My wife, my daughter and myself  were having a conversation with my daughter’s school principal yesterday, on her college choices. The principal asked Anusha about the colleges she had shortlisted. She mentioned that she had a confirmed admission in her second choice college and the admission was differed, pending Grade 12 results in the first choice college. She emphasised that going for the second choice college, even if that’s the case, will not be a ‘compromise’.

The Principal was mighty impressed with Anusha’s approach. She said she was amazed at how ‘sorted’ she was with the situation. Being a school principal and handling issues of grade 12 students is not an easy job. When there are students who are not clear on what course to choose, not sure about which universities to apply, not sure about how many colleges to send application to, etc. Its definitely a sigh of relief to come across someone who prides in a 100% application record.

This post is not of me boasting about my daughter! I just wanted to cite the follow up conversation I had with Anusha. I told her, I am proud of the fact that at 17, people are already calling you ‘sorted’, as its the age where typically kids are the most ‘confused’.

In the followup conversation, I mentioned to her that being sorted is more about “Wanting what you have, rather worrying about having what we want.”

In education, there is cut throat competition at every level. We further make it tougher for ourselves, by setting way too high standards for ourselves (the college that the kid goes to is a matter of pride for us also, or maybe its not?) and more so for our kids.  I pity the child who, mostly influenced by their parent’s insecurities, applies to 10-15 and even 20 colleges. I am like, we seriously cannot even decide for sure between 2 colleges which Anusha has to decide upon, why would anyone make one’s life miserable by applying to 10-15 colleges?  Last that I know, there is no award, recognition of any sort for getting into maximum number of colleges.

In adult life, the fight between wants and needs takes on far more monumental proportions:

  • I am not happy with the cycle, as I want a bike. I am not happy with the bike as I want a Car. I am not happy with the car, as I want a SUV. But hello, for a 27 year old bachelor, what kind of utilisation makes one have an SUV when one is can afford only a cycle and it serves the purpose of commuting from home to office in a 9-t0-9 6 days a week job? 
  • We want a 2bhk as 2bhk is small. We want a 3bhk as a 2bhk is also small. We don’t mind a 4bhk as it came for the same rent as the one with 3bhk. Then we go and shop for furniture to fill up the vacant extra room with stuff which we did not require in the first place.
  • We order 2 vegetables and a dal among 2 or 3 people even though we can make do with 1 veggie and dal. Just because we can afford to.

I am trying hard to not orient the post towards the topic of ‘minimalistic living’ . But the point is, that our life has limited number of high points, packed secretly between thousands of ordinary moments. Birth, School, College, Job, Marriage, Kid, Kid’s Marriage, Retirement, Death. Amidst all this, we tend to de-prioritise sighting a beautiful sunrise, a rare bird, a charming smile, and millions of other ‘ordinary’ instances, as we do not see ‘value’ in them.

So, take a step back, hold on for a moment, look around you, observe all that’s already good around you and don’t be a haste to chase the ‘better’. 

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Hetal Sonpal

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