all or nothing

All or Nothing

All or Nothing

Even though Pegasus is a white horse in all the illustrations that I had seen, Greeshma’s was a brilliant blue and I thought that was perfect. Blue was and always will be my favourite colour.

This does not have a happy epilogue. There’s no happily ever after, or riding off into the sunset, this is real life and it is tedious. Maybe there’s a way to make it more convenient and that’s what we are all trying, isn’t it? I live by a philosophy I have named “All or Nothing”. It’s precisely as it sounds, all or nothing. My life choices leading up till now should be held responsible for me ending up like this. But like all good stories, we have to begin from my childhood.

I had a friend in primary school, Greeshma. Well, I wouldn’t say, friend, she was a new kid and the teacher put her next to me because I was that closemouthed kid. If the kids were chatty our teachers would make them sit next to me to chastise them. The new kid was talkative I suppose. She would ask me a lot of questions, I would always nod and mumble my answers. She would have lunch with me. Here’s the thing about Greeshma, she unquestionably treasured her crayons, pastels, and sketch pens. She invariably smelled of crayons. I got used to that smell, to her being constantly there. She repeatedly told everyone that we’re friends and I wondered what she’d think if I told her she was my friend, but I never did it, so I wouldn’t know. 

We used to do everything together. We used to spend our free period together, her struggling to color inside the lines of the drawings that she came up with, and me telling her about stories, books, and tales that I read. One day she painted me a picture of the Pegasus, the winged horse from Greek Mythology. I had been telling her those stories for a week. Even though Pegasus is a white horse in all the illustrations that I had seen, Greeshma’s was a brilliant blue and I thought that was perfect. Blue was and will always be my favorite color. She changed schools the next year, and I was back to nibbling my lunches alone with a book in hand. For some reason, it wasn’t the same. That was the first time I missed someone. Of course, I didn’t know what it was, I just felt weird. I didn’t even know I was allowed to be sad. That was a whole thing with me back then, I only did things I thought was allowed. 

 The next time I had a friend was in high school. Each time it was one friend every year. I can’t think of any reason for this either. It was like I could only concentrate on one person at a time. College did bring me many friends. So did work. Eventually, I’ve lost touch with a lot of them, almost all of them. Some fade out, sometimes we just end up not being friends anymore.  I wonder if it’s just me? That means it could be my fault. But I can’t just half do things. I am an all or nothing person. Either I am in or I am not. There is no in-between. So I won’t feign to like what you do just to be polite. That doesn’t mean I am rude. I  can be nice reasonably. But you will always know. Maybe I should have mastered to do things in moderation. If I watch something and like it I will hunt everyone I know down till they give it a shot. I have learned how to cook all my favorite foods, including ice-creams. 

There are severe drawbacks to my way of life. If the subject doesn’t interest me I won’t even take a look at it. I have friends who can power through boring material just because they feel ” they have to”. I could never do that. My philosophy in life is a bit like Marie Kondo. I ask myself, “Does this spark joy?”. If the answer is “Yes”, I keep on doing the thing, or keep the person/ thing in my life. If the answer is no, I will chuck it and move on. We’ve only got precious little time here. Why waste it on something that we don’t enjoy? Why waste it on people who don’t bring out the best in you? Why spend it on things you don’t like. Think of it like this: you are buying an expensive luxury car with all your life earnings and you don’t even want a car, you want to open a small quaint bookshop. Would you do it? You probably shouldn’t.  

There’s another side to this story. What if nothing ‘sparks joy’? What if you listed all the things you do daily and none of them sparks joy? Wake up, cook breakfast, eat breakfast, do the job, eat breakfast for lunch, get off work, shower, cook dinner, eat, write for a while, Netflix, and fall asleep. What if none of that sparks joy? What if you look at all the stuff you own and none of it sparks joy? What if you looked at all of your contacts and none of the names sparked joy? What if it’s your job? Would you leave it and try to find something better? What if it was your friends? Family? Would you think ‘chuck it’? Would you rather suffer in silence? Would you rather think this is my life now? Would you convince yourself the cost of ‘Joy’ is too much and never look back?


 I can’t do that. I can’t do something I don’t enjoy. I find it hard to talk to someone when I don’t enjoy their company. But this annoying hunt for eternal bliss has always come at a high cost. If I am not doing something I love, my day feels wasted, there’s no happiness, nothing is right. Most days are like that, to be honest. Some days though I get inspired to write something, about anything, and I write. Those days I feel fully alive, I live for those days. Maybe one wasted day won’t mean anything, but seven become a wasted week and soon it’s a wasted year. How long before it becomes a wasted life? 

Do we keep objects in our life that don’t make us happy? Everyone does. I do too. It’s not a criminal offense to keep a Christmas gift that you don’t like or an impulse buy that we regret and feel a twinge of guilt every time we look at it. That’s how life is. But there is an unexplainable joy in loving all the things that you surround yourself with. 

I used to keep people in my life because I was scared that if I let them all go. After all, they didn’t ‘spark joy’, I wouldn’t have anyone. Then I realized I didn’t need that in my life. I don’t have the time and energy for it. I don’t need toxic people who drag me down. I don’t need those who are not genuinely happy about my little accomplishments. It’s much better to have no one and be alone than having friends and family who make you feel lonely. There’s a good thought though, if you look closely enough you will find humans who are gems, they will root for you the same way you cheer them on, they will encourage you, inspire you and make you believe in yourself. That one person will remind you that you shouldn’t have to put up with anything less, that you only deserve the best and appreciate you. And that’s all you need. One friend who sparks joy. 

Perhaps all you need in life is that one friend who will paint the Pegasus blue because it is your favorite color.

6 thoughts on “All or Nothing

  1. I have a friend who believed in magic and built my world of fantasies.. I want her world to be bigger than I could picture, coloured with all her favourites, bundled with books and her interests..

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