Saturday, April 24, 2021

Unlock Your Upgrade

Just as iron rusts from disuse, and stagnant water putrefies, or when cold turns to ice, so our intellect wastes unless it is kept in use.

Leonardo da Vinci

How often we become stagnant without even realising it. Commitments, jobs, family and many other things make us work like a clock. Every new day is a chance for us to be a better person than we were the day before, but do we choose to be better or settle for what we are? We at times disguise this stagnancy with a beautiful word ‘Acceptance’.

We should never stop from adding a few upgrades to ourselves, no matter at what age we are. Learn something new, set goals to achieve something you have never done before, so that you will always have something to forward to. Unlock your hidden talents, skills which you have ignored.
Cancer, like many other misfortunes, drains away the energy. It is easy to fall into the trap of reasons - that because of cancer I cannot do this. Other than a few things like blood donation, cancer cannot stop you from doing things you want to do, unless YOU want to make it a reason for not doing things.


When things were not running smoothly for me, what kept me going and fighting during chemotherapy was the thought that I had messed up with lifeand given a chance, I wanted to correct the mistake. For 7 years, before cancer happened, my life was spent in making adjustments, giving up things I loved doing, managing relationships which were on a terrible roller-coaster ride. These were the years when I had my first child which again needed few more changes made to already changed life. I had no time for books now, and I wasn’t reading much which was my favorite hobby. My second child was with special needs, so more duties added to life. I don’t regret bringing up my children with love, in fact those memories are best in my life. I value the time I spent with them. But, unfortunately, in all the life drama I was lost for 7 years without improving anything about myself. I didn't even recognise me anymore.

Since very early childhood, I had been interested in learning things from just anywhere or anyone. Every summer vacation, I added new skills to an already existing list. I would come up with projects that at times paid me quite well. But then marriage happened and my husband was hell bent on stopping me from pursuing my studies or career. Falling under pressure, I became stagnant. I loved my children and I convinced myself that I was being a good mom by giving up everything I love for them. It was the cancer which worked as a wake up call for me.

At one point when chemotherapy created havoc on my body by bringing my WBC count very low and I was feeling very weird and shivering badly; I felt I may die any moment. It was then that I realized I had wasted my life and regretted it strongly.. At that moment I felt a lot of regrets for things I wanted to do, but did not for one reason or another. I promised that if I come out of this alive, I will never repeat that mistake ever again. Quick blood transfusion and I was saved. I kept my promise I made to myself.

I never compromised on the care of my children or family, but that did not mean I had to sacrifice myself for them. It was not even required because there was time for everyone and for ME. I started my journey with very tiny steps, sometimes sliding back from where I reached but I did not give up. Projects were back in my life once again and I was happy, no matter what the struggles were. I was not stagnant.

In the past 25 years, I have released a new upgraded version of myself every year without fail. I got back to my studies and finally got my Masters in ‘Counseling and Psychotherapy as well, which was very satisfying. Being on the move, unlocking my skills and upgrading myself has kept me happy, secure and safe. Even during the pandemic when my most loved project of running my preschool -My Giggle Garden- closed down, I could immediately find a job which I enjoy and I work from home now. Happy, secure and safe. I upgrade myself so often now that at times I feel like I am an iPhone. 

After the 7 year self imposed imprisonment, once I started living again rather than being alive, I regained my self-love, self-respect and started looking at myself with pride. I am grateful to cancer for giving me the much required push. The changed lifestyle gave me enhanced strength to fight for my life, because my life was worth fighting for.

I don’t think everyone has to wait for something like cancer to upgrade themselves. We should identify our strengths and enhance them, while identifying our weaknesses to overcome them. It is important to break the taboos and indoctrination that is holding us back at times. Step out of the comfort zone which will slowly become your prison if you allow it to take control. Risk is fun sometimes.

Think of one thing you always wanted to do but had to give up due to pressure from life. Promise yourself that you will give that as a gift to yourself, no matter what obstacles you face. There are things you do for success and there are things you do for the sheer joy of it. Find the balance for both. Unlock that skill/talent you always had in yourself. You deserve an upgrade, no matter when.

Don't downgrade your dream just to fit your reality. Upgrade your conviction to match your destiny.” Stuart Scott. 


  1. I totally agree .... keep learning something never know what will come of use when is what I try to follow

  2. Wonderful post. Too often I am the one standing in my own way. My husband and children are supportive, but I let stuff derail me from my goals. Thank you for sharing such a heartfelt post.

  3. So much wisdom in your post, Farida.
    I'm certainly guilty of fitting my desires to reality. I think as long as you don't feel like you sold your soul, that isn't necessarily a bad thing? If your dreams seem out of reach you "make your reality nicer", know what I mean?

  4. Your indomitable spirit shines through this post Farida.
    You're an inspiration.
    Thank you.

  5. Such good advice and amazing that after going through something so difficult you transformed it into a positive in your life moving forward. I took The Science of Well Being Course through coursera and at the beginning they do some testing to identify what are your natural happiness triggers are and mine came up as a love for learning. It is something I truly enjoy. I always want to explore and learn new things. Weekends In Maine


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