I had couple of friends visiting me some days ago and we had discussions on a wide range of subjects. Both are part of a group to which I too belong, which has monthly meetings where such discussions take place and, it was not unusual that it happened again.
One of the friends unfortunately has recently been having morbid thoughts. He is four years older than I am and has seen much suffering in his life despite having had a successful academic life. He has been exploring various avenues of living in some kind of seclusion in some old peoples’ home.
Among the issues that have been agitating him is the concept of “Right To Die”. He has lately been studying cases of euthanasia and has been wanting to carry out research on the subject among senior citizens of India.
He lives alone except to spend every Sunday with his only son, daughter in love and grandson. My other friend and I believe that his recent bouts with health issues like high blood pressure and insomnia has brought him to some morbid thinking. That is the reason he brought this topic up again to discuss and I was a bit impatient with him as, we had discussed this topic a number of times before and had concluded that he should seek help rather than live with some morbid thoughts of euthanasia.
I finally had had enough and told him that though I had come across many people from all walks of life with fear of death; he is the first and only one that I have come across with a fear of life. I bluntly asked him as to why he was afraid to live the full life allotted to him and enjoy it to the best of his ability.
He was taken aback but, quickly recovered and said that, that was the problem indeed. He was afraid to live the way he was living and would rather not. That insight has changed his attitude somewhat as he called me up earlier today to thank me for the insight. I again suggested that he seek psychiatric help and he has agreed finally to do that.
Despite sharing a home with my daughter in love and son along with two dogs, I believe that I am a loner as I would prefer to be left alone to do things that I enjoy doing rather than be in a crowd lost. While I do enjoy company I don’t feel uncomfortable without it and do not go around actively seeking it.
This definition of a loner is rather different from the classical ones but, I simply cannot think of any word to describe people like us who are comfortable with solitude.
I know that there are a lot of others among my readers who too are like that and hence thought that this video should be shared among them.
“No one achieves complete success in life but, even partial fulfilment is attained by but, a few. Unfulfilment is the normal condition of man.” ~ Irawati Karve.
This post has been inspired by Ekoshapu’s post on Reunion. Since I attend reunions regularly, what the poem says resonates with me.
The heartthrob of the school,
is a man grim and somber.
That lanky little girl,
is now a weightlifter.
The topper of the class,
is a happy homemaker.
Back bencher of the lot,
is an entrepreneur.
The flamboyant fashionista,
became a dreaded lawyer.
Oft ignored average Joe,
turned a well known writer.
The one who failed math paper,
is a fashion designer,
and one who often got to stand outside the class,
is a respected army officer.
The reunion taught me how,
people come with many layers,
and told me why we should,
never judge a book by its cover…
Let’s remember this every time we step into our classes;
Each child is a potential success story!! Lets help them write it
On reflecting on the topic, it also occurred to me that in these reunions, one rarely comes across someone talking about how s/he has failed whereas irrespective of whether one came from a background of privilege and money or the absence of it, the successes inevitably talked about it and maintained that they are self made successes. As a corollary, I suppose that the failures are also self made failures but, they are unwilling to admit it. They will blame everything possible other than themselves for their failures. Usually, the government, competition or often, bankers.
To reinforce this trend of thought, I have recently had to interact with two young friends of both categories and I dug up the Nightingale quote for the latter. He was quite stunned that it had not occurred to him and we spent quite a long time discussing how things could have been different had he done somethings differently or not done somethings at all. Since he is quite a determined sort, he has perhaps understood the situation and will try again.
To the former, it was easier to point out the advantages that he had to start with before he became an entrepreneur to deflate his ego a bit and give some credit to his parents and background. Subsequently, his father rang me up to thank me for doing that! I must have done something right for the news to reach the father!
Which brings me to the second quote on unfulfilment being the norm for most of us. I think that Irawati Karve has hit the nail on the head but, am willing to be corrected by any of my reader/s who may think otherwise.
After I wrote my last post on Contentment, many memories of my past life popped up during my morning reveries and this one grabbed my attention for quite some time. When you read the lyrics, you will see why. This is a song written by John Lennon of The Beatles in the eighties.
When I was younger Living confusion and deep despair When I was younger Living illusion of freedom and power When I was younger Full of ideas and broken dreams (my friend) When I was younger ah hah Everything simple but not so clear Living on borrowed time Without a thought for tomorrow Living on borrowed time Without a thought for tomorrow Now I am older The more that I see the less that I know for sure Now I am older The future is brighter and now is the hour Living on borrowed time Without a thought for tomorrow Living on borrowed time Without a…
I believe that I am a contented person. I have few wants and they have been provided in adequate measure for me and I am ever grateful for that. That I am at my twilight years helps where nature makes it easier to be content with one’s lot.
I was not always like that and like most humanity I went through various stages of life when “more” was the driving mantra till nature decided that I had had enough and put the brakes on. I only wish that it had in a different way but, that is for another blog post.
If someone were to ask me to describe my lifestyle, I would take two styles. The easier to understand one is the Western metaphor of “going through life like a homeless alley cat, living from day to day, taking it’s pleasures where it can and dying unnoticed.” Except that, I do have a home and the pleasures I want are very simple and door delivered, like my daily dose of newspapers and crossword puzzles plus enough books to read. I also have serious doubts that I will die unnoticed, not that it would matter when I do.
The other style would be my following the eight fold path of yoga that we in India call Ashtanga Yoga.
In the second limb of Niyama, the second “do” is “Santosha – contentment, acceptance of others, acceptance of one’s circumstances as they are in order to get past or change them, optimism for self.”
At least one reader is very likely to comment that I am aiming for sainthood and I would simply smile and respond with “no, just following a proven system that guarantees that one can live a life of joy. I am sure that the same person would grant me that I am by and large joyful! I am no saint and I do slip but it does not take a great deal of effort to revert to my idea of normal which is being peaceful and joyful.
Believe me, it is easy to live a life of contentment. Any one can.
I have suggested this topic for this week’s Friday 2 on 1 blog posts where Shackman and I write on the same topic. Please do go over to Shackman’s blog to read what his take on the topic is. Thank you.