The past year was a struggle—a struggle to find my identity, to discover what I want from life, to determine what I live for, and to cope with the loss of an irreplaceable soul. Finding the light at the end of each of those tunnels was harder than I imagined it would be.
2023 was a year during which I traversed through many tunnels. Having graduated the previous year, the most significant challenge for me was identifying who I am.
Am I the product manager at a company? Am I a science geek? Am I the person who always hangs out with those particular individuals?
The majority of people don’t care about what you love or your work. That uncle at a wedding is perfectly content to hear that I work at a company in Infopark;
Then there’s the minority — people who care about what I do. There are those who look up to me because I landed a product manager role early in my career. There are people who see me as that tech guy who knows a lot, etc.
If there’s one thing I’ve understood this year, it’s that it doesn’t matter how people see you, and worry less about how others define you; what matters is how you see yourself and what you show to others.
“You control your identity.” - To others, you can be that friend who’s always there in need, You can be that guy who works at that awesome startup. You can be that person who loves to travel and take photographs. But to you, you are all of these or maybe none of these!
Now, I think of identities as the mathematical concept of projections. You’re a set of points in a higher dimension, and you transform yourself to a lower-dimensional space so that others can understand you. Perhaps this is why superheroes hide their identities; people might think you’re crazy if you run around in a bat costume, so you project yourself as Bruce Wayne in a lower-dimensional subspace!
This was a year that trapped me in a tunnel that was harder to navigate, perhaps a place where I am almost at the end but want to run towards the entrance!
I lost a dear friend this year - Abraham Raji. Coping with grief, especially for someone who felt like a sibling to me, was extremely challenging. Though he never directly said these words to me, I imagine him saying, “Pity the living Kira” perhaps a coping mechanism I developed to glimpse the light at the end of the tunnel. I witnessed how friends can unite to offer support and help lift one out of grief and sadness. I realized that, once everything settles, I have a tendency to isolate myself and confront the pain in order to overcome it. Maybe my friends were the light at the end of the tunnel, perhaps it was my solitude, or maybe it was both. Maybe, it could’ve been Abraham himself, who brought us all together.
The other day, I was talking to my father about what we all live for. What’s the purpose? A question that everyone has pondered and has different answers for! For monkeys on a floating rock, the biological purpose is simply to reproduce; add a bit of consciousness into it, make it survival of the species, sprinkle in some responsibility, and it could be ensuring that the planet is habitable for future generations! Collectively, this makes sense, but individually, this has been a question that has troubled me for ages.
Nihilism says that life is meaningless; existentialism, on the other hand, says that we are responsible for our purpose! The nihilistic side of me started gaining control this year. It became harder to find purpose, and the question of “ഇതൊക്കെ എന്തിനാ ചെയ്യുന്നെ” or “Why are you doing this?” became more relevant in everything I do. This kind of mindset lasted for a while until recently with a conversation with my father.
”What do you think was your purpose?”, I asked
”You!”, He replied
”I’m not asking about the biological purpose,” I clarified.
It took me an instant to realize that there was more to what he meant.
Right now, as I’m writing this blog, I’d say one of my purposes is to support and help the people I care about reach their dreams and become self-sufficient, something my father meant when he said “You”!
He also said something, and I have no idea how he came up with this, probably a Johny Boi original: “Life is like an orchestra; each instrument has a purpose, and that’s what makes the orchestra alive. You need a lot of different purposes so that your life makes music.”
It seems like I have a quest for the next year!
The only question that I still haven’t been able to find an answer to is what I want from life. I think I have a hint to the answer; it’s this thing!
Haha! Ok, jokes aside.
What a person wants from life changes as time changes. To state it mathematically, wants and needs are a function of time plus variables, so I don’t think there’s a definite answer.
Currently, I’m at a state of clarity on a lot of things, and confused about may other things, sometimes you have to unlearn perceptions only to realise that a lot of things are just dead plain simple when you think about it, take identity for example, I mean who even spends time to introspect it this much, വെറുതെ സമയം കളയാൻ ഓരോരോ വഴികൾ, rabbit holes they call it! But grief and finding purpose were hard on me!
To summarize, I’ll just quote Uncle Iroh here!
Thinking back, the embers that lit the light at the end were the people whom I talked to and interacted with, if you’re a person I interacted with you and talked about any of my struggles, you are the reason for the light!