THE UNSETTLING ‘SETTLING-DOWN’!
There are phases in life we have been excited about, there are stages we crib about, there are changes we don’t like, there are situations we hate, there is music that is bitter, there are goodbyes that hurt, there is weather we complain about, there are people we dislike. And then comes a phase where it stops mattering, a strange lull that neither shatters us nor builds us. This stage is where we don’t care. Perhaps, a stage where life gets a little too predictable, a little too well known to us, a little too less risky and suddenly the idea of ‘settling down’ is no more comfortable!
It’s strange, we work our whole life towards reaching a stage where we know all that’s future and being prepared for it. Those ambitions, those higher degrees, a little higher salary, a better ‘disposable income’ (Anyway you are gonna ‘dispose’ it!), numerous insurance policies, that house, those cars and then what? Whole of the student life with the feeling of “Just this exam and then life is ‘settled’”. And then the exams actually get over! Whole of life with the feeling, if I earned that much, I would shop every weekend and fill up my wardrobe. And then the wardrobe actually is filled and then you don’t really feel like shopping. Whole of the life with a feeling that one would end up alone. And then one gets someone for life and gets worried if the romance would be as it was before during more ‘unpredictable’ times. Whole of the life worrying if I did right in not saying yes and hurting so much. And then you realize that that ‘no’ was actually good for that someone. Whole of life worrying if you ever will have that city skyline view from your window while reading a novel and sipping a hot cup of coffee. And then that day arrives and you thought you will have only a good thing to say about it on the social media with that lovely sunset picture, while on the inside you kept thinking was that overrated? Did those websites which serve daily dosage of motivational and life-stirring-promise quotes on irresistible templates were just selling emotions? Whole of life complaining that there is so much left on our shoulders, so much that needs to get done. And then suddenly, all that is done. And instead of feeling lighter, you end up searching for the load!
Mid-life crisis hits hard I know, but this one is not that! This is way different. This is not where you feel you have accomplished so less, this is where you feel- All boxes checked, and so what?! This one is not imposed, this is chosen. We made it for ourselves and then we get saturated! We created the palace with the glass walls and then we are surprised that it suffocates us? Strange are the ways of the human head!
So much that happens over time! When did we ever love what was there in front of us? We had never romanticized the classes and exams when they happened and now evenings go by remembering the beautiful time it was and how much we can give to get it back for one moment. Cribbing about that first ‘stupid’ boss was fun only till we had friends, not co-workers. It’s no more fun when you start pitying your boss. It’s no more fun when there aren’t any professors you can enact and laugh off. It’s no more fun when you thank them over emails. It’s no more fun when the most sarcastic and funniest of your friends have reduced to “How have you been? – It’s going on!” It’s scary when it’s ‘going-on’. It’s damn scary when you know that you are caught in a cycle of life that is going to be more or less be as it is planned for a mass of people. Breaking free is something I have always talked about but this time, I am clueless of what is holding me back. What do I break free from?
I guess in life, it’s like crossing the Rubicon. Once you ‘settle down’ there is so less that you want to change and yet hope to. The key perhaps is to not let the calmness become numbness. This age is dangerous - Too much of maturity is expected out of us. It’s important to ensure that this maturity doesn’t kill the child within. It’s important to climb up the roof and get drenched in the first rain, it’s important to still make those paper boats, it’s important to scream out, it’s important to know that “I am fine” is not the only answer to “Are you okay?”, it’s important to know that a next professional ambition is not going to fulfill you, it’s important to sing – however your voice sounds to others, it’s important to jump around on way back from office and not look at the on-lookers, I know you have to buy grocery, but it's important to make friends while you do that, it’s important to go sit with complete strangers if eating alone haunts you, it’s important to stammer in a child’s voice, it's important to wave your hands out from the car and look like a complete moron, it’s important once in a while to be that dumb person people blurt out laughing at, it’s important to not listen when someone talks you into “What will people say?”, it’s important to crack those stupid childhood time jokes and laugh on them yourself if no one else does. It's important to call those long lost idiot friends and talk to them till they are their normal self, it's important to spread the craziness because you don't wanna dance alone, find people who are ready to get embarrassed with you. It’s important to know that feeling of embarrassment is the reason enough to do it again and again and only when you lose the embarrassment, you grow further. It’s important to understand how complete you could be when you let the child and the adult in you walk together. It’s important to know that you are never too old.
Maturity is not in growing up only once. Life is too short to live childhood only once. That is only if you wish to live and not just keep it “going –on”. Even while I write this, I am not sure if the invisible chains are invincible too. But that’s only the adult in me. The child is already out on the streets looking at the beautiful pixie dust that the raindrops make as they touch the rusty old yellow street lights. The child is in love with life as it has always been. It’s time to shut-up the idiot that the adult is! It’s time to make some crazy stories that you could be proud of telling your grandchildren while your children are not listening! J