Am I getting older? Are these the signs of me growing up? I feel like those ‘uncles’, married, with kids, thinking of their work, no time to play, run. Am I an old man now?
I was talking with a friend of mine from college. We talked of the days gone by, the fun times in college, and at the same time feeling like maybe not having enjoyed the utmost during those times. I guess these are usual feelings that people in their late twenties go through. Perhaps.
The Waving Old Neighbour
Maybe I am not becoming an ‘old man’. But I know I am growing, from one stage of life to another, from childhood to adolescence. Everyday when I leave my house, there is this neighbour of ours, an old man in his nineties, who waves ‘hi’ to me. As I descend the stairs after waving back to him, I look down at my legs. He fell down in the bathroom few months back and broke some of his bones and is still recovering. I think of my youth and my energy that lets me move around in this world.
I think of how lucky an age I am at right now. To be able to run, to walk, to move, to jump. The energy that my age allots me. The freedom to decide things for myself, which my childhood did not allow for. But the waving neighbour constantly reminds of a future that waits me, a later stage of growth, from adulthood to becoming ready for that day.
I lived with my own grandfather. I saw him being this healthy man who rode his bicycle everyday, to having to give up cycling because of a stroke. But even then he still went out for walks every morning and evening, and years later as he got into his later days, I saw how he barely remembered his own name and had to be helped with everything.
This is the future of every human being, those living today, those that lived and passed away, and those that are yet to be born. Death is the common denominator, even for Buddha. Growth is followed by death, and death by growth. Yeah, our ancient Indian mythology speaks of cycles of rebirth till one is purified and all, but those are not things that we can verify or know for sure, is it? No harm intended if you believe in those. Each to his own faith.
So What is The Lesson Then?
I do not know. Everyday as I descend those stairs, I wonder what it is that I am feeling, what it is that pinches me somewhere I do not even know of. I guess what I am trying to tell myself is to make this day meaningful (which arises the question what meaningful is, which lets rest for another day). To make this day worth the gift that we have been given to be alive in, to be walking in, however meagre a value we might be giving our own existence.
I know my friends who do not think much of the work they do daily in their life. I do not wish to be yet another one who preaches others to quit their jobs and paint a beautiful picture of a wandering traveller, though perhaps my actions and life say otherwise. Maybe these are signs of growing, of realising ones own mortality, of wanting to make it mean something.
My words fail to convey what I am still grappling to understand myself. All I can say for sure, is that tomorrow morning when I open my eyes, I know I will feel lucky to be alive, like I felt today morning and yesterday. I feel lucky, powerful, grateful and humble at the same time, thanks to the old waving neighbour.
Let us all grow together.