I turned 35 last month (May 24, 2018) and it was a time of deep reflection for me. Typically, the days leading to my birthdays and after are the most thoughtful times of my year. So please forgive me if you can for writing about myself a lot lately.
Categories of adults
When I was younger, seeing grown-ups around gave me a blurry glimpse into my own future. The possible outcomes my life could resemble. From my 12-year-old boy perspective, there were 3 categories of adults. A category that was doing exceptionally well; everyone admired them and everything about them was perfect (or so I thought). I wanted to grow up to be just like them – perfect. There was also a second category that wasn’t doing badly either. But there was really nothing remarkable about them, although they were seemingly happy with their lives. And lastly, there were the losers – the grown-up version. I was quite certain that I did not want to be anything like them when I grew up.
Like a flash, Time has gone really quickly and now I can’t believe I’m already halfway to 70! It’s a really bizarre feeling. I am the adult I once judged.
I wonder which of the categories I belong to. Of course, I see the world differently now, and people too. After several years of experience and surprising myself with outcomes that I would like to be different, my method of people categorisation has slowly evolved. But I still wonder what category of adult the childhood me think I belong to now. Most importantly, I wonder what kind of adult I really am.
A jaundiced eye
Self-assessment has become quite hard. Things and people are no longer just black or white, good or bad. There are many shades of grey in-between and these grey things that are intricately woven into the very fibres of our lives are difficult to decipher. I have come to realise that, most times, what we see has nothing to do with the object, but everything to do with who is looking. Everything looks yellow to a jaundiced eye!
Maybe a little melancholic, but I particularly never feel motivated to celebrate my birthdays simply because they remind me of how much less time I have on earth with so much yet to be done. I see nothing to celebrate from the perspective of him whose life is slowly winding down with nothing of cosmic proportion to show for it. But isn’t that every human experience?
The balancing act
“There is a lot to be grateful for and celebrate,” says the loving voice of my wife who organised a surprise birthday party for me. And she’s probably right (She is, most of the time). As much as it’s okay to acknowledge that there is a lot more to be done, it won’t hurt to celebrate little wins here and there. Now, this is where I get preachy; and this time, mostly to myself.
The single most important change anyone can make in their life is to change how they think.
Changing the way we think sounds easy in theory, but really difficult in practice. Our thought process is created over the span of our lives. Therefore if you are a 35-year-old like me, it is 35 years more difficult to change the way you’ve always thought. It is true when they say ‘old habits die hard’.
When we change the way we think, we can change the way we see things. Needless to say, seeing things right is an important step for getting things right. There you go, the almighty treatment for the jaundiced eye!
You must view your life from a more holistic perspective. One that is not compressed into the single mould of a bad year, bad relationships or an unwanted position in life. In the end, success is never an outcome, but a process. Every single win or loss is an integral piece with a purpose in the grand design of our lives. Begin to see things for what they really are and enjoy the grand story that your life is telling. Enjoy your process.