Edited by: Sharanya Vairam

Ever since I decided to “leave” preparing for judicial services examination, my loved ones kept telling me not to “quit”; to rather keep trying harder. They believed in me and my dream and kept motivating me with their kind words, telling me that I will surely fill the post of a judicial officer. Everyone around me thought that I gave up too early and that I should have given myself one more chance. They even suggested that I take a break and start afresh. But I had already made up my mind and had joined the litigation office in New-Delhi. Though I had moved on, there was still constant bickering inside my head. That inner voice kept questioning me day and night, “did I leave, or quit to pursue my most cherished dream?”

I started doubting my capabilities and would often feel miserable for deciding to pursue a different career. Days went by and I convinced myself that I had deliberately decided to “leave” preparation. To feel better and focused, I repeatedly told myself that I did not quit. But at the same time, I was confused as I did not know the difference between the two. As a practice, candidates preparing for the competitive exams have to mentally prepare themselves to keep trying until they clear the exam. Then, there are societal factors too that dictate our decision whether to continue in the race or not. The belief that “if you want it, you will get” backfires at times and causes irreparable mental damage to live with, whether you win or lose.

From my experience, I have learned and observed that once a saturation point is achieved, the mind and body do not strive for towards the pursuit of the dream. There is also no doubt that one does not realize having reached this point of exhaustion. I still clearly remember; after my unsuccessful attempt at UP Judiciary Mains Examination in 2017 I hated the books that were dearest to me so far. The notes, chair, table, room, the window that were part of my arduous journey suddenly became stranger to me. I wanted to get rid of them. The very next day, I packed my dearest possessions and dumped them in the storage room. Such was the contempt against every related thing that I changed the settings of my room and withdrew myself from friend’s circle. My loved ones tried to convince me to not “quit” at this peak point. But my decision was final and again the question was, “did I leave or quit?”

The pressure of pursuing my dream and walking on my chosen path was so intense that I failed to realize that my dream had become a mere instrument to prove myself right. I switched my career path after realizing that there are other avenues out there waiting for me to explore. It also helped to remain alert and avoid imbibing the possible negative behavioral practices that were bound to occur had I decided to quit the journey. I was relaxed, happy, and building a new dream. I was happy from the bottom of my heart to hear my friends clearing the exams. I did not feel bitter against the system or blame god and destiny for my failures. I did not feel inferior and embarrassed when my juniors were scaling the heights that once I dreamt of climbing.

I never felt unaccomplished or defeated after leaving preparation. No doubt, I had to overcome many difficulties. The first year of lawyering was a spine-wreaking experience, to say the least. Nevertheless, I realized that had I quit then life would have been worse. I would have become an individual despising the success of others. I would have been living in the past, stuck with resentment, unhappiness, anger, and frustration against myself, even questioning my existence.

But thankfully, I am none of the above, and my life is completely different now. I value the efforts I invested, and acknowledge the support my family lent during those days. I have moved on and I am completely at peace with my past. I am happy and satisfied that I tried. Indeed, it was a dark phase and shall always be, but now it is just a fact for me. Its existence or absence does not matter to me. The new life and dreams were possible because I chose to “let it go”. I feel content because I accepted the situation and put a full stop there. I am not harsh, punitive, and biased towards myself anymore. I maturely dealt with the trauma of failure without hurting myself because I knew that not even an inch of my existence is ever going back to chase what I have already left behind. I chose not to burden my heart with lifelong incompleteness. I accept that I failed but I never got defeated. I was strict in imposing my new career choice onto myself, but deep down I knew that it was for my well-being and success. I believe that I have a new “dream and song to sing.”

Ever since I realized the difference, I now make sure that I make wise decisions and also help others to do the same. Life is a journey to know more about oneself. It is also meant to realize and accept bitter truths and live a simple life. I chose not to live a complicated one to make my presence on this planet worthwhile. I rejected to suffer and struggle unnecessarily for a bygone dream. I am grateful for the hardships because I learned many valuable lessons in those three years. I realized that I am a strong, resilient and extraordinary individual in the most ordinary way, and this attitude is more than enough to make my life a success.

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