During Diwali cleaning, I found my school slam book. As I flipped through my entries, I realized how diverse my interests were. The column “best friend” had a long list of friends in my group, “movies” included my favorites & probably the favorites of my sisters, friends…hehe. Same was the case music, books, colors and other things. And now, things are so different. Coffee means my hubby’s special whipped to perfection, tea means only ginger tea and I would rather stay hungry than eat pizza without corn.
Do we become selective with age? I wondered. True. And to reinforce this, I probed my 13yr old niece & her friends. To my surprise, they all sounded like I did in my teens. Every answer was carefully crafted with the most happening, chic and cool options. To them, more meant cool, and a way of showing how much they were aware of the “happening” things. I asked my niece “who’s your best friend?” “Alia, Neeti, Neha, Dhruv, Mayank…. She just went on and on.” They don’t teach good grammar at school, I thought. “Beta, best means one THE best, the one you like the most”, I said. “Oh masi, I love my entire group! We hang out a lot, look so cool together and are so happening. The entire school is so J (jealous) of our gang”. It is only when I asked her who would she confide in if she had a breakup that she came up with one name. Just like I had so many favorites mentioned in that slam book years ago, my niece had so many answers when it came to movies, books, hobbies and music.” I will ask these questions again after 10 years baby,” I told her as I left.
But why do we become so selective with time? When we are young, we want to show off how cool we are, want to be the best, and so whenever asked to make choices, rather than thinking what we like, we think what will make others think we're cool. As we get into the rut of life, we realize the most precious thing is our own happiness; our “ME” time and learn to value quality more than quantity.
The same me who loved to be seen with the biggest gang of friends in school, now prefer few but true friends, who I can trust. Instead of piling calories for the sake of others, I now prefer to focus on wholesome, well prepared, healthy food that will make me feel good. I would rather celebrate occasions with people I care for than with big group of people who don’t know the real me. If I have to spend 3 hrs on a movie, I would rather watch the genre I love rather than going for the most popular one. Instead of stocking my closet with anything and everything coming my way, I now shop for clothes I feel will really suit my persona & have learnt to discard the old ones. I have now realized the relevance of letting go of what no longer suits me, have learnt to focus on the things I really like, prioritize my time who I can count upon and the most sought after “me” time.
Most importantly, I have learnt to communicate my preferences without the fear of rejection. Maslow rightly placed affiliation needs at the top of his need hierarchy pyramid. And often we don’t communicate our choices fearing the reaction from others. If we learn to put our foot down, speak openly what we like and what we don’t, give our true opinions rather than being populist, believe me, it will give tremendous boost to our happiness quotient. It will also earn us true friends and well wishers who know and value the real us. Quality and not quantity is the key.
“Hmmm…wisdom”, I said to which my mother in law laughed and said “wait another 10 yrs & every choice by default will be tweaked to match that of your kids”.
|Miles to go before I sleep...|