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This is it !! I’m here ......... finally !! ;-)
Are you wondering what this is all about ?
Well, I turned forty today. I’m stepping into a whole new decade in my life.
Over the past few days, quite a number of people have asked me how it feels to be turning forty soon. They set the ball rolling and my thought processes too. I’ve been thinking about how it feels to be turning forty. Believe it or not, it does not feel any different. As far as days go, this is yet another day. As far as birthdays go, this is yet another birthday. As far as milestones go, this is yet another milestone. But there is nothing that screams out aloud saying “Hey – You are all of forty.” For one, I’ve never been good with Maths :D so yes, this is just another number to me. Nothing more, nothing less.
Life, so far, has been a very interesting journey. It has been a very satisfactory journey, a very equitable one. And I’m pretty sure that what lies ahead is going to be equally interesting, if not more ;-).
Life, I’ve realized, is nothing but a journey – ones own very personal journey. This journey sometimes takes you in circles, it sometimes is a very straight path with your destination right ahead. This journey, at times, takes you along roads that are bumpy enough to rattle you and at other times, it takes you along roads that seem to be like some of the major freeways of the world. This journey sometimes gets one stuck in a rut and encompasses one with the feeling that this is what it is meant to be like for the rest of ones life. This very same journey makes life feel like a trampoline on some other days.
I’ve realized that this journey of life brings about an awareness in each and every living being, at some point of time or the other. And awareness, I would say, is where it all begins. With awareness, comes the need to change. Be it a change in our attitudes, a change in our feelings, a change in our perspective. With awareness, comes a feeling of freedom. A freedom of choice, as we realize that it is up to us to make ourselves happy by focussing on the positives and making the best of every situation. And yes, this does come with age.
I’ve realized that the maturity which consistently sets in with age goes a long way in eroding and blanketing the brashness of youth. Looking back, I can remember vivid instances a couple of decades back when I barely had any control over my temper. It was my temper which used to control me. Over a period of time, over these past couple of decades, I’ve become aware of the fact that somewhere along the way, that equation has indeed changed. I do honestly feel that it has helped me metamorphose for the better.
I’ve realized that with maturity comes humility. Humility, which is such an important component in life. Youth often confuses humility with timidity. Once upon a time, I did too. But like I said earlier, life does teach you a thing or two. And this was one very important lesson that life imparted me too. Once upon a time, the brashness of my youth would have said “humility is nothing but debasing yourself”. Over the years, life has taught me that humility is nothing other than maintaining our own pride about who we are, what we are and what we’ve achieved in life – maintaining that sense of pride without arrogance, without conceit, without a feeling of superiority.
A decade back, what people thought about me or would think about me did mean a lot to me. I now realize that it is no longer the case. Somewhere along the way, I’ve realized that I’m no longer concerned about what people think of me or say or talk about me. As long as my conscience is clear at the end of the day, I’m at peace with myself and the world around me.
If there’s one thing I’d made a pact with myself on, it is this. Many years back, I’d promised myself that if there was one thing I would do, it would be to age with grace. I’ve never felt more strongly about that than I do now. And this feeling gets stronger by the day.
I do notice those little crinkles around my mouth and my eyes. Each and every time I notice one of those wrinkles, I remember to thank God Almighty. I remember to thank Him, for, those wrinkles remind me of the times when life has made me laugh. They remind me of times when I’ve had the sheer luxury of laughter, for, life has indeed taught me that there are many in this world who do not have that luxury . Those little wrinkles – yes, they are my laugh lines and yes, I carry them around with pride.
I do notice many more strands of silver in my hair. Each and every time I notice one of those grey hairs, I remember to thank God. I remember to thank Him, for those strands of silver in my hair remind me of little children playing hide and seek. A strand of silver peeks through the black hairs and with a tinkle of laughter says “Hey ! Here I am” :-). I do carry my grey hair around with pride, for I’ve earned each and every one of them. They remind me of times that I’ve spent worrying. Worrying about the children, worrying about loved ones, the family or the world in general. Worry that has stemmed out of caring. I would like to think of those grey hairs as a gift that life has chosen to award me, a symbol of having “lived and loved”.
I do notice that I seem to be forgetting a lot more nowadays. Senility, I guess :-)) But then again, a person like me does not have to age to grow senile. I’m a person who was born senile. Jokes aside, If I am indeed growing senile, I’d still remember to thank God, for it only means that He has given me so many rich, colorful memories to hold, to embrace and to cling to. Probably, in all that tussle for space inside my head, a few things get knocked out of the picture :-)
I have a beautiful family who mean the world to me and then some, I am in a profession that I care deeply about and enjoy thoroughly, I have a whole bunch of friends all over the globe who care about me, irrespective of the fact that we live far away from each other and there have been a lot of old friends I’ve reconnected with over the past couple of years. There have been numerous instances in my life when I’ve felt His hand on my head. In some way or the other, He’s made his presence felt. What more can I ask for ?
Truth be told, as I leave my thirties behind and step into my forties, I find myself feeling much more confident and much more at peace – with myself, with the people around me, with the world in general – than I did a decade ago, when I left my twenties behind and stepped into my thirties.
W.B.Pitkin once said “Life begins at forty”.
I’d say “Amen to that. Bring on the forties.”
I’ve never been more ready ! :-)