real person beneath all of these emerge, and fly high and free.
Within this very debate, the next point on the agenda could be that if our work is no accurate measure of us, then what exactly is it that gives our lives its essential meaning? Its ringtone; its real ethos, its narrative, and its vibe?!
A meaningful life, for one, is something which works at a very high level or plane. It has a full spectrum of very high capacities. These are the ones which are all entwined with empathy, with sympathy, with creative pursuits, with affection for those who are important to us, with an understanding of our own selves, and with a power to feel even for those whose lives we cannot really touch or encroach upon. A meaningful life is one which does not objectify or the aim of which is not contentment. Rather, it is fulfillment.
It is a time within our time in this world of ours which is linked with a long-term plan and a mission statement. It does not get lost in everyday happenings and events. These too are important issues on the agenda. But we have a grand vision, a big blueprint design, for all that we want to achieve in our lives. Some of it could and should revolve around ourselves. But a bit of it also hovers around those who matter to us, and some part of it should ideally also involve something for our society, for our fraternity, and for the human race at large. If it has all these little, little, but several nuances in it, it is, somehow arguably, a really meaningful life. One which is worth its salt and pepper in the entire scheme of things of why we are here, what we are here for.
A meaningful life is one which does not objectify or the aim of which is not contentment. Rather, it is fulfillment.
Coming back to our initial, interspersed thoughts – our work; our work does define our status in society and in life. No doubt about it at all. But, at the beginning point of all our innate meanderings of our mind and soul, we should remember that our job is bound to change at some point in time or another. We may lose our job, but we will still be us. I will still be me. I will not change from me to someone else.
And, at the end point, it boils down to our job and our real work may just be two different entities. My real work may hinge on some philanthropy. It may involve spirituality or espousing the cause of say, Buddhism, in the world. Or it could be to run a shelter for stray animals some day for which I have been saving up on all the monies I can. Or it could be to make sure that my father and mother stay alive and healthy for as long as is possible.
Our job, whether we chose to believe it or not, is a paycheck for us; it funds our life. It gives us the reach and the motility to do all that we wish to. And also, to fulfill our responsibilities towards our kith and kin; to give us the resources to indulge in our wildest dreams and desires and of those who matter to us and to our well-being and happiness. Which is why it is actually important; in fact, it may just assume gigantic proportions of importance for these very reasons.
But, again, the central point is that it still does not define you. We have our families, our interests, our hobbies, our link-ups, our faults, even, which are part and parcel of our fiber. Of what makes us, us.
The person sitting down to read, the person sitting on the computer to watch a Netflix flick, the person who is waiting to hit the shores of Bali these winters, all make you up. Understand this for the fact that it is. And give work its due, its credit, its viability, and its punch line.
It lets you be you. But, despite this, nonetheless, it is not you!
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