The Wonder Years

When we were young, carefree, without the restraints and constraints of the real world hanging on top of our heads. When we were free to roam and do as we pleased without a 9-5 or 6 or 7 routine hanging on top of our heads 5 days a week. When the biggest stress points were just exams in our life. When entertainment wasn’t mostly digital or technology based. When we could live with our heads up in the clouds. Those were great years. They were wonder years (yes the statement is a play on the old show which is also on some levels synonymous with the ideology of this post).

True the above outlined is pertinent only to the privileged class – somewhere along the lines of our SECs A to perhaps a little higher side C. So not getting into the division in fortunes over the more spread out SECs. That is better left for another blog post.

So coming back to the premise of this post.  The wonder years. How things can go from that to such a complicated pattern of dealing with different aspects of life and people and real life stresses is unbelievable. And it’s not just any one particular aspect of life. It is more or less in all areas. Work, personal life, professional life, future, operational day to day stuff, commuting for things, social, micro, macro. All. All of a sudden everything becomes pertinent to you which previously wasn’t. I mean let’s be honest, really honest with ourselves. How many of us truly cared about the GDP of the country or the IMF before we joined the ranks of salaried individuals or for some the family business. Or for that matter how much did our local residential body’s governing mechanisms and processes for xyz things matter to us. How many of us were interested in the economic policies that were taken up by the government? How many paid any attention to topics like circular debt? Very few I am sure.

It was a carefree time in our lives and we will always look back and cherish on them. I bet if I did a survey, some of the happiest memories would be of people either in their childhood or perhaps of their early parent-hood from their children’s birth to early growing up years.

But then again one must consider that the wonder years I am referring to were perhaps a better time overall in the context of the world. It was a more secure climate overall. Terrorism wasn’t as spread an evil as it is today. In the generation before me it was even better. I was talking to my aunt yesterday and we both agreed on this – even till my childhood I could at the very least take my bike and ride to my uncle’s place to play cricket with my cousins. During daytime and even at times during late evening. It was ok. And it’s not like I had a cellphone on me in those days. Nor did anyone else my age. Not that I recall. Not the case anymore by a long shot. It was even better for my parent’s generation. In retrospect their life was perhaps even more simpler and less complicated even though it did not have many of the technological conveniences that are present today.

I believe that will be an ongoing thought process for every generation to come. Maybe 50 years from now someone else will be writing a post along the same lines. And 50 years from that someone else.

All we can do is just look back upon our wonder years and reminisce. And smile at the memories.

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An Epiphany

An epiphany can be described as an obscure moment of absolute clarity regarding a problem or dilemma that is being faced. It is may be obscure because it can come in any shape or form, at any time and at any place. The weirdest of places as well. Some epiphanies occur after creating the required setting for one to come. Others take course themselves.

As I flew back from my holiday – I felt an epiphany had struck me. This holiday has probably been one of the better decisions in my recent history. The whole two weeks of it (Bahrain & Sri Lanka both). Just underlines the importance of two things. One that everyone should and needs to take some time off. It does them a world of good. And if possible then also take some time to yourself, to gather yourself, talk to yourself and rediscover who you really are underneath all the layers of everyday routine and hard realities of life. The other thing is of course – family. Nice to just slow down everything else and take time to be with your family. Trust me you can never get enough of family. Regardless of whether your entire family is living together or spread out over geography, you simply cannot. In your own way of course – every family being different to each other. Point taken I assume.

Coming back to the epiphany. I feel some parts of me have changed. I definitely do feel fresher. Rejuvenated even (a word that has been the source of much amusement for some people I know over the past few days). I feel like a different person at work – thou the work place seems different from last when I left it but that’s a whole different story and perhaps a blog post some time in the future. And most of all I can feel myself smile. I know that might sound weird but I don’t think I have smiled on the inside in a long time. Longer then I can remember really. I have had a cautious smile perhaps but not this free kind all the way inside my soul, my spirit.

