A Pursuit of Restlesness (with a hopefully happy ending)

Day before, I broke down.

I was made to come to terms with the unpleasant fact that a constant restlessness was taking over my life. My desire to “do stuff” and “figure it out” and be productive and find my passion had evolved into a negative force in my life.

It came out when someone pointed out the fact that even spending time with them had become almost like a ‘to do’ item—something I checked off in my head before rushing off to the next thing.

That stung. Not because they felt they were an item on my checklist. (Don’t get me wrong; that was bad too). It stung because when I ultimately let down the defensive barrier that fortified after hearing this, I realized that perhaps there was some truth in the statement. I was starting to think like that. The worst part was that this ‘to-do’ item is not something that was forced upon me or that I don’t enjoy, but is something that motivates me, brings meaning to my life, colors my days, and is the one thing I actually might have ‘figured out’.

This realization stung more when I looked up with eyes opened to the biting reality that I wasn’t in a good place, just to find myself staring at dead-end. One option was that I could just give up on everything; give up on trying to do something different with myself, give up on becoming someone I want to be, and give up on trying to live rather than exist and snapchat my life away. That would ease the restlessness that reigned in my mind, pushing me to do the next thing, not giving me a moment in my day to breathe. Yes, that would free me from the pressure I had put on myself. But, was it even possible for me to do that? Three days later, I am still not sure. I don’t know if giving up had its own separate set of fears and repulsive characteristics that prevented me from embarking on that path, or if perhaps deep down in my bones one can find a different material that is made for living, not just functioning. I would like to believe the latter, of course. I’d like to believe that my name lies written in sand somewhere amongst those destined to do something different.


But regardless, no matter how magical or unmagical my desire to evade the norm was, I was stuck. That’s when I received some advice: just try to do what I want. Not what I know I want, so I force it on myself. But what I want, when I want. If I keep pushing harder to do what I know I enjoy, it will become work. And we don’t like words with negative connotations.

I had made the mistake of trying to fit all my hobbies into a packed daily schedule which stressed me out rather than let me enjoy myself. It had become a tireless search for contentment, with the pressure numbing my senses to the joy I used to receive doing things for myself.

But how do I change this? If I don’t push myself, I might be lazy. I might just end up wasting time, procrastinating, and not getting anywhere. I was, and am, afraid of this. How can I just let things happen? What if they don’t? And then I will be stuck, because I don’t have time. I need to figure something out by this year.

As I type these sentences, though, I realize how wrong I am. When does anything good come out of life when it is not organic? Be it love, friendship, the realization of a dream. It is all the truest and purest when it just happens. So why was I trying?

It is a funny thing about pressure. Remember the Devil’s Snare in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone? The more you push and struggle against it, the tighter its grip gets. Just relax, follow your instincts, and you will glide through. (I promise you it is normal to make a connection between figuring life out to the Devil’s Snare).



And, it worked. After three continuous days of tests, with three out of six on the last day itself, I was brain dead, body-dead, and just exhausted. Yet, I felt like painting. I felt a freedom because all my tasks that had consumed me the past weekend had been completed, and now I had nothing planned with regard to studying. So, I was free. And in that freedom, something told me to just paint. So I followed my gut, took out paints, I was content. There are those moments, and then there are days when I am perfectly well-rested but I am too lazy to even tell myself I want to sit down on the desk, get water, get out my watercolor paper, take out the paints, and create something. It has become something I avoid, because I made it work to myself, saying, “Tanvi, from 4-6 I should paint. Why? Because I like it and I need to see if it’s my main passion and if I want to pursue it.” Boom. In a second the magic of creativity becomes a to-do item, and with it dies all the pleasure and hope of actually finding yourself.


So, I’m going to try to be in tune with what I want to do… more of what I feel rather than what I assign myself to feel. Let’s see where this takes me.


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