By Deepak Seshadri
When you all last heard from me, I spoke to you about a respite. In other words, a moment of rest or relief. I did so with the intention of providing a space for healing and growth. Now, I sit here a slightly different version of the person I was just a couple of months ago. So, instead of providing you all with a respite, I come here humbly seeking one of my own. Writing has always been something I can lean on when times get tough. It reached out and pulled me in when it seemed like no one else would, which is why it gives me so much comfort. While a blank Microsoft word document provides fear to most, it gave me a space that I could call my own. It is still unbelievable to think that now, people are out there actually reading what I have to say. Like I mentioned before, this article is a bit of an admission to my recent struggles, but also (hopefully) a reflection aimed at acceptance and growth. Truth be told, there have been no caveats or shimmering silver linings of hope on the horizon throughout these last couple of months. The rigors of graduate school have held steady, negative self-talk has crept in, and imposter syndrome has reared its ugly head. There have been days where I found myself looking out the window with sunken eyes, sapped of the one quality that has held me together thus far…
When I think about it, I feel this dichotomy of disappointment and awe. Disappointment because of its seeming transformation into an interview buzzword, but still a sense of awe because of its profound impact on my life. I firmly believe that passion is the single most important quality that any one person can have. It scooped me up and held me, turned a malleable and innocently naïve soul into the still somewhat naïve, but infinitely more driven and curious person that I am today. Don’t worry, this isn’t one of those “productivity porn” articles that promises a bounty of wealth and success if you wake up at 5 am every day. What I will tell you though, is that somewhere along the way of this winding and ever-changing journey of life, I fell madly in love with finding meaning in the mundane. Feeling joy at the tiniest of instances that I used to pass by without much notice. The sumptuous caramel color of coffee as it flows from one silver tumbler to another, and the tiny bubbles filled with flavor that rise to the top, all popping asynchronously. Or watching a leaf sway to and fro as it glides throughout the air, unsure of its destination but certain that it will eventually find its way. One of my favorite things to do, and it might seem weird, is to share a smile with people that I walk past throughout the day. Not in a creepy sort of way, but more in a “spread some kindness in a world filled with too much pain and hate” kind of way. There have been several times when people look right past me, and rightfully so, but there are those moments when I catch someone smile back at me, but not before being caught totally off guard. I’d like to think that, in that split second moment, I helped someone feel acknowledged and seen. Maybe that’s my ego talking, and I have some introspection to do after typing this up, but just maybe I wonder if I made an impact. If my admittedly childlike desire and belief to do everything was able to reach out and allow someone the same space that I once sought. A space that accepts struggle, but also encourages one to think, feel, and eventually do the impossible. Where dreams cease to exist as such, but instead as possible realities. I hope I can get to living this way again, because writing this has made me realize that I need that ridiculously unbridled sense of passion and wonderment. So, thank you reader for helping me understand that and for listening to me without judgement. And if you have been feeling anything like I have recently, I invite you to join me on this path of rediscovery. Hopefully together, we can try to capture the tiny, amazing moments that color this otherwise seemingly monochromatic thing that we call life.