Are you in a race and if so, with whom? Are you going to live your life by what I think?

A friend of mine asked me these questions when I asked her a – now – rather silly question: Am I a loser? So, I started thinking…

Are you in a race?
I am not sure if there is a race on but apparently there is. There is a race for bigger pay, better salary, better position, bigger and better lifestyle. Now, am I in the race for that? It does seem that I am. I wasn’t conscious of it till I answered this question. I am in a race that I don’t want to be. And it is a bit messy trying to get out. But I will. There is also the fact that I have somehow I have gotten caught up in this race. It’s a bit like in a stadium. If people around you shout and scream, it’s only a matter of time before you will. I’m screaming now. On the top of my lungs. And I didn’t even realize it. Till this question.

I want to opt out of a race that I don’t want to be in. Does it matter that people inside the race ask me to stay on? It shouldn’t. Does it matter if my family who is cheering me from the sidelines want me to continue the race. It shouldn’t. It doesn’t now.

If so, with whom?
I do realize one thing – I am in the wrong race. The only race that I should be in is with myself. But that’s the toughest race of them all. To opt out of the race I’m in now, I need to pay a price. Am I ready to pay that price now? Can I afford to? That is something that I have to decide.

Are you going to live your life by what I think?
To be honest, I don’t know. I know I shouldn’t but somehow I do. I know I seek approval from people, sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously. It makes me feel good. But the only approval I should seek is from ME. I am the most important person whose opinion I should consider. And I am writing all this down so that I don’t ask silly questions of my friends again. I shouldn’t care what people think but I know I do. It’s a habit I am trying to break. I think that there is some amount of social conditioning going on here. Usually, qualities like modesty (in achievement, talent, not clothes) and social approval are encouraged so that society doesn’t feel threatened. (Aside: I am reminded of what my professor once said, “A single woman is a threat to society because she shows a male-dominated society that it is possible to live without them.) But modesty taken to an extreme can mean low self-esteem. And social approval is a crutch all of us can do without. I remember when I was a kid, my mom used to tell me, “You need to change yourself” because I was headstrong and stubborn. I still am. But I need to be headstrong and stubborn about the things that matter. I don’t live my life by what others think but sometimes I might just ask an opinion just to see how I am getting on. So, from this volley of 3 questions, I have come to know some things about myself.


6 thoughts on “Are you in a race and if so, with whom? Are you going to live your life by what I think?

  1. Well, I will certianly say that the transformation is complete. And I am glad. It also takes guts to accept yourself in public for who you are and stand by it. As long as we know who we are, we have nuthing to worry about. As for posing silly questions to ur friends, mayb you shd ask this question: “What are friends for, anyways?”
    All the very best for a brave new future dat awaits u

  2. the ‘system’ brainwashes all of us, from our early days, to believe that the only life worth anything is one where we keep ‘running the race’…

    am so glad to find someone who has finally looked at themselves, figured out things, and most importantly – someone who has decided to opt out (i did that, though not so consciously, a few years back, and am very happy about it!)

    good luck, and god bless!

  3. My dear, I wish you the best in figuring that one out. The race sounds awful, and it seems you know exactly what you need to do – of course, the “how” can be the hardest part. Tell all the pressures to am-scray. Bravery and cunning!

  4. I do realize one thing – I am in the wrong race.
    I ask that all the time!

    Anyway, frankly, it takes guts to think and function like you do – and I wish you all the energy it needs! The race is everywhere yes…and I wish I had batteries that last longer than the others.

    As for irritating one’s friends…come on, your friends ask you dumb questions too, right? Give and take. Not forgetting coffees, hugs and swear words!

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