The complexities of today

Published: December 17, 2012
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Rumi would say, "when you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving you, a joy." PHOTO: AFP

A year short of a quarter-life crisis, I can’t help but wonder if our increasing awareness of happiness and therefore, unhappiness has slowed us down as individuals.

Agreeably, most of our unhappiness stems from our own inaction, which we then attribute to a kind of failure. It seems that we are all unfulfilled in some way or the other but an awareness of this failure, more so, the fear of failing itself, has made us complacent and self-pitying.

I often find myself in this web of doubt that tangles ambition, ingrained values and societal pressures.

For instance, each time someone asks me about my marriage plans, I naturally fall into the ‘aunty trap’ — the “don’t be choosy, don’t be too ambitious, careers are a dead end, your youth is fading trap” that a lot of Pakistani women can perhaps relate to.

Though, to my credit, it takes little more than a nap to recover from such induced unhappiness.

People are unhappy about weight, which is a societal construct. In more ancient times, overweight women were considered attractive. One can either embrace ones appearance or just resolve to improve it.  While problems and solutions remain black and white, the complexities of societal pressures, television and brand-induced standards, personal fears, injected fears tend to make one feel almost dismal.

The day I graduated, I had some seriously lofty aspirations. A year later, I don’t feel quite as young and alive and am worried this potential I seek to live up to, may be fading fast. I see this mirrored in my friends and colleagues who want to grow but feel stumped by an awareness that growth is a slow, sometimes impossible feat in this country.

Depression, suicides, pill-culture and artificial cures for personal fulfillment have left us in a conundrum of sorts — we were too quick to accept our unhappiness and now the struggle for contentment has grown harder yet.

Is it just me, or has happiness literally bogged us down, stripping us of the primal understanding that we are meant to be sentient beings and that satisfaction is through interaction and inner change rather than some tangible pre-determined markers of success?

Rumi would say, “when you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving you, a joy.”

Read more by Myra here.

Myra Iqbal

Myra Iqbal

The author is a photojournalist at The Express Tribune.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.