Time affects everything and everyone
We all grow up. After college, friends go places, to different states and far away countries. You get less and less time. Some go for higher studies, again, in other states. Parents get older. Then friends start getting married. First it’s usually the girls. One by one, your crushes tie the knot. You dismiss it, you are still young. Then your guy friends start getting married too. Your circle shrinks. In the end you look around. All you are left with are ideological nutjobs, immature imbeciles, idealistic crazies, bohemian hippies, or other misfits. Do you really belong here?
Okay, that was too harsh. But you think. You say to yourself, ‘dil to baccha hai jee’.
Okay, fair enough.
Then, you see a growing pot belly. Something you always despised. Your dad had one (he still does). After taking a shower, you look at the mirror. You are losing hair. You search on Amazon for hair growing products - it is too much of a hassle. Hair transplant is far too expensive and does not even stay. Besides, accepting the fact that you need hair transplant ITSELF is problematic. You are still too young to need that, right?
Relatives probe, ‘Son, now is a good time to settle down!’. They know nothing. Right? Just another boomer with unsolicited advice. We know better. Right?
Your friends even hint the same question though. ‘Did you get a girlfriend?’, ‘What’s up’ followed by a long pause. If you explain about mundane things in life, they push it further, ‘Okay, but what about ... you know?’ And they smile with a question mark on their face.
You smile back. You can’t even cancel this person like you did with the boomer.
Being pushed to ‘settle down’ is a relatively minor side effect of getting older. Getting a better job, getting married - these types of ‘suggestions’ are still external. They come from others. Or, you yourself get influenced by others’ families, kids, jobs etc. These are relatively easier to deal with.
Challenges that are personal
The personal implications are far more difficult to accept and embrace.
Remember, when you used to play cricket and the ball broke the neighbor’s window?
What happened after that?
Well, the poor sod complained to my dad and my dad paid him some money to offset his loss. My takeaway - play carefully.
It was cheap. It was easy.
From issues in communication to failure in doing things on time, there is no one else but myself to take the blame, to take the responsibility.
This realization is hard. You can postpone your acceptance and still genuinely make mistakes (without making proper amends).
But this time, a Rs 500 bill will not fix it.
You will lose friends, lovers, children. You will lose your peace, you may lose everything that you hold dear.
The only solution?
Accept that you are an adult. And take responsibility for your actions.
Hiding behind a facade of a ‘forever teen’ manchild is easy. But it sure is not rewarding.
So yeah, I am middle aged. I am happy, I am hard working and I am a decent person. But I am not a child.
Sure, I may make mistakes. I will try to fix things I can.
I will not drown myself in guilt over burnt bread (unless I knowingly do something evil) either.
But it is my moral and personal responsibility to make things right. Or at least try. And also even own up to genuine mistakes, even if (and especially when) I know that doing so will not fix everything. It may fix nothing.
But it still needs to be done. For the sake of the future generation I nurture or inspire. And for me too!
Because, that is the right thing to do. That is my swadharma as an adult. In time, you will need to find yours.