September 22, 2016 § Leave a comment
“I want to be old.” This thought having crossed my mind felt so alien to me that I had to see what gave birth to it. I was sitting at a public place and quietly observing everyone when there arrived two professors who must be aged somewhere between 55 and 60. They came, sat and were having a conversation. Something about their demeanor, physical movements, way of having a conversation was appealing. They were what is called ‘being relaxed’. Everything about them was ‘chilled out’. This made me think “I want to be old.” The feeling of being this reposed and calm was what I wanted. This was enhanced by the fact that at same place there were many more people, all of them of the same age as mine. The difference in the general style of behavior was too obvious to be missed.
As soon as I wanted to be old and so relaxed, I wondered why is it that I find only the old people being this calm and not someone of my age? Why is it that a person reaches this state only when he or she is no more young and when the body is not going to support as it did? Why is it that people reach this state only by compromising on their age and health? I see no one of our age being pacific. What is stopping us from being this way?
What is it about old age that brings this state of mind? After a little thought what I came to understand was that age is not the factor here. It is the experiences and the situation a person is in during old age. Old age means having fulfilled all the responsibilities, duties and faced all pressures that one has to or is made to undertake. Since that takes 50 odd years of one’s life to complete and get over with hence true relaxation and peace comes only after 50 years. This implies that the tasks that is imposed on a person to be completed are the ones leading to delayed attainment of peace that too so late into life that one cannot even sufficiently delve into it without the body deteriorating itself.
There are only 2 phases of life when one truly feels serene-childhood and old age. Both are such phases where a person is not capable of doing anything with such peace. The only time when a person has the energy and enthusiasm to take action is during teens and middle age. But that phase is reserved by the people around them( or society) to impose certain tasks which are far from their natural state of being. Being forced with a certain set of responsibilities is not a person’s natural state of existence. There are two thoughts behind this-
1. Either a person is offered with a choice of taking those responsibilities. If that is the case then it is a matter of preference.
2. Or a person in forced to take up those responsibilities by stating them to be innate.
Now if the case were latter then why is it that a person is truly tranquil after he or she gets rid of those tasks? Any activity which is natural to a person’s existence or survival is not burden causing or tension-giving. Then why does one talk of attaining real peace only after one is done with these tasks, roles or responsibilities that one is forced to take in the name of necessity. Since when did anything other than living become a necessity. If a person undertakes a role or task out of choice, then it becomes a source of satisfaction and pleasure, not a consistent burden or a task to be completed and then taken a retirement after its fulfillment.
It is both funny and upsetting to see people being truly ‘relaxed and peaceful’ ( true words) after they are over with their set of duties and responsibilities but imposing exactly the same criteria and set of things-to-do on their children. If there wasn’t true happiness or calmness when they were doing those activities or fitting into roles which weren’t either natural to them or being chosen by them , then why is the same set of activities being imposed on the generation to follow. ‘Living with the society’ is usually given as an answer to this question.
What if the society is wrong?
What if people were never right?
What if initially,humanity took a wrong turn ?