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A New Dream - By Aaroshi Sahgal
When I was young, I used to keep a diary. My friends would laugh at me and make fun of me, because they didn’t understand the great importance of that little notebook and how it affected me. You see, I am an introspective person. I like to delve deep into my overpowering emotions and analyze them in order to sort out the twisted up thoughts that are constantly swirling about in my head. Writing in my diary was like a form of therapy, and it helped soothe and organize my mind.
Penning my feelings down in a book made it clear to me why I felt the way I did, kind of like the way solving a math problem mentally is much more difficult than solving it on paper.
I also expressed all of my future dreams and aspirations in my diary. I guess I wanted the future-me to remember what the little-girl-me looked forward to and expected from the great adventure of life, because then I would know if I had lived up to that little girl’s expectations or not. I’d be able to take a look back in time, and see those frozen hopes on paper and hear the voice of this daring dreamer all over again. The frozen words would remind me of my feelings from so many years ago, and when I read them over I would either feel extremely proud, or feel like I had done injustice to that little girl inside me. As I was growing up, one of my biggest fears was that I might not live up to my own expectations, and that I myself would be the destruction of my perfect future fantasy.
I would like to think that I’ve built a pretty amazing life for myself over the years, or at least, that’s what I would like other people to think. I guess I thought that if I couldn’t convince myself that I had achieved all my dreams and gotten everything I wanted from life, then at the very least I could convince everyone else that I had. I’d go to work every day dressed as nicely as my paycheck and confidence would allow, and have a smile plastered on my face along with a positive attitude that I had started to get sick of faking. The bubbly girl that I forced out of me at work definitely led the perfect life and had fulfilled all of her childhood dreams.
She had actually never wanted to be anything but a public relations writer, she got to travel to breathtaking places around the globe often, she didn’t have a constant fear about her high school daughter’s future, and her husband was the ideal Prince Charming and made her feel valuable and loved every single day. I was so jealous of this imaginary girl that I portrayed myself to be, and wanted nothing more than to live her picture perfect lifestyle.
My dissatisfaction with my ordinary life and ordinary problems was the reason why I hadn’t opened up my childhood diary for all these years. I would bring it out once in a while and look at the cover, but I didn’t have the strength to open it and face the little girl who expected so much more from life. I knew that I had disappointed her and that it would hurt too much to read all those frozen dreams that were written with immense hope so many years before. So, I would simply take my diary and hide it away among several other books in the cabinet, hoping I could smother the disappointed childhood-me and be happy with how my life had turned out to be.
Because I had restrained myself from opening my diary and facing the little-girl-me for all these years, I couldn’t help being afraid of my seemingly strong decision to read it now. My curiosity was overpowering me, and I knew I had to destroy the devil on my shoulder that constantly told me that I had failed myself and that I was living an unhappy life. So, I took a deep breath, and opened the old book to begin my journey to the mind of the old me.
Instead of finding myself ashamed of what I had turned out to be, I was captivated by the imagination of this girl that I used to be. My naivety and blind happiness shone through the passionate words, and I felt a sense of innocence being awakened inside me once again.
“…and one day, all my hard work will pay off and I’ll make Mom and Dad so proud of me. I’ll be one of the most successful journalists there ever was, and everyone will know my name. I’ll travel all over the world to contribute my talents to everyone, and I’ll stay at many different classy and beautiful hotels. People will look up to me and admire my work and demeanor and I’ll be so happy because I’ll be living the dream. One day, I’ll show the world who I really am and what I’m capable of.”
The truth is, I hadn’t achieved everything that I had expected I would. It wasn’t possible for me to make my job the center of my life and go all out in it in order to be more successful, because I had a family to attend to. I had a daughter who was growing up faster than the blink of an eye, and she would be off to college before I knew it. I needed to make sure that her life was well set, and that she was prepared to face this tough world without me by her side at each step of the way. She was hard work, but the memories that I’ve created with her and the love that she has showered on me is priceless, and that is where my happiness truly lies. My husband isn’t around every day, because he has committed himself to a greater and much more noble cause and I respect him for that. However, our love hasn’t diminished one bit because of the unavoidable distance, and the times we do spend together are precious and unforgettable.
I chose to let my family dominate my life, because they are my ultimate source of happiness and I know their light will never go out. Whenever I see my daughter laughing till her stomach aches or running over to give me a big hug, or whenever I hear the special knock my husband makes signaling that he’s finally home, I know that it’s all worth it. Had I accomplished everything I dreamed I would? Not at all, but instead, I had accomplished a much bigger and better dream.
||Aaroshi Sahgal is a sophomore at Mission San Jose High School and lives in Fremont, Calif. She loves writing, fine arts and Indian classical dance.