Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Up the hill and going down...

I will be touching the big 4-oh next year and I will have officially entered the age when all boys and girls are considered "grown-ups". It will be a milestone for me and I am not sure if I'll be celebrating the occasion with any pomp. Ideally, I should sit down and reflect on my life and see how I have fared so far in the eternal scheme of things, whether or not, I have accomplished all that I set out to do, if I have achieved anything tangible or intangible that I can look upon as my legacy to the world, and, most importantly, have I made any difference to the people around me. Or will my death (whenever it comes) be just a mere bleep on their radar?

There is still time to figure out the answers to these questions and I am sure I'll have ample time to set things right if they are not. And if my time is cut short and I leave the world much earlier, I'll have just all this that I have done so far as my contribution to this world. It will be my gift and my legacy, as it were.

Now this leaves me with the tantalising question about regrets... have I lived to my full potential and, if not, am I sorry that my life is incomplete because of it?

In one word, no.

In my opinion, regrets are futile exercises. They waste so much time and energy as we battle thoughts and ideas in our heads and, needlessly, bang our heads against walls ... and for all that, we get nothing in return except for more regrets.

I see my life not as a series of failures (although there are quite a few non-accomplishments to my credit) but a fulfilment of what I could be at this point of time. I see those non-accomplishments not as a blot on my life but as necessary pruning to make me the man I am now. Those regrets, those non-accomplishments, that unfulfiled potential is what makes me "me". It has shaped my character, matured me, helped me to grow, made me sensitive... in other words, it has been an indispensible component of my growing up.

However, this is how I am and how I look at my life so far. But the problem is with other people who have their own expectations about our life.

There are those who think I behave way too young for my age and feel I should be more responsible. What they really mean by that is that I should get married and raise a family of my own and learn the pitfalls of domestic life. It makes it hard for them to digest that marriage ought to be a partnership between two compatible entities and not something to add to your resume. Then, there are those who just dont like my ideas and 'youthful' (even if I may so) ideas. I am not sure if they are threatened by it or what but I am tired by their constant non-response and passive discouragement. Their pathetic pretence in enthusiasm is so sad because it follows very closely with their enthusiastic indifference.

Now this point brings me back again to the big 4-oh.

One of the clearest signs of growing up and being up the hill and going down is, precisely, when we meet people like these. I dont say that these people age us quickly but they act as mirrors, of sorts. They show us where the world is plodding on and where we are placed... and they elicit a response, are we going to give in to them and lose our integrity? Or are we going to continue living and making life miserable for these people?

The answer to the second question will involve rocking the boat a little and charting our own individual path. And that, in many ways, will determine our legacy to this world.

1 comment:

Rhonda Fulks said...

Wow...very well said Ash. I say be yourself and if they don't like it, then so be it. You have to live for you, not what someone else wants you to be. Everyone surely has regrets, I know I do. But you can't look back, you have to live in the present and make the best of it. In my opinion people who act younger are the most fun to be around. I don't like the company of people who are all serious and up tight who can't take a joke. LOL! :)