They tell you that your whole life flashes before your eyes. It kind of does, when you are hanging on a steep cliff by a single tiny rock that threatens to give in any time and all you can see below is seemingly infinite distance to the ground. Don’t ask me how I landed up there, it’s a long story mixed with adventure and a little miscalculation, but the point is – I have seen my life hanging by a thread.

More than once.     

There have also been times in my life, like in every normal person’s, when I have cried my heart out. Those are times when everything looks dark and ground beneath my feet gives way to a gloomy, apparently bottomless abyss. Be it serial miscarriages, freaky medical conditions that doctors are practically clueless about or something to do with emotions, I’ve been through various prehumous versions of hell. (Yes, my life has been quite interesting, thank you! :-))

I have seen that it is okay and sometimes necessary to give mind time to drive itself crazy weeping and wailing over the usual track of ‘why me’s and ‘why this’s. (Fortunately I could manage some time for that on the cliff too.) But I watch out for that thin line beyond which your mind rolls down the slippery spiral of despair on an auto-pilot.

Before that line is on the horizon, I know that I have to calm myself, all histrionics of my mind aside. An interesting thing with calmness is that when it is required the most, it is hardest to come by. Don’t ask why, but that’s how it is. All you can do about it is – know this truth and work with it. It’s the same with everybody, if that’s any consolation.

Please know that deliberate working on one’s part is required to bring calmness for most of the mortals, and that may mean taking help of friends/family/professionals, if required. (I could manage some great counselling from my friends while on the cliff, and it made a lot of difference.)

Then I wipe my tears, if necessary, roll up my sleeves and ask myself the golden question:

Alright, what options do I have?menu_of_life

Now this question is a matter-of-fact one, devoid of all melodrama and my answers are equally rational. This question has single-handedly seen me through many tough times of my life jubilantly. So I have started applying it effectively into my day-to-day life as well. (Come on, everything doesn’t have to be a life or death thing, those are exaggerations handed out by life to drive some points home.)

The biggest of the most successful people have gone through their share of murk – actually, more than fair share, more often than not. Perhaps the only difference is that they let the tide slide and ask themselves their options. And then they pick the best one and put their heart and soul into it as if their life depended on that. Many times it does.

Trust me, it works out the best. Sometimes to make your life even better than it ever was. (Call me for testimonies, the first one being – I am not hanging on the cliff right now.)

(Published in We Are The City)
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Dinakshi is a curious explorer of life, and loves to see everything around her with a sense of wonder. Completely in awe of life and its ardent student, she is a writer, poet, blogger and ex-editor. Her superpower is involuntarily read and edit everything from text messages to poetry on the backside of trucks. Like any other Indian worth their salt, she’s done her time in the IT industry as a programmer. Books and journals have been her best friends for as long as she can remember. A philosopher at heart, she loves to question everything, including her propensity to question. An avid learner and unlearner, she is on a joyful path to live all that is.