It wasn’t that Bahrain had anything magical about it or Sri Lanka. Both place offered their own positives. Bahrain a nice relaxing time with family and Sri Lanka a peaceful, beautiful solo escape to be by myself. I think the combination did the trick really. And of course our Lord and Creator, Allah. I genuinely think given all that has happened Allah has done something even if it is temporary to sort of balance of my emotional equation. I am very thankful to that and genuinely feel that is one of the major reasons for me to smile. My epiphany. That life is and forever going to move. It will not stop for anything. That it will take from us but also at the same time give us opportunities of greatness. That we must take it by the horns to truly live it. To truly understand it. That there are things that are not worth worrying over and there are those things which require that emotional investment as they are worth it, they are worth the risk. That everything that happens does happen for a reason and that there is indeed a connectivity to everything. Every single moment in life has been preparing me to be at this current moment. There was a connection between all. They all had to be lived to be where I am today. Wherever that may be. I am thankful for where I am today because I know there are those with much more difficult struggles then mine. Mine maybe emotional , for some it is survival. So yes I am very thankful to Allah for everything. I am thankful that He has always given me strength when faced with a loss. And the ability to move on. To move forward. And at the same time for showing new paths, new bridges, new connections that will take me more forward. I feel one such thing from this holiday. Maybe it is true, maybe it isn’t – but at least it has helped me smile.

While most of the things I said above just now may seem cliché , I humbly believe unless you actually come to a point where you feel all of the above one cannot truly understand it. Till then they will remain clichés.

It is in moments like these that one understands that there are more powerful forms of communication and connection out there then just mere words and letters. There is a language beyond the one governed by alphabet alone. It exists in signs, in gestures, in those little things that happen to us in life, those little things that we see happening to others in life, the right moment for a particular song or set of musical notes, the perfect view, the sound of nature, the silence of peace. An absent voice that forms in your head using imagination while talking to someone via text/online. 

One simply cannot underestimate the power of an epiphany. An illuminating realization, a discovery resulting in feelings of elation, awe and wonder.

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Of Silver Linings

I just the movie ‘Silver Linings Playbook’. It’s a good movie. I enjoyed watching it. The healing process of recovering from deep emotional scarring (triggered by a tragedy or a some other hugely negative event in one’s life) after receiving proper therapeutic treatment can be a painful process. I am not discussing the movie or the lives of the characters in the movie. It is just that the movie made me think about a topic that I have often thought about before and written about before as well.

We live in a highly complex and self complicated world. And by we I mean people like you and me: the guy who is writing this blog and the people who are reading it. We are in a highly competitive, cut throat corporate environment. Which is made more difficult because of the economic situations of many countries. Job markets are tough and slim. And unfortunately we have all been reinforced with the need to join the rat race. Our personal lives are also made a little challenging in these times. There is the social status and lifestyle to maintain (and not just the high society types – but like just normal). Relationships with our family, friends and significant others have become more challenging in the face of an extremely pacey and concrete world. We are a part of the 99 club (the story of getting 99 gold coins which is more than enough for you but because you want that elusive 1 more gold which will take you to a 100 gold coins hence you aren’t content). So we are constantly striving for that bit more. I think we complicate things for ourselves by thinking of what will make us happy in the future instead of coming to terms with what we have in the here and now. We need to first focus on making our present situation happy and then move on to making the future happy. If we remain unhappy with our present situation and try to make a happy future well that’s just the wrong sentiment to start out with. Also to add to that we have to let go of our past. Regardless of whether the past was good or bad or positive or negative, we have to let go of it because it was the past. Whatever it was is gone and part of history and will not do anything for the present situation and circumstances. Again the focus needs to be on the present, the here and now.

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We can’t always just keep looking in the clouds to find the silver linings in our situations. Sometimes you just have to take it into your own hands to create your own silver lining. You have to create the positives in your present life. The drive needs to come from within. The will to be happy in the present needs to come within. It can’t of course be forced upon you by someone else. And you can’t just wait for it to suddenly fall into your lap. Don’t wait for the feeling to come to you. Go grab that feeling in whatever direction you need to go to in order to do this.

Now I am not saying that there are sometimes situations in which we are at times helpless. Of course there can be certain instances in life which are out of your control. But that can’t be a permanent state. ‘This too shall pass’ is a good dictum to remember in such cases. But we don’t. We complicate things for ourselves and in the process probably complicate for our loved ones as well.

Therapy of any kind is not a bad thing for such out of our control circumstances. In the circumstances that the current world order is in than most average people could do with some sort of outlet. Or some sort of method by which they can reconcile on a personal and emotional level. Some find that reconciliation in venting out and what better source than to do it with a therapist who is going to be neutral and isn’t attached to your social circles. For some people its working out. Music. Writing. Sports. Aggressive sports (boxing, karate etc.) Therapy doesn’t have to narrowed down to laying on a long couch and having a shrink listening to you. That is one form of therapy. Therapy is anything that can help ease your mind and help you reconcile with yourself on a personal level. Reconciliation doesn’t necessarily mean coming to terms with life situations or accepting a decision or an event. Sometimes it is just about letting it get absorbed in your system. Letting it sink in, gently.