Saturday, May 18, 2019

Changing You, Changing Times

Time is a Dressmaker specializing in Alterations. 

“Growing Up” or “Growing Old” is a perpetual phase of our lives. Not just the physical old, I am talking about the mental-emotional part of us that is always evolving. Whether its growing old into decay or gaining wisdom is a matter of perspective. 

I remember how, one day (when I was probably 10 years old), I was playing my favorite game - cops and robbers with my school friends, oblivious as only a child's mind can be and then the next day surprisingly, I felt a subtle wave of "self" consciousness about even wanting to play such a childish game, which until the previous day was my favorite way to spend my playtime. 

It was the beginning of innocence lost. Video games had arrived in my life and I was no longer sure to be the cop with a toy gun chasing robbers. My ambitions had also changed overnight. I didn’t want to be Dirty “Clint Eastwood “ Harry anymore, I wanted to be the android “Bishop” from Aliens or at least a Cosmonaut aboard a USSR space ship. Don’t ask me why! 

I was "growing up." I found myself confused and emotionally afraid - one moment trying to find out who I was and who I should be and the next back in the playground squealing with my friends on the swing set and acting like a little "kid" again - then feeling the guilt of being found out - that someone would see me and think I was acting like a baby for wanting those simple, innocent pleasures of childhood, yet, I was unsure. 

Since that day, this “self” consciousness has been an unseen driver of my life – driving my needs, my wants, my likes and dislikes, my career and my ambitions too. All of us go through this phase, when for some unknown reason, the mind shifts into a formerly unknown gear that makes us "want" to be noticed... accepted... appreciated... at school, at the university, at work, with friends, with peers and also in the family, in a relationship, in a marriage… and we find ourselves shaping all that we do in order to "fit the mold" that is expected of us so we can be assured of being noticed... accepted... appreciated. 

This is a never-ending dilemma, something we face every single moment we live. And, of course, we all go through this... it is, after all, growing up. It is moving into another stage, in fits and starts, into maturity. 

We do this all our lives. But because we see ourselves in a certain way, we think we are always going to be the same. But we are never the same. Our "self" clings to whoever we are in a particular moment... but then each moment that "self" dies and a new "self" emerges. There is really no then and now and later... there is only now, ever flowing and ever-changing. We are not today who we were 10 years ago, or even yesterday, or even a moment past. It only seems to us that life changes suddenly, or that we go through "stages," because we are not aware of our moment to moment ever-flowing, ever-changing being. 

Sometimes, we try to cling to the current moment. We think that our lives should be this way or that way and once we determine what it is we think we should be or have in life, we cling to it; we desperately try to hold on to it but of course, we cannot, because every moment we are moving on through life. Like the funny quote, people change, love hurts, friends leave but life goes on.

This troubles us. We choose a goal and work towards it. Or we decide that our lives should be a certain way. We begin to resent the fact that our lives just keep moving on, and even though we work hard to get what we have decided we want, there are just too many interruptions from family, friends, job, responsibilities... and yet we cling to what we have imagined should be our lives... what we have decided we deserve. 

Why are we not our old selves? Why are we not the carefree child anymore? Why do we feel we have lost our capacity for pleasure or satisfaction? Why must we suddenly feel we have to choose between this and that? Could it be because we have convinced ourselves that in order to be carefree, we must be free from the stress and pressures and demands of work and family life? Have we decided we can’t reclaim our lives because we have to sacrifice so much of ourselves? 

The answer is so simple that we cannot see it. In fact, we are not 10 years old anymore. We have changed. Not because we are 30-something. We have simply and inexorably changed and will continue to change in whatever mental and emotional direction we choose. We cannot live in the past and regret.

Of course, you may not really care to be 10 years old again. But hey, if you want to play cops and robbers again, play cops and robbers. If you want to be Dirty Harry, be Dirty Harry. I know, it sounds silly, yet, you can still live your life the way you want, even in the new "changed" circumstances. Do whatever makes you happy instead of fighting time.

Life is not that bad and age is, after all, a number. Love your current "You" and remember, the world hates change (just as you probably hate too) but its what that has brought progress. Aint that the sweet truth?

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