A Reason for Responsibility

This has been a trying week to say the least. I’m not going to bore you with details but to put it in simple words, every outfit I’ve worn in the past seven days stinks of hospitals and Critical Care Units. I have come to the realization that within every family dynamic there is one brave human that thinks with logic when the others succumb to emotions. It isn’t always the oldest or the strongest. It can be the grandfather, the mother, the daughter, anyone really. In my family, fortunately/unfortunately, it is me.

I say unfortunately because the older I get, the bigger the problems get and it is very difficult to put on a brave face when my emotions are begging to be let out. I say fortunately because when I do cry, I’d like to be left alone without someone constantly nagging me, telling me everything will be ok and this way, I get to go home, shut my door and cry peacefully.

We have all been told at some point “Take some responsibility.” So many of us have sat through hours of story-telling where our parents or grandparents explain how ‘when they were our age’ they used to do so much and the kids these days ‘are always beeping on that thing’. While some smart people understand the reason behind those words the very first time it is said, people like me have to go through certain bad experiences to realize it.

Type the words “parents growing old” on Google images and you will see this quote in 8 of 10 pictures :

“Love and appreciate your parents. We are so busy growing up that we often forget, they are also growing old.”

The reason a parent asks you to be responsible or to do things around the house is not because they want you to learn to do your chores or because they want to make sure you’re doing something. It’s simply because their ability to do everything is slow fading away. What they really need is your help and they don’t want to put it in those words. When a parent asks for help, we tend to get a little worried about why they cannot do something and they want to avoid that. Because what they understand that we don’t is that – Life, it is a circle. What your mother or father did for you as a child is exactly what they end up needing eventually. They try to put it off for as long as they can and let you lead a normal life.

I never saw it that way. I always believed my mother was trying to train me so she can get me married. That she was simply trying to get me off of my computer. She hates that I’m always on the internet.  My father wants me to do some work or the other. He never lets me do what I want. Always at his beck and call. Oh, they just cannot let me sit down for just a few minutes ! – All they were doing is asking for help but never putting it in quite those words. The inability to accept what was once a piece of cake was now starting to become very difficult. The feeling of not wanting to say it out loud.

Though they do this for our well-being and for our emotions, a lot of bad tags along with it. Either we never learn the reason for us to be responsible or it comes and lands on us like a ton of bricks. We suddenly realize that they’re old. They can no longer drive all night, eat what they want and have fun like they used to. The time spent laughing away and lifting you on their shoulders is now time spent eating tablets and struggling to do simple tasks around the house.

I know it is not an easy realization but the sooner we understand this, the better it is. The last thing we want to be doing is to sit around years from now and wish that maybe we’d noticed sooner. Maybe we’d helped more. Maybe we’d fought less. Maybe we’d laughed more. Maybe we’d told them how much we love them. Maybe they could still be here..

To every parent, everywhere.

With gratefulness and love.

 

 

Dreamers : The Chasers and The Catchers

Are you a dreamer? Neverland? Wall Street? Unrealistic? Realistic? Do you lose yourself in those dreams and curse anything and anyone that wakes you up from them? You’re not alone. Peter Pan and Neverland have been my biggest dreams. Unrealistic and stupid for a grown up, some would say. But what do they know?

My inspirations, my role models and the people I look up to have always had one thing in common – they dreamt a dream and they chased it. It doesn’t matter if they caught it or not. It matters that they tried. If you know me, if you’ve trusted me with your dream, you know at some point in your life, I’ve pushed you to go after it.  I’ve told you I’ll stand by you no matter what, as long as you’re trying to do something you love.

I was having a conversation with a man who looked to be in his 60’s, on an MRT, about dreams and he told me how his dream was to be an artist. He never pursued it. What kind of a career choice would that be? How would he provide for his wife and kids? “Don’t be an idiot that goes after silly things. Be smart. Have a secure future. Money in the bank, food on the plate. Nothing else matters,” he told me. Is that true? I think there’s more to life than money in the bank. What about waking up every morning and not wanting to whine about your shitty life? Imagine a life where you jump out of bed because you cannot wait to go live your life.. The racing heartbeat, the wide grin.. that feeling where you lose yourself while doing something you love that you forget the rest of the world? Imagine doing that everyday until you’ve had enough..

It’s never too early, it’s never too late. Dreams don’t care how old you are. Like I told him, “You don’t have to be 20 to chase your dreams. You can be 60 and still go join art school and pursue what you love.” And if for some reason your dream doesn’t work out, you can always go back to that secure future. In today’s world, age doesn’t matter. . You can be 49 and still start a secure life. But at least this time, you wont live your life wondering “What if..” You’ll know what happens. You’ll live with the satisfaction that you chased it, even if you didn’t catch it. And for all those who say “I can’t do what I want. It’s not what my parents/ spouse/ partner wants,” I’ve got ten words for you – People who love you will be happy that you’re happy.

So stop finding reasons. Stop finding excuses. Go dream a dream.. and chase it with all you’ve got. If you catch it, good for you.. If you don’t, it’s ok, there’s always the next one.. Just remember, you’ll never get there if you never try..