We live in decadent times. Hedonism starts early where parents fulfil needs and wants even before children realize they have needs and wants. They are given easy access to mobiles, gadgets and tabs which ensures they get to tap into a host of information at the touch of a fingertip. How will that ever leave room for creativity and curiosity to find roots? I too have been guilty of leaning on nursery rhymes to soothe a bawling toddler. Yes that is the trouble. We’re so busy strutting about like zombies starved for time that we look for quick fix solutions for everything. Even the things that matter like relationships, parenting, friendships. We think we can compensate for the poverty of time by amassing material possessions. We think we can punctuate our emptiness by acquiring brands and gadgets we’re going to lose fascination for soon. We are so gladly ignorant of the long term ramifications of all these quick fixes. Our parallel existence in the realm of social media is yet another space where we seek instant gratification by getting instant likes for our rants and rambles, narcissistic selfies or vacation snapshots.
As a parent and a bystander I shudder to think about the self-gratification seeking monsters we’ve become and the little monsters we’re in process of rearing. We’re heading towards a world where we’ll find it hard to think beyond our own needs and wants. A world where we’d want instant solutions for all our troubles. We’ll be men and women who’ll find it hard to look beyond their own noses and whose sympathies will be narrower than Kendal Jenner’s nimble waist. Where nothing will hold our attention and instead of finding solace and satiation in real human interaction we’ll depend on the deceptive virtual world to seek companionship and derive sense of self-worth.
Is that where we’d like ourselves or our children to be?
All of life is a choice between love and fear. We can choose to open our heart to new experiences, people and situations. Take each day as it comes, dig up opportunities to grow and learn and jump into the helm of action instead of spending all our time overthinking and pondering over the imponderables. We can muster courage to make our own choices as well as the gumption to live them down immaterial of the consequences. We can decide to embrace change as a way of life and look at each tricky situation as an opportunity to grow and learn. Not antagonizing over people who think differently than we do. Instead we can entertain their perspective to enrich our own. We can navigate through ups and downs by seizing the moment, by choosing to change what we don’t like and exploring the world for its diverse people, places, flavours, sights and sounds.
Or we can choose to be shrinking violets cower quietly in a corner, allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by people and situations. Walk through life with our eyes half closed and half engaged, dwelling in the zone of inactivity and endless speculation. Hoping if we shut or eyes to them or shove them under the carpet our troubles under the proverbial carpet; they will disappear. Magnifying and feeding of each other’s fears. Resisting and shunning change and shutting ourselves from new people and experiences. We can choose to stunt our personal growth, find solace in sameness and monotony. Lead an incestuous existence where we meet and accept only people who think and talk like us. Shun newer experiences, revel in the sameness. Crib and complain about our existing relationships, jobs and situations yet refuse to change. Because change is catastrophic and what is familiar is a solace even if we don’t quite like it. We learn to get comfortable with the discomfort because only the known is a safe choice.
The mind keeps waltzing between choosing love and faith and getting paralyzed by fear and inaction. We can choose to overcome our mental hurdles or to stall our lives fearing a catastrophe all the time. We’re forever fighting this battle at the back of our mind at each juncture of life. I personally have found myself swinging between the two extremes when faces with all of life’s major changes and choices. As the ancient fable goes, much of our life depends on which of these two we choose to feed and grow.
Cities where we chase our dreams
Have streets scattered with broken dreams
Cities which open up the world to us
Are where many a worlds collapse
Cities where we find a living
Are the ones where we lose our soul
Cities that give you the freedom of anonymity
Have rivers of loneliness flow through them
Cities where you give flight to your ideas
Drown us in their noise and din
It is strange how most of life shall only make sense in retrospect. After life has happened to us the whys and how suddenly begin to make sense. We find answers to all questions that haunted our minds.
But all of this seldom makes sense in the realm of action. When we are in the middle of chaos, in the whirlwinds of change we just get pulled in to dance with the winds. Without having time to breathe let alone finding time to pause and make sense of where life is headed. Yet when storms have passed and the dust begins to settle. Leaving us partly broken, partly wiser it all begins to fall into place. The missing pieces fit snugly in harmony. But by then we’ve written off, given up on what we want till we discover this glimmer of hope to hang on to. And we hang on to it with all our might.
Only to realize that all life asks of us is to learn to let go. To let go of how we think life ought to be, of our fixed ideas, our prejudices and notions. To let go of it all and flow like water. Become supple and nimble souls that go with the flow of life without letting it break us, yet enriching everything we touch. All these realizations dawn only in the surreptitious and quiet moments of introspection.
Such moments are far and few because we prefer to succumb to the maddening and frenetic pace of action. To lose ourselves in our work, drown ourselves in frivolous worries and speculate mindlessly. We chose not to think and feel and rather act and react. It takes courage to think, to reflect, look at ourselves sans blinders as well as look at the people we love objectively. It asks of us to look at ourselves and our existence in the mirror and have our vulnerabilities and weaknesses stare right back at us. It takes strength to be vulnerable. But our social conditioning ingrained it in us that true strength lies in denial, in masking what we really feel and want. So we run mindlessly, chase ephemeral dreams and desires yet nothing quells the restlessness within. Instead of chasing a path the world charted for us if only we could find courage to succumb to our impulses, chase silly dreams and just be our true authentic selves sans the fear of censure and non-acceptance. If only….
There is time
Sometimes like a silent river
Bridges we build
Walls we erect
Sometimes rolling like
A reckless stream
Roaring like impassioned waves
We do all we can to
Slow it down
Outstretching our hands
Tightening our fists
Around the sands of time
Thinking it’ll stay still
Yet it slips away
Sliding away from
Beneath our feet
Leaving stamped memories
Weaving lasting moments
Leaving the creases
Of age on our hearts
We do all
We can to defy its traces