Yesterday a colleague of mine asked me a funny question! I was about to leave when i realised i needed access to one of our new Oracle instances so i gathered all my stuff and went to him to get it. He must be at least 60 years old and tries to teach me a word here and there in Spanish - the second most used language in USA and sometimes French. A week ago, we decided that for every task he does for me, he needs Mordida - its a Spanish word for 'Bribe'. I told him promptly that i am not getting paid in 5 digits every month to afford that. I would rather log a ticket and wait for him to pick it up - as the process calls it. He laughed and said it would be an answer to his question. One Task - One Question. I shrugged my head and said fair enough as long as the questions were not personal & indecent. So yesterday was the first task after this unwritten treaty between us and i had almost forgotten about it as a joke till he drummed his fingers on desk and asked me
"Whats the best part of being alive?"
While he launched my application to grant me the access, he kept an eye on me. Now Now! This can be a very easy or a very difficult question. Depends upon how you take it. In that short duration of time while i shifted my weight from this leg to that, a lot of things flashed in front of my eyes.
Just few weeks back i had been to Six Flags - a thrill park with amazing rides. The best part of being alive i thought was to be able to do something that would push you off the edge. To be able to feel the fear and excitement mixing up in a concoction that fuels your brain & pumps the extra adrenaline in blood that your heart needs. To be able to hear the heart pounding in your ears, To be able to overcome your phobias and your inhibitions and just scream your lungs out and laugh hysterically when its over.
It could be as simple as being able to sit in your apartment quietly and read your favorite book. As the lines after lines pass from under your eyes, your brain works its magic and you interpret their meaning. you transport yourself in a whole new world. It could be J.K.Rowling's magical Potter's world or the sterilized and cold Operation Rooms of Robin Cook's. The visualization can be so dramatic & engrossing - its something only a voracious reader can understand.
It could be the ability to feel emotions. Yours and others too. It could be love, affection, belongingness, anger, frustration, awkwardness, happiness, sadness, a longing, a feeling that you dont fit or sometimes when you hit it off with a stranger. It could be the touch as you lift a newborn in your arms. It could be tears and a gnawing feeling of missing someone in your life. It could be laughter - unbound and cascading. It could be hurt and pain. There is a whole spectrum out there for you and its up to you to decide where you want to lie on it. Its your ability to forgive or forget or your decision not to do so! It could be your inability to enjoy the most that others do or a different perspective than the ordinary.
Could it be dreaming? It may sound ridiculous but i spend a definite amount of time per day daydreaming. I feel it keeps me alive and longing for more from my life. I imagine myself in a lot of situations that i am not currently and chances are more that i would never be and then i try to gauge how i would react to it. Sometimes that discovery is disconcerting. I never knew i could feel that way. Sometimes its very predictive. Yeah! i always knew i would feel it that way. Its in the moments like this that i realise and accept how less i know about my own self and how much of my mind and nature still remain unexplored. I imagine myself Pregnant and all the stuff i would want to do for my baby. I imagine myself as the woman i just saw in Starbucks, happily serving coffee and looking far more happier than my boss who must be earning a lot of money than she does. I imagined myself parent less and that scares me. At the end of the day they are the only people who accept me with all my negativity, stubbornness, mood swings and failures in life. Others taunt, tease and make fun of me. Sometimes i am hurt but i dont show it. Sometimes i just let it go. Sometimes i imagine myself in a position to be able to control other's lives and how i could help them or my one mistake could bring their world crashing down. The possibilities are infinite & so is the fun behind the imagination.
Of course i couldn't say all this to him. I stood there thinking. I knew i had to keep my word and say something. He wrote down my password and offered it to me but not before i answer. so i said -
The best part of being alive is to be able to learn something every single day! the learning never stops and it doesn't have to be a rocket science. It could be a simple cooking trick or a complex planning algorithm. It could be as simple as a new word in a foreign language or a life lesson that would guide and help you all your life. It could be a self discovery or something that makes you look at a person in a whole new different light.
God has a way of teaching. He may not flash you the cards or circle up things and make them easy for you to understand. Sometimes they are right there, in front of you - all that is needed is for you to wait and think about it. He doesn't believe in theory, He puts you in the field and gives you all the necessary tools required to learn and then its up to you how to use them to your advantage or forget that you even have them.
for example, it could be a word or an expression that hurt your sentiments. You still learn not to use the same word and expression for anybody else unless the provocation is beyond your tolerance.
It could be how someone criticises you and you learn a thing or two from it. Even if you feel that it wasn't so constructive after all, you can still learn how to put it in a way that would not discourage a person.
It could be how some people laugh at you. You can still learn how to laugh WITH others than at them.
It could be how you learn to lower your guard for a set of people while some make you feel unwelcome & unimportant. You still learn how not to be affected by how world sees you.
These lessons go a long way into making you the person that you are or a person that you will be. When life is unfair to you, you have two choices. You can get your frustration out on others to make them feel just as miserable OR you can save them from making the same mistakes that you did.
The key is to not merely survive but to live life with all its Dos and Donts and fine printed instructions that you never read and learn on every step of the way.