I read this story a long time ago but now is probably the first time when I am really appreciating its lesson.
The story is very simple. It goes something like this – There was once a king and he built a new palace with a new courtroom. This courtroom was magnificent, and the king knew that soon envoys from other nations and even his own citizens would come to this courtroom. He wanted an inscription at the entrance which will be relatable to everyone but with a twist.
He wanted to write a line which will make cheerful people sad and sad people happy. Don’t ask me why he wanted that to be inscribed at the entrance, but he wanted that.
So, all the wise people in his and surrounding kingdoms came and gave him various ideas. But the king didn’t like any.
Finally, an old man comes because of course an old man comes to rescue in these kinds of stories.
He asked the king to inscribe ‘Nothing lasts forever’.
This line has been haunting me a lot lately. I find it to be true and somehow that’s also very comforting.
Nothing lasts forever. Not your carefully gathered pleasures and neither would the excruciating pain haunting you. The love you once felt will fade and so will the hate burning in your heart. Happy memories of your childhood will be forgotten and the humiliation you felt will stop stinging so badly.
Last year brought so many ups and downs. So many things went as I planned while other plans crashed and burned as all I could do is watch from the sidelines. Last year just drove down this message in my heart and mind – Nothing lasts forever.
Neither good things, nor bad. Absolutely nothing. And the best part – we don’t have any control over so many things. We may make plans and do everything in our control to make it work, but sometimes it’s just not in our control. We may do everything to make a relationship work, but we have no control over what others are doing.
So, what does it mean? Should we stop doing anything? Should we just curl up and stop living because Nothing lasts forever, anyway?
If you feel that way today, even that won’t last forever.
There is so much freedom in the thought that nothing lasts forever. Our mistakes won’t last forever. Our pain will finally end someday. Everything will change eventually.
Like the seasons, spring will come after long dark winter and will bring a splash of colours with it.
However, it doesn’t mean that there won’t be any consequences for our actions. These are the external circumstances that we have no control over. Karma will bring justice.
So, what does all this have to do with the new year and starting afresh?
Well, somehow we find comfort in cyclical nature. Be it Earth’s rotation on its axis, or its journey around the Sun, we look forward to the hope that a new start brings. We look forward to a new day, week, month, or year. Right now we are at the stage where we are starting everything afresh. The calendars are changing; the page is turning and hope and excitement are contagious.
How I am setting goals for this coming year?
Well, I do not have a long list of new year’s resolutions. I learnt long back that they don’t work for me. Even making detailed plans for the long term does not work too well for me. Like if anyone had asked me five years back where I see myself, there was no way my answer would have been even remotely close to how my life is right now. And I strongly believe that is the case with almost everyone. Five years is a long time. Even one year ago, I didn’t know I would sit here right now, writing these words. But yet, here I am.
So my plan for the year is a hybrid this year. I have some milestones but I also expect many roadblocks and detours and I am looking to change the course as needed.
It’s like going on a long road trip. You may plan your route along with how much you plan to travel and where are you going to stop and other details. But even you know that no road trip follows the plan completely. You have to account for the unexpected and be ready to adjust and accommodate as needed.
I have made high-level “good-to-have” milestones for this year. Then, based on those, I added some details for my quarterly plan. For my monthly plan, I did dare to add numbers and deadlines. But I am going to review these every week and adjust as needed.
Basically, this year I am sure that my year will end in a way I can’t even imagine right now. It can be good or it can be bad. Whatever it may be, I know for sure that it won’t last forever. The highs will turn to lows, which will again turn to highs.
I feel like I am getting on a roller coaster whose path I can’t even see. So I am just strapping on my seat belt and getting ready to scream in excitement and in fear at the same time.
This year is going to be different from all the other years, just like every single year. And all I can say is – Bring it On!