We all have red-letter days in our lives, and they are mile markers on life’s journey. Today happens to be one of those days. Fourteen years ago, a development started a series of events that have been transformative in hindsight.
The biggest lesson, though, has been this realization is that control is an illusion. At best, we can control our best efforts. I could have learned that lesson earlier had I paid more attention to Bhagavad Gita when my parents were reading it to me as a kid.
But as they say, better late than never. If anything, it has allowed me to help fight (but not slay) my demons — anxiety, fear, and the modern society’s relentless need to be successful. I have not been fully cured of those ills, and it is just that I know how to deal with them much better. And the best medicine is free — all I have to do is say “no.” As chef Francis Mallmann once said, “I make choices, and that’s a beautiful thing about growing up, learning to say no, in a nice way.”
Of all the significant changes in my life, none is bigger than my decision to quit smoking. I gave up a three-packs-a-day habit, cold turkey, and regained my sense of smell and taste. It has helped me discover a new world of food and its nuances. I have found a passion for perfumes and their components, which reconnected me to chemistry.
So perhaps, looking back, what was possibly one of the disastrous developments in my life turned out to be an actual start of a better way of living. So, there must be something to this concept of rebirth, right?
December 28, 2021. San Francisco