Asim says there are two types of people in this world, those who follow Buddha’s “Life is Suffering” approach and those who follow the “Life is bhangra” approach. Which category do you fall in?
Humera says the break down is goaldriven or experience driven. Experience driven people value life based on life’s experiences. Goal driven people have “to do” lists and 5 year plans. Which category do you fall in?
Americans are by far goal driven people and success is the actualization of ambition whether it be an ivy league degree, the elusive MD, the new Benz, the bigger house. Success is important and to succeed one must be more ambitious than the next. Starting earlier than before. Oh to be a Soccer mom with a thousand errands to run in between driving the “mini-adult” six year old’s to ballet, piano, karate lessons. You look at the race, see the pace and try to keep up so you don’t fall behind.
Not everyone lives this way. Our driver in Puerto Rico shared stories of his kids in the US and when I asked him why he stayed he smiled sympathetically, “and leave paradise?” In Turkey I remember the restaurantier smiling as we walked in, greeting us not as patrons but long lost friends coming home. Success was walking down narrowed cobblestone walkways towards the Aegean sea and living fully. I saw pure joy more in one week in the eyes of strangers than in lifetime in the US. And just like the aura of “go go go” is contageous the aura of calmness is catching as well. And a whiff of it leaves you nostalgic for more. Perhaps its why I love Cafe Istanbul.
I can’t help but wonder is this race in pursuit for sucess living? “Can money pay for all the days I lived awake but half asleep” Sometimes in the day’s rush to get things done I forget to live in the present my body here but my mind and soul two minutes to two years ahead. Is that living? We have dishwashers and washing machines. Cars, planes and concords. Microwaves and cellphones. So why are there still not enough minutes in the day? Is it the day we should fault, or something terribly off in ourselves? Is it a coincidence that the U.S depite being the most affluent is the most depressed? (Nigeria the happiest)
For the first time in my life I dont have a five year plan. Will I be practicing law? dunno. Teaching? got me. Penguin trainer? Just as likely. It’s a weird free falling experience not to know where your next step is. Like everyone I want success. The bigger question is, what is success? Is success trying my hardest next year to get the highest paying job I can find? Writing the hundreds of stories bursting at the seams in my mind? Going back to teaching the children I sometimes miss so much my heart aches? Having my own? Playing house? Is it less important what I accomplish and more important that I enjoy the time I have. I honestly don’t know.