If we are all blessed with one thing – it is memory. I think I am lucky to have a sharp memory and while it sometimes freaks me out that I can remember a lot of trivial things that probably serve no purpose, I also consider it a good thing. After all, who else would remember where Vidur stashed a particular sketch of his four years ago – and be able to recall what he was wearing on that particular day? Arrgh.
And sometimes, memories – trivial or not – are all we have to fall back on when we feel low or lonely… or just want to wallow in a contemplative mood.
At sweet 17 for the third time around, I still find it a little weird to think of myself in relation to the word “old”. Why, I feel rather surprised to think that I’ve crossed the big Five Ohs. Reminds me of one particular incident. I hope it makes you laugh as much as I am laughing now.
So I’ve already mentioned that I may be strong, but do not have the guts to cut my hair, even though I yearn to keep it short (unlike my blog posts!) like I had it years ago.
One afternoon, as my Mom and I were busy preparing vegetables for dinner and watching TV, we saw one of our favorite stars in a really short hair cut. My Mom remarked how wonderful the hairstyle looked on her. And I responded, when I am 40, that’s exactly what I am going to do – cut it short and keep it smart. My Mom burst out laughing. She wouldn’t stop. I got annoyed. Finally, when she could control herself, she said, sputtering – Vidya, how old do you think you are, now? Imagine my sheepishness when I realized I was 45! Of course, we both burst out laughing.
The Life in my years?
Yes. That’s what it all boils down to. The life in my years. I am so busy living that it is often shocking to see the days go by so quickly. And before we know it, I’ve lived one more year.
Today, as I look back, the things that I got worked up about, say, ten years ago, don’t feel that way any more. I’ve become more tolerant of myself and others and less focused on perfection. I used to be the type of person who had to get things just right – and most of the time, it was all or nothing. A simple example is cleaning house. I either wanted to deep clean the entire house or not at all. I’d get so mad at Sury when he said – take one room at a time – it can be so tiring to spend all day doing nothing but clean. I see the wisdom behind it now.
I am happy to play with my dust bunnies.
I am happy to do the work I do – writing, editing, blogging
I am happy to put aside what I am doing and just enjoy some music or read a book
I am happy to indulge in being impulsive and take an entire afternoon off just to look at photo albums and be filled with nostalgia
I am happy I am diabetic, because it means a healthy lifestyle is a non-negotiable in my life. Good for me, eh?
I do not worry and lose sleep over a kitchen sink full of washing up to do.
I am glad that I have plenty to give and no longer have the desire to “save” stuff. Growing up in a frugal family, I felt compelled to save every little thing. Not any more. Life is too short to bother with clutter. I am already half way through clearing up mine. Not easy, I tell you! What took years and years to accumulate does not leave in a day. Or even a month. Because life happens every day and it is easy to put things off. Still, I am working hard.
When I’m really old, I hope to look back at my life and know that I have no regrets.
I hope to know that when I am gone, I will be remembered as someone who believed that service to mankind equals the highest form of love.
I hope to doze off during the day and dream about the day my son was born and wake up to see him grinning down at me all the way from his six feet height.
I hope to be able to chatter about his growing years, meandering through memory lane and taking my own sweet time time over it.
I hope to look back and feel satisfied that I’ve celebrated the small things and lived mindfully.
I hope I can be half the wonderful human being my Mother was.
Heck, I’d also love to put my feet up (if I can raise them that high) and gaze at my bookshelf and see my published work sitting there.
And I do hope to do this with my best friend…
You know what they say…growing old is mandatory but growing up is optional.
So I am just focusing on the life in my years….not the years in my life.
I would like to share one of my most favorite poems by Leigh Hunt – Abou Ben Adhem – it made a deep impression on me when I learned it in the 6th grade. Somehow, it always fills me with joy and of course, my eyes with tears. I like to think it ties in with this post!
Abou Ben Adhem
Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An Angel writing in a book of gold:
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the Presence in the room he said,
“What writest thou?” The Vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord
Answered, “The names of those who love the Lord.”
“And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not so,”
Replied the Angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerily still; and said, “I pray thee, then,
Write me as one who loves his fellow men.”
The Angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blessed,
And, lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest!
— James Leigh Hunt
This is a Finish The Sentence Friday post. Today’s prompt is:
“When I’m really old, I hope to look back at my life and know that I…”
And please join us. All you have to do is write a post completing the sentence “When I’m really old, I hope to look back at my life and know that I…” and link up below. Looking forward to seeing you here!