One embarrassing question punches me in an unkindly knock when I find myself at a social gathering, “Isn’t difficult living alone the entire time, now retired, how many ways you have to spin around to spend time”? Most of my friend’s concern based upon the heresy that “Life doesn’t sound as charming, as agreeable as one would like when left like a solitary soul at the age notching up sixty.” The context of my friends’ worry was that “I was all by myself after my wife’s death two years ago.”
Looking at my secluded posturing, ‘Are you in any ways minding out for with peace and happiness,’ I supposed was my friend’s predicament.
No matter the worry of the vacant days and empty spaces I linger with most of the time; I never bothered about a fact that the daily minutes and hours probably, ticked and tinted with anxiety and boredom.
Emotional reins well in control I prepared myself to a disciplined routine finding rhythm linking two concerns in mind – happiness and self-contentment. I would allow the morning’s sounds to bring in the excitement to help steer the day with ease and calmness good enough to contribute to stay fit – mentally and physically. It gave a blessed feeling of well-being of the time I spent absorbed in what possesses me most – reading and writing.
It’s in the mornings as soon as I wake up. I hope to get into the best moments of the day. Anything that could draw a bright smile, like recollecting a few intimate chats my daughter spoke over the phone, ‘daddy how you are doing.’ Again it’s whistling of my heart while flipping the pictures of beaming young faces of the three grandkids just arrived at my smartphone. A well-written paragraph drafted the previous day – it could be anything. Like a bouncy incentive-driving me to accomplish something difficult and satisfying.
I’ll balance all the right choices to make better benefits happen, those pre-appointed, self-directed tasks. Daily, I spend about ten hours, with all my grit, reading and writing, and I’m aware it’s not as pleasant as many might assume. It’s too taxing on mental apparatus and adjusting to monastic self-discipline, I’m afraid, seemed no easy task. And at the end of the day, I insist, I must taste a smile on my face. This is my definition of the challenge of living looking for small opportunities to expand myself, sharpen myself, and hence deciding to get a grip of the way I selected to live. At the end of the day, whatever my honest intentions, I’m very well aware that like all journeys; it’s simply one step at a time.
I don’t know the state in which I involve myself, spent time in those activities that allow me to stay in my element, help float at a high level of satisfaction. But, I never rated myself as a ‘busy person’ – the unhealthy word often misused and misunderstood by many.
Coming to harp on the fancy of busyness, very often I hear from a good deal of people, “I’m tired, I’m confused, and I don’t know why I’m rushing.” Hardly have I heard them say, ‘I’m happy.’ Usually, their conversations filled with words like, “waste of time, a useless meeting, senseless arguments and we never got any leisure,” And I believe they never had in their expectations to ask for insurance of well-being.
Thankfully, I never got caught on this frustrating treadmill of ‘I’m the busy attitude.’ I had helped myself to find ways of appreciating the subtle values of life and time -the intricate demands of family matters. I’m never in a hurry. Every day I emotionally set myself to see the vigor and spirits are always at a happy high. And favored what I deemed healthy for body and soul and never allowed the temporary urgencies to rob my life’s usefulness and leisureliness. I pursued the notion – take care of the time, it will care for your peace – as daily mantra and perhaps, this, till today is my greatest strength.
A year ago, one of my friend, a bank manager, died in a freak accident. He was traveling in a train past midnight. He was tired and slept and missed the station he must get off. Suddenly awoke and realized he was past his destination. Panicked he jumped out of the train, at a point, as it slowed down while passing through a station. His head took the hit and died instantly.
Perhaps, terrified that he may fail to catch the meeting or worried the delay meant neglecting his responsibilities. Or he got worried about what others might assume evasion of duty. Whatever, the beast of foolishness took over; he panicked and perhaps couldn’t stay calm enough to let it go. In a fatal sense of hastiness, he threw caution to winds. Regretfully, he paid with his life.
Many of whom I know, like my friend, would pack their lives with a mass of pointless details, the bulk of schedules, and a collection of meetings. They styled themselves into slaves of the diabolic notion of busyness.
I’m eager to attest a meaningful value I have adopted. I strongly and gracefully vow that I have endured the cruelest blows in my life. Because when I was as young as thirty, I took to heart the supreme values of leading a happy life are as important as becoming devoted to our work habitat. Though I’m a sincere teacher and administrator, I carved out space for myself along with my wife to allow for the blessed interests like music, literature, spirituality and sharing the relish of social activities.
Obliviously, everyone understood when I said, in many of my seminars to the staff and parents of our school, “Our life’s frame is compact and limited, infuse a broad smile of pleasantness in it.” Thus arts, music, and leisure became embedded as part of my lifestyle.
Adjusting to death of my father when I was thirty hadn’t created much a psychological havoc as many suspected it would. The reason possibly maybe, I’m young, spiritedly courageous, and dynamic with ideas brimming and a lovely wife beside me and two charming kids – formed a good wall of emotional strength that whatever the hardships bowled at me I could easily confront them.
I’m in a strange predicament today.
I will be sixty in a year, and sudden death of my wife had put me in a quaint borderline world. Far from seeking freedom of peace, I’m confronted with an unusual topsy-turvydom. I’m neither too old to call myself a retiree nor young enough to plunge into inventive ventures actively. In either way, I’m found frozen on tracks of my wayfaring adventurism.
“Do I regret what I’m going through”? Not a bit of it. I’m not allowing my past to ruin my state of living.
Good friends to bank upon in trust, inspiring books to savor, a home revealing a quiet sense of rest, tucked in sweet vibrations of music and swinging melodies. I’m a man seeking calm days and relaxingly heartbeat. And I never complained and stopped bothering about bad mouths blabbering, and I know they never cared for me. I’m always upbeat and felt better investing myself in fruitful plans.
Looking back, I can sum up my life’s philosophy like this. “I have chosen from many possibilities before me to create the best school. That was my only goal. For twenty-five years, I had worked patiently, giving the best I could give. Though I’m young, confused, and afraid. Every moment my goal was close to my heart, and I loved every bit of it. In the end, I only remember I stuck to my purpose though it means a thousand storms and fires within and as well as from without. Perhaps, to me, it’s more like; I tried, experimented, struggled, failed, and fooled. Today, I lay back with a smile, enjoying my retreat; tenderly close shut the pages of my past and echoes of wonderful memories of my wife.
Today I see myself, after all these years, evidence of an emotionally strong soul which is creatively tanned and refined and ready. I’m in my working mode every minute, quite consciously, creating vibrant and meaningful days for me. I believe the prolonged stress has brought out the best in me.