Yesterday was Diwali, the Indian festival of lights and our new year. It’s an occasion to bid goodbye to the old and celebrate the new. We dance, light firecrackers, eat (oh man, we eat), and put our faith in the upcoming year to bring us prosperity and happiness.
I’ve never been a hugely religious person, but I’ve always loved Diwali. It’s nearly impossible to feel sad this time of year – one look at my mom dancing is solid proof of that.
This Diwali, I found myself feeling a little different. As many of my friends know, this past year hasn’t been the smoothest of rides. Looking at everyone celebrating last night, I couldn’t find anything worth celebrating of my own. It scared me, but it also made me realize – I’ve been spending my time comparing myself to others, and in the process losing what makes me ME.
There’s nothing wrong with competition. But in the last 6 months, I’d been equating winning a fabricated contest with personal success when in fact, I’ve accomplished quite a lot on my own. And I’ve been lucky for circumstances large and small that have pushed me, such as:
- Airline glitches for cheap plane tickets
- Living on friends’ sofas while I prep for interviews
- Asking for help – it’s always okay to ask
- Leftover Indian food from my mom, because I always want it even if I don’t admit it
- Breakfast dates
- Weekday brunches – no line!
- Cocooning in blankets and binge watching “Master of None”
- Crying – sometimes you just need to let it all out
- Dancing – in a class, at a wedding, in my room, anywhere
- Watching the “Sorry” music video on repeat
- Continuing to hustle, because that’s all we can ever do
It’s been difficult. But I’m learning how to make my life my own. I’m not a product of the money I earn/don’t earn; or the job I have/don’t have; or even the plane tickets I buy/don’t buy. I’m me – a unique, Johnny Depp-loving, whiskey-drinking, spontaneous-dancing, dessert-cooking lurdy. And this new year, I’ll be living not just with my body, but with my soul.