Living life on my own terms…


I have always wondered if it is possible to live life on our own terms. My life experience teaches me that we can if we want to. I have come across people from different walks of life who live life on their own terms. They may not be the rich and the famous or the outlaws of society. But they determine what they want to do in life and how they want to do it.

I recall my childhood. I lived in a Army campus and always dreamt of becoming an Army officer. Then we moved cities and my school was inside an Air Force campus and it was my dream to become a pilot. As I grew older I realised that I neither wanted to join the Army nor become a pilot. Then my father prevailed on me to study science, which I did at the graduation level. It is at this stage I decided what I wanted to and how I will achieve it.

I pursued my post graduation in personnel management on my own volition and after convincing my parents that this is what I wanted to do. Then I started my career in Human Resources as I started enjoying working with people.

Similarly, I hail from a middle class family. I had my own dreams and aspirations. I was fascinated by nature, loved travelling and visiting places. I enjoyed photography and videography. So even at the early part of my career I managed to live my dreams within my limited financial capabilities.

As I progressed in my career, I could buy my own second hand car in 1987 and then my first video camera in 1997. Many of my friends and well wishers thought it was a luxury I could ill afford. May be they were right but I had a dream and wanted to live life on my own terms, so I did what I always dreamt to do.

Although I bought things which I dreamt and aspired for , I was always financially prudent. I never took money on credit from anyone or took a loan from any individual( except for rare emergency situations) or financial institutions ( except to buy my car and house). Even the loans I took, I repaid well before the due dates. So, I realised that it is possible to live life your way if you are grounded and prudent about your spends.

My family and friends supported me in all my dreams. Ofcourse, there were some critics too, who felt that it was not worth spending so much on a car or a camera. But, they did not know that having food in a five star hotel or buying luxurious pens etc was not my cup of tea.

So, it is upto us to dream the way we want to live life and how we want to live it. Then plan your life and fulfill your dreams when you are ready for it. What you aspire may be quite different than what others do. It does not matter as long as you are independent and are able to thriftily balance your income and expenditure in life.

I do realise that sometimes we may end up fulfilling our dreams at the cost of more important things in life. It is here we need to prioritise for ourselves and make our own judgements. We may go wrong sometimes but as long as we do not depend on anyone else to sustain our living, it is fine.

It is fun to live life on your own terms and realise your dreams. It is gratifying to buy your first car or build your first home using your own savings. It is good to realise that no two individuals may have similar dreams and aspirations and that is the beauty of life.

Lets learn to live and enjoy life in own way from today.

S Ramesh Shankar

29th August 2021

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