The Stuff Life Is Made Of

Life is not a bed of roses is an oft-repeated adage that you get to hear from your elders and gradually realize its meaning, with advancing age and experience. In my initial days on planet earth, I used to boggle my mind over the statement as I could hardly decipher the meaning of this simplistic …
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Life is not a bed of roses is an oft-repeated adage that you get to hear from your elders and gradually realize its meaning, with advancing age and experience. In my initial days on planet earth, I used to boggle my mind over the statement as I could hardly decipher the meaning of this simplistic yet profound thought. Things change, perceptions change and with all this come the enlightening if roses we have, can the thorns be far away. But I must admit that this cavernous comprehension has not diminished the beauty that life offers in spite of the stickiness that abounds.

When each day is a new day, it brings along the freshness that wipes out the morose and malignant that seems to seize our senses. Life appears like a seesaw with our alternate shrieks of pleasure and pain. Staying high up from the ground zero and trying extra hard to hitch our wagon to the stars (both earthly and celestial); we somehow get oblivious of our fall that comes with a resounding thud. If we could get rid of excesses, the vicissitudes of life will not seem to be catastrophic which they otherwise do when we are obstinate and sullen, refusing to embrace the law of nature in the form of gravitational pull.

The sine qua non of a happy life is to change what we possibly can and to let go what we cannot in spite of our best and relentless efforts. The demarcation between the two is equally important. Usually we squander our energies in desperately trying to change which in completely unchangeable and at the same time give a blind eye to that which is crying hoarse for a change. We mistakenly confuse between the mutable and immutable.

The goalposts also need to be moved from time to time, keeping in mind the constraints and restraints that stare us in the face. Stiffness can cause staleness. It is better to maintain a flexible position with an open-ended approach that keeps us close rather than closed.

Moreover, it is crucial to living in unison with our own selves. Inner harmony through internal dialogue is possible only when we have a relaxed attitude that gives enough leeway to our shortcomings. Punishing schedules and mounting ambitions should not be allowed to take the steam off our sails. If we want to sail smooth, we need to be forgiving rather than overbearing. Being mild-mannered helps us in reaping a rich harvest of interpersonal relationships. Inane ideas can be misleading. Shedding our behavioural angularities, we need to appreciate life as it comes. Rather than being grumpy and garrulous if we invest our time and stamina in finding out the solutions to our problems within, life will sure be livable in its entirety.

In the same vein, we need to lap up life’s surprises. There are innumerable occasions when we are caught napping, unable to identify and appreciate the measly joys that come stealthily and try hard to turn our bitterness into breeziness. Simple joys are inexpensive. The only thing they demand is the appreciative glance that helps us take a steady note of their powerful existence in our life. The same is true with the sudden setbacks that visit us unannounced. If we rationalize them scientifically sans all wishy-washy excuses, conjectures and innuendos, we are able to face them squarely and heroically.

Mesmerized and awed by the massive goals that we set, we don’t allow the little things to touch upon us and tickle us in between our maddening pursuits. Undivided attention to the set targets is good but to be totally soaked and consumed in the goal-achievement process can be gruelling and grave. For a goal once realized loses its significance because there is yet another waiting in line to replace it. That said, it is unarguably sane to keep ourselves grounded and attuned to the ever-changing nature of things. It is good to lie on the bed that we make. The accompanying thorns are not as prickly as they are accused of.

Dr Simmi Gurwara

About the author

Dr. Simmi Gurwara is Prof. and Head, Department of Professional Development (Humanities and Management) at Radha Govind Group of Institutions, Meerut, UP, India.

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