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You don’t get to choose how you’re going to die, or when.  You can only decide how you’re going to live. Joan Baez

As we look at our life dispassionately, we would realize that while we would proclaim our independence aloud, we are actually creatures of conformity. We suddenly find our lives intertwined with those of the parental values and expectations, shaped by peer pressure both in our society and work environment, significantly influenced by our relationships with our children and spouse and tempered by our teachers, the books we read, the newspapers we scan and the internet and other social interactions. We also make the painful realisation that a lot f our personal ambitions, creativity and deep cravings have been suppressed, subdued and stifled by our inhibitions and indifference.

It takes a lot of courage and guts to live on your own terms. Our bonds with societal norms are so strong that very often we are looking across our shoulders to see who is observing us, what are the comments and observations of people and there is pressure to keep pace with the changing trends and fashions. It is only when the inner cravings are too strong to be ignored, the restlessness in our heart too painful to be brushed aside lightly and when we are encouraged by the example of others that we take the plunge and throw ourselves into the deep end of the pool of life. Often there are pitfalls that were unseen, storm clouds of uncertainty but the zeal in the heart and the burning desire to achieve something that drives us towards our goal.

Many a time we are tempted to believe that we shall pursue our passions when we retire. By that time it is possible that we many not have the energy or the daring or we may not even live long enough to pursue our longings. If the heart beckons, and the spirit guides we have to gather courage to set our course into unchartered waters and let our goal be our guiding light. For the large majority though it is not what we do that is as challenging as how we do it. We would want to cleanse the corruption, take cudgels on behalf of environmental protection, be a social activist and empower society at large or simply live a straight and upright life. No sooner we attempt any of these we are immediately beset by a number of obstacles; the system will connive against you, the family would oppose your rigid and moralistic posture for it may bring more troubles than they want to face, society at large would see you as a rebel or trouble maker and you could also be threatened by vested interests who see you as an obstacle in their nefarious activities.

Remember : “He who defines duty for himself is his own master.” Dick Cheatham

Try these:

  1. Read the book Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. Read commentaries on it on the net and then summarize the learning.
  2. Work out a social service activity that you would pursue independently. This means that you will not engage your family, friends or colleagues in that activity. It could be as simple as donating blood every 3 months or it could be helping in the local school for the blind or volunteering at the pet care society.

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Bobby Jacob

Bobby Jacob

‘ He hopes to have a positive influence on his readers through his blog posts’

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