A man is happy so long as he chooses to be happy and nothing can stop him.
There was a time when Mr. Solzenhnitsyn’s quote used to be my mantra. It is still my mantra today, or at least I try to allow it to be. There was a time where my level of optimism was independent from the moodiness of the weather, the troubles at work, the end of a great weekend.
That was a long time ago. And no it wasn’t when I was still a student. For more than a year, I actually loved going to work, I enjoyed the companionship of some of my colleagues. I enjoyed solving problems at my work. I would even enjoy the drive to work, where I would mentally plot what needs to be done for the day.
Whether I’d like to openly admit it or not, I have to concede to the fact that Mom’s death has in a way affected me. Whatever zeal and passion I had for my work and what I did at work has mysteriously vanished. While I still do find myself being engaged with my work, the youthful optimism has somewhat faded.
Maybe part of it is the inevitable growing process. You tend to be more pessmistic and cynical as you grow older, because you are exposed more to the harsh realities of life and those around you. You somehow lose that “innocent thought” of life is great.
Is life really great?
Upon closer retrospection of my thoughts, I sometimes wander at this question. On the surface, you would see my dimples more often than the frowning lines on my forehead because that’s who I am still. But deep within, the story is sometimes different. I struggle sometimes to find meaning in my life. And this struggle has developed only fairly recently, more precisely after mom’s death.
I guess I craved to be approved by someone of higher position, be it whether its my own brother or a senior colleague. But the one that had kept this “craving” for approval going in me was my mom. She was always interested in listening to my proud tails of accomplishment, something I always relished to share with her. She was always there to listen to my struggles, and provide that motherly advice, whenever the going got though. She was my personal cheerleader, my mentor, my supervisor (in some sense), but most importantly my guide.
Today, as I sit infront of my laptop, conceptualizing these thoughts and feelings into tangible words, I guess part of me has inevitably and unawaringly change. The irony is, I am still a person who is viewed as “hopeful” and “optimistic” from those outside. It didn’t take that long for my new colleagues to spot this in me and I’m happy that my optimism gives them some hope, I’m glad that I’m still able to exert positive emotions to those around me. I’m glad I’m still able to crack my brother up or joke around with my friends from church.
However that dark and void pit which stores up all my doubts, negative thoughts and cynicalistic views still looms in my heart. Sometimes I imagined all these “bad” thoughts to be like a film reel role, which I’m honestly afraid to open and examine in the light.
Some things are best left contained…
At least for now
Edit : I didn’t realize how “contradicting” the two statements were above – one was the Solzehnitsyn quote and the other, the depressed and frustrated individual – until I saved and published this entry. But I can sincerely say, this is what is going through my mind right now, striving hard to follow that quotation, and yet part of me feels like that individual.