Thursday, August 18, 2016

Introspection

Another birthday went by....

I am often asked "What are your plans?"

Over a cup of coffee with my cousins when they come over to visit me or over a mug of chilled beer with a close friend; somewhere between the talks of bitching about a relative we share our dislikes for or discussing about a latest movie. How I struggle and meticulously talk along the borderline to just avoid "this" talk.

What are your plans? - its not a simple question. I dread it, have put up with this question for over a decade and would've to for long time now. What are your plans for life? There is always a pause as I take in that question. I look around and then stare blankly and shrug with the same answer as always -  "I don't know!"  Only that; I am not a teenager to give such an "irresponsible" answer. I am way past teens and 20s.

In my case, the question is basically when are you expanding your family? Kids? Am I thinking about it? Clock's ticking!!! Why am I selfish? What am I going to do in 5 years' time? Who will take care of me as I get older? And this "I don't know" knocks people off their minds; they can't fathom how can someone live their life not having a plan about their life. How? Why? They want to know if there a problem? Medical? Personal? Marital? Any problem? They want to help. And then - Are you not scared? is the next question. I again shrug and ask "Scared about what?" There! they lose it. I am thought to be a  weirdo, an insane, abnormal personality; a concerted conspiracy planted by force unknown amidst normal and conforming people to confuse them!

Volley of questions. For some reason, people think I am behind everyone in growing up or that I am refusing to grow up. I don't want to take up responsibilities. But my "plan" does not go beyond weekends. Do I think I have "lot of time" or do I think I am "20 anymore". No I don't. Of course, am I not a qualified adult? I hold a responsible position at workplace, answerable to critical deliverables, pay my taxes, cast my vote, do charity, face economic hardships having to make tough decisions at times, drink responsibly and above all - president of my apartment association and heck! I am a responsible mother to a puppy dog...(hope so!...have to get it confirmed with Gypsy).

I do save a bit, but I want to spend what I earn on my passion - traveling and exploring the world. I want to travel as far and as much as possible before my body gives up. Catch up with friends and jam and laugh a bit before the invites stop coming.

But when I see around; I see folks getting married, having kid, having a second kid....thinking about future, retirement, savings....A lot has happened in this past year for me. I changed jobs; went back to my old company. I saw familiar people who I last saw 8 years ago before I quit still hanging around. Some of them now with gray hair and stooped shoulders, few who joined as a new college graduate as me are now showing signs of aging - belly, under eye bags and a hunch. I came across a couple of classmates from school - I knew them as young innocent girls stepping into teens but now moms with 2 kids. When I saw them first; I saw myself in them - young, energetic and carefree. But now; they are old, tiring and full with responsibilities and commitments.  I don't see myself in them anymore; or have I also grown up to be tired, old and stressed?

Perhaps; my problems are different. I do discuss at length about these evolution and cycle of life with few of my young friends; and I've started to notice that we are reducing in number. Few years ago; friends got busy with their life as they migrated to different country or got married or committed and got busy in their life. Now I am in that "those friends are having second kid" phase. Everyone are happy with those new phases in life; while I am still clinging on to that "old" one which people believe is not right. Perhaps; I will not know. They don't know that I am comfortable in my skin; I am not fretting over it now and hope I won't wake up one day and regret that I missed the boat. Self doubt is suffocating; but let me live with this thought and this too shall pass.

But I am glad to be not growing up just like everyone else does and seems its the norm; I revel in what and how I am. I also very well acknolwedge that I am growing old and respect it with grace. This becomes very important to distinguish because most folks think growing up and growing old are one and the same. I'll accept the aging factor; don't wish to disguise that trying to and blend in with 20-somethings around me. Should I grow up?

I don't know.....

10 comments:

  1. Ah! I have almost forgotten how to comment. It's been ages since I did that. Like you said - friends got busy. Busy? Lazy? Lost interest? Developed new interests? Yeah maybe. So much to introspect. So many questions. Do I dread - what are your plans? - question? Nah. Luckily, I am surrounded by friends who are like me. For us, the plan is not about marriage kids work etc. When we meet we discuss what can be done that will bring some excitement to life.

    And we are alike too in this aspect. Probably that's why we click so well. So Bindu, what are your plans at 5 pm, ie in five minutes from now? Wanna talk? :D

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    1. Neha,

      :-). All of the above - busy, lazy, lost interest, evolved. Good to have such friends and folks around you who understand and accept as you are. Haha i had an awesome weekend by the way Neha. Will tell you over chat.

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  2. Bindu, my take here on what you have quite forcefully confessed, the emotional harassment you are bombarded with by self proclaimed puritans.
    Don't grow up as the world defines"growth". Instead, rather age gracefully.
    I can see that these prudish idiots are trying to sow seeds of self doubt in you. Forget about them with the coffee you have with them.

    You are on the right track . What if one dose not have kids? Try to be different from the rest about what family life is, to love pets, to see places and people you have not set foot upon and seen, to be grossly unconventional to the discomfiture of these Prudes are all part of growing up and ageing .
    If they cant see that let them jump into the ocean.
    Remember the Robert Frost Poem!

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    Replies
    1. Anil,

      Yes, initially it was difficult but now I accept that I cant change people. Its waste of time and Ive learnt to handle these things better.

      The conventional way of thinking and growing up seems to be the "right" way according to these folks; cant change their opinion. Haha, let them jump into the ocean! I am laughing here :-D

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  3. I am in that phase when everyone I know are having a baby, save for one or two who are like me... and we discuss on how difficult it is to find a friend to even spend a weekend with, just travelling and eating. But why should we follow the crowd. Although I sometimes do complain to my husband that I need a girlfriend ;) As long as life is kind and we fulfil our dreams why even bother :) I missed wishing you on your birthday so here's wishing you many exciting travels and adventure.

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    1. Rajlakshmi,

      Yeah, it does get a bit difficult to find friends to share same hobbies and past times once they get on with other priorities and our circle narrows. And very true; as long as life is kind and we are happy; why worry.

      Thank you for your wishes Rajlakshmi :)

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  4. DO what you think is RIGHT for you.. is the MOTTO I follow these days after years and years of emotional abuse.. by well wishers and other not so good wishers :)

    I have reached a stage where things dont bother me anymore (ok not 100% maybe :) ) .. I dont understand why people are so very interested in My life.. I never knew I am such a celebrity :)

    the best thing that happened was I changed my house phone number and mobile number and NO ONE HAS IT .. especially in India apart from a few close friends WHAT A RELIEF it is .. I dont call anyone so dont have to listen.. I only make one phone call to my mom when she is in india Thats it .. I listen what she has to say and once the phone is put down I forget it :) :) I know very mean of me but I am least interested in all the damn politics ...

    I am much happier I think now dont have much time to brood over stupid things, life as such has its own problems to bring in more is suicide I feel ..

    Thankfully i have some beautiful human beings like you who only care and thats how it should be :)

    and I missed your birthday DAMnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn I am sorry :( :( Many many happy returns of the dayyyyyy and wish a very happy belated birthday ..

    Bikram's

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    Replies
    1. Oh Boy .. that is almost a post :) :) :) :)

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    2. Ha Bik yeah in a line; what matters is your happiness, yeah we learn the hard way :)

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