Sunday, December 9, 2012

On being middle aged- the patterns of life

Middle aged - unlike teen age, it is not so dreaded age by the people around you but something that you dread to reach. I reached this age recently and unlike my huge expectations nothing really changed, no thunderbolts, no heavy rains, nothing. Only that my J and her friends brought me to the other side of middle age with great care through thoughtful plays and songs. My sister hugged me tight and fumbled my hair as if she could hear the lib-dub of her middle-aged sister's heart. Brother also shooed away my concerns on age and gave a short lecture about age does not matter, it is the heart that matters. Well as you say big Bro! My husband remained silent as if saying that I dealt with you in your teenage and twen-age (twenties) and will continue doing that in your middle age too. How much harder that would get anyways? Mom and dad were never so friendly before and now finally I could see that they are okay in discussing their turmoils and worries with me and not concerned more about my story. They know their daughter will deal with them somehow now that she is middle-aged.
Colleagues were giving eons of suggestions and theories of how I should take control of my middle age and how middle age is the center stage of human life-true isn't it.
Life that went by seems to be so short and so makes me more aware and careful of each day that is coming. For today I am more experienced than yesterday but I am naive compared to tomorrow.
In the middle of the journey called life,  found some silly patterns finally;

Circular: For most things that happen with us are circular or reversible in nature, day and night, weekdays and weekends, seasons, stirring the sugar crystals in a cup of tea, the accumulation of specks of dust on the table tops and tops of chest of drawers every few days, festivals and vacations, the heap of dirty cloths on each Fridays,  weekly shopping, the circle of eating out and then eating simple home cooked meal. The solitary and inactive weekends and then having lots of friends and partying weekends. The regularities of an ongoing life is circular. Just like the way my grand mother used to make sandalwood paste by rubbing a small sandalwood cylinder on a circular stone in circular motion for her morning Puja. Just like my mother always prefers some flowers beds to be of circular in shape. Just like my father shows incense stick to Hindu gods and goddesses in a circular rotation. Circles of routines brings us comfort and boredom too. Finally understanding and accepting the fact that every weekend I have to shop, every 2 days I have to cook, every morning I have to go for work, every deadline I need to work for,  every day I need to instruct J and every day I will have certain circles to rotate has given me inner calm, I don't question on those circular routines anymore (having done enough of that) and don't find them mundane, I do them and seek comfort of doing something I know.

Linear: Relationships are linear and so is the age. They grow to fade, die or mature. They are not circular and not reversible. They evolve with time and our dream to go back to the relationships that is hold in our memory is a mistake. My relationship with my mother is absolute contrast to what we had when I was in my teenage. Also that time is linear. Time takes away people from you and forever. Grandparents who were there in my life, and at times I took them for granted, but then one day they left. I could not hold them back. Now I am conscious for parents and I don't want to take them for granted. I want to talk with them, laugh with them and share with them my opinions and the differences therein from theirs. Friends and ex-colleagues who were intense part of our past are distant now, we remember them but we realize that we cannot go back to the relationship of past. My daughter's toddler-hood has passed too. I can see her in photos, but to recollect emotions of those days are not possible. Similar is the effect of transition from one place to another (17-18 times for me), transition from one career to another or transition from one living place to another (25 times for me). It does not make sense to yearn to return when the path is not circular.  Accepting this linearity of life and then trying to enjoy the present of it is a must.

Boxed: Some things in life are limited or boxed. They are quantized. They bring limitations. Unless we accept those boxes of our lives, we might keep getting hurt and disappointed. It can be certain stages of career, relationships, certain dreams, expectations, our lack of skills and potentials. It can be an inability like inability to acquire a skill, inability to change a system or a person, inability to grow a habit in your loved ones or inability to control in general. I have learned to look on those inabilities as boxes or patches. I see the life as a blanket and I have accepted that there will be some patches here and there. So my life will be a patched-work quilt. I have also understood that these boxes can be very powerful in our life and can lead us to depression. So instead of giving these boxes a power to control our lives, we need to find a way out to work around those boxes. Initially it is difficult to understand that we are facing a boxed situation in life, one way I found is that if the situation is repetitive and is irritating or depressing me then that situation/person can be a box in my life.  I have figured 2 ways to deal with the boxed situations of life. One to ignore them and second is to understand them and then trying to minimize their effect on us. I try do develop a positive attitude and try to accept that limitation.
If a difficult colleague is a box in my life, I can become forgiving and become less dependent on that colleague. I can try to understand why that colleague is difficult, is it a situation or is it his/her nature? I can try to extend my work group by averaging out the effect of a difficult colleague. The same applies for family members, friends and children too.
Judgmental,  conclusive and closed people can bring more boxed situations around you. People who feel insecure because of you or any other thing, who are focused on only one thing in life (career, promotion etc.), who always compare with others,  can bring boxed situations for you. I try to identify them and make strategy to deal with them.
There will be but at least one or two or perhaps many boxes which we might have to ignore by creating a distance and becoming an observer of the situation. Also that I don't turn into a box for anyone is another learning experiment for me.

Open: Just opposite to the boxed situations are the open situations. The limitless situation. The situations where I feel enriched, where I am able to explore, where I can learn, and where I feel free. This openness for me comes from books, bookshops, libraries, ethnic shops, travel, making bread, colors and open people. People who accept me as I am, who don't judge me with my looks, age, career, language or religion. I am lucky that I have got to see many such people in my life and I have learned to be open from them. I think about them and keep going to them when I get stuck in boxes of life. As my observation says that boxed people are more in numbers than the open ones, so these open people are the ones to be cherished. Open people come along and bring merriness in our life. I keep looking out for these people, try to be close to them, don't judge them just be with them. In dearth of such people than we need to find out our door for openness, which can be traveling or knitting or gazing at the stars. Search for openness in life is a continuous learning.
Tough puzzle is when we come across people or situation that can be combination of the above patterns like a boxed and a open person, both at a time. Classic example is my grand mother, a superstitious woman with immense faith on higher education and knowledge. She has determined a lot of changes in the lives of her daughters and grand daughters.

It is amazing for me that recently I could relate to many of the turmoils of my past-life. Once a situation becomes past, we still try to touch that, try to solve that or try to draw a conclusion out of that. Sometimes our present get stuck in our past. It happened with me too. But recently, on identifying and  working with these patterns, I realized that the past somehow looses its charm to destabilize me at present, because I know the end of it.

Understanding the nature of those turmoils and problems giving them time to imbibe into a pattern and relating them to  a pattern, helped me to sort the present and find calmness.

After all this is one life to live.

Disclaimer: Warli paintings are used for symbolism and are collected through google search

1 comment:

  1. The best part of growing up is that you get to act as a kid whenever you feel like doing so.

    Happy Blogging.