If only I were raised differently…
If only I wasn’t taught these blind superstitions…
If only I had been given a little more freedom to pursue my dream when I was young…
Many times our thoughts fall into these “if onlys” and we blame our past for the way we are today. While I do agree that there is a direct relationship between the past and who we are today, that doesn’t have to determine who we are forever.
We can be whoever we want to be. While it must be difficult to undo certain beliefs that we had been taught over the years, it’s not going to help us in any way to blame the past for what we are not able to do today.
For example, I love reading. I loved reading back then when I was a kid. We had these biweekly publications for children in Malayalam called Balarama, Poompatta, and a few others. My reading appetite was mostly satiated by these magazines which had many short stories and comic strips. We normally used to get all our textbooks for the next academic year before the summer holidays were done and I used to be extremely happy when I got my hands on those books. I used to read from cover to cover all my Malayalam, English, and Hindi textbooks before school began. My love to read the stories was such.
Looking back I get a tinge of sadness though. Why didn’t my parents buy me more books to read? My dad was an educated man and was aware of the existence of books. He knew how much I loved reading books. In fact, all of the family knew. But other than a couple of books that I remember my dad had brought home for me to read, there was hardly any book at home.
Whenever I got an opportunity to read a book I jumped on it. So for me, reading is a precious and personal affair. Perhaps, it all stems from the fact that I didn’t get to read as much as I wanted to when I was a kid.
So, as I mentioned, I used to feel sad about why my parents didn’t think that it was a good idea to introduce more books in my life. Is it because I never asked for books? But I didn’t think of asking for books. It wasn’t something I saw while growing up. Apparently, it was a different world I was living back then.
I would know about it all only years later when I grew up and started buying books by myself. Now I know how much I love to read, the smell of books, or even just holding a page written in ink.
However, the sad feeling of why my parents didn’t bother to get me books, isn’t haunting me anymore. It was a different time and their priorities were different. I can blame them, but what will I achieve through that?
I am thankful that I didn’t let go of my love of books when I didn’t have any books to call my own.
I am thankful that now I get to read as many books as I want to read – thanks to our public libraries, bookstores, and Thriftbooks.
I am grateful that I am able to see past what was not there and fill my life and mind with what I have.
‘If onlys’ are gradually replaced with I am. When I put the past behind me, I am able to see what is possible today.
Today I have enough books to keep me company.
My parents failed in nourishing my life with books, but that didn’t have to decide my relationship with books.
So, today I am grateful for honoring the present and the possibilities it offers, irrespective of the road I traveled.