Monday, February 4, 2013

Milestone Mania

Anybody who does anything has a reason for doing so.

When a whole lot of people do the same thing, the reason for doing it is greater.

But when almost the whole humanity does something and insists on the wayward few to follow them, I am assuming they have a darned good reason for doing so.

They have set these milestones. Meant for each and everyone of us to cross.
Life Events as we all call them.

Get basic education.
Make friends.
Work for a living.
Get married.
Take care of the elderly.
Have children.
Build/buy a house.
Get your children married.
Retire.
Have grandchildren.
Spiritual pursuits.

I always wondered if they were imposed upon people more for its disciplinarian value than for the want of it. Some of us who are perilously close to not following them are deemed the black sheep. And all the black sheep have a federation. Federation of the defecting few.

I know for a fact that I haven't fulfilled quite many of the milestones myself.

However I keep wondering why are they followed by so many? Why is one's life on the proverbial 'golden run' if one does manage to do it all? Why aren't exceptions humoured?

I think I am slowly beginning to understand why is it so.

When I studied, I learnt a little about myself.
When I made friends, I learnt a little more about myself in the process of keeping those friendships.
When I worked for a living, I discovered potential I never thought I had.
When I got married, I saw a person resembling myself become better at keeping relationships.
When I took care of the elderly, I realised I will be a senior someday too. It made me more sensitive.
I see friends who have children. They have grown to be more tolerant and understanding than they were ten years back. They are now blessed with parental instincts.
I saw someone build a house, they grew more worldly wise than they thought they were.
A friend got her daughter married. She can manage any event now.
I saw dad retire. He learnt to let go. 
I see grandparents. They learn to love without being paranoid.
I see the spiritually inclined, they know the secrets they have been chasing all their lives.

All these milestones seem nothing but a full run of the obstacle course where you learn to excel as an individual and discover things about yourself which otherwise would have no reason to surface. You achieve a milestone and you are happy with what it gives you. You miss one, you move on to the next. It is just a no-nonsense survival guide to self-discovery.

The neurotic defending if you miss one of the steps or a vulgar victory dance when you achieve one are the reasons these milestones seem tainted. It isn't a maniacal race. It is simply a cross-country treasure hunt which keeps making you stronger at every step by bringing forth a brand new aspect of you which you never thought existed.

10 comments:

  1. Kharach sundar, Vandana!. I am sharing this post of yours with my other friends

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  2. dhanyavaad shriraj :) it is something that I felt strongly about.

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  3. "It isn't a maniacal race" - So very true, Vandana. Loved this post!

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  4. Hi Manju. Thanks for the read and feedback. One thing leads to another, just like a treasure hunt. But the milestone mania spoils it. Glad you liked the post.

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  5. Ok I have a question here... Suppose you are young and passionate about everything you do. Now you get yourself into a situation where you just have to let go of a very dear possession (read a man/woman). And you know very well that once you let go, s/he will be gone forever. Then would you be able to remain so broad-minded as to not feel neurotic about the loss?

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  6. I have seen that you don't remain broad-minded. You become mean and vindictive and very apprehensive about trusting people. There is a surge of emotion which looks like it will last forever. Very strong feelings that refuse to mellow down. But as the time passes and you come across more good than evil you start loosening up. As more time passes and you meet new people, new memories are formed and the old ones start fading. If this happens more than once (letting go of a loved one), you start recognizing the short shelf life of those strong feelings. It helps you in letting go faster. More often than not, you will come across situations and people who will help you retain a forgiving outlook.

    This is just a personal view based on experiences pertaining to the things that you mentioned.

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    1. Well, I see from an extreme point of view. Why can't we retain those strong feelings forever, especially when nearly everyone does the same for parents/siblings?

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  7. I don't know the answer to that. But my guess is, with siblings/parents it is unconditional. You like it or not, they return it or not, they don't stop being your parents or siblings one fine day until you consciously decide to move away.

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