Do you feel that your life has dug itself into a comfortable rut where things have been way too mundane and you feel frustrated with the situation? Go to work, 9 to 5, then come back, hit the gym for an hour, gobble down some dinner, catch up on Game of Thrones and then go to sleep. Toss and turn in bed for some time as you wrap up another unfulfilling day and then its rinse and repeat. On weekends, meet some buddies, knock back some pints, stay up late, hangover Sundays, brunch, work on that pile of laundry… That’s a mid-life crisis waiting to happen.
I have been in this familiar rut myself even though I am a person who needs a constant, regular dose of change and growth, otherwise it would drive me insane. So how can we add flavour to our lives without rocking the boat and biting off more than we can chew?
I started a huge wave of transformation in my own life by observing the way I introduced myself at house parties. Hi, my name is Ayan. I am so-and-so’s friend and I work as a data analyst at a bank. Neat and tidy label to describe myself.
But then I started to realize that that label owned me. I had, by my own volition put myself in a box and then I blamed life for being too mundane and claustrophobic within that box.
Labeling is a necessarily human way in which we process and store information. But when you start realizing that you are more than that label, that’s when things start to shift drastically.
As I started flirting with the idea of transcending my “Indian”, “Banker”, “Data Analyst” labels, I started discovering other, otherwise untapped aspects of myself. This happened when I was embarking on my grand spiritual re-awakening of 2012. Throughout that year I devoured all things spiritual and it in turn gave me an identity crisis.
I found it very difficult to reconcile the difference between myself as a banker and myself as a spiritual being. I had a lot of difficulty in getting out of bed in the mornings and going to work. It was the disturbing phase of my soul trying to peel off that label from my Ego and like duct tape on skin – bloody hell, it really hurt!
[pullquote] We already are the larger than life story that we have all been wishing for. It happens by allowing ourselves to expand without judgement and self-criticism [/pullquote]
Along with this transformation I started to understand and truly appreciate the game of duality and how we are so much greater than the little labels that we stick on ourselves. We already are the larger than life story that we have all been wishing for. No we don’t achieve it by becoming a movie star or a sports star. It happens by allowing ourselves to expand without judgement and self-criticism.
As the transformation progressed, I got into a bunch of different activities. I got into drumming, energy healing, meditation, pagan festivals, camping and being a white collar hippie. But then I also started to get disillusioned by that New Age, hippie lifestyle and realized that it wasn’t right for me. So I dipped my toes into that life current but chose not to label myself as a hippie.
Instead I walked into a psychotherapy class and found my calling. Now I am a psychotherapist in training but apart from the designation I am working towards, I don’t want to label myself as just another psychotherapist.
Nowadays it’s always fun to introduce myself to people as a banker cum psychotherapist in training cum white collar hippie cum Indian cum global citizen. I am all of that and none of that at the same time. There is no part of me that I despise anymore. I have made peace with my banker self and hence I can bring in some much needed listening and empathizing skills from my therapist self into my day job.
[pullquote] As personal growth takes us into a higher octave of functioning and experiencing, things start to become paradoxical. Our identities start to get blurred. Who Am I then becomes a ridiculously easy question as well as an unanswerable one. [/pullquote]
As personal growth takes us into a higher octave of functioning and experiencing, things start to become paradoxical. Our identities start to get blurred. Who Am I then becomes a ridiculously easy question as well as an unanswerable one.
If you want a more fulfilling life, sans the looming specter of a mid-life crisis, then just start peeling off those labels, one by one. Yes, they will hurt initially and you will have an identity crisis. But when the sun dawns after that brief spell of darkness, there is no looking back, my friend…
Photo Credit – BK – Flickr Creative Commons