live it up fully…..

fireEver wondered what is the right age to start pursuing your passion? Well most people would say there isn’t such a  thing, that one can start whenever the desire is strong enough to consume your mind. That surely is an obvious answer, the actual fact being that so many of us have enough and more reasons to postpone forever.

Had an interesting discussion over the morning cuppa chai last weekend with my dear friend.  He is very fond of Urdu – the sweetness of the shayari, the mushairas enthrall him and the script quite intrigues him. However he hangs on to the view that it is too late to pick up and he isn’t so sure of being able to carry it off. Ruchi and I egged him on but we soon realised we were not going to be allowed to make much progress. How often people develop such an enormous amount of inertia to follow their desires and deny themselves the path of happiness. This is an absolute crime. The zest for living must be active during all stages of life. That helps us to stay positive and contented irrespective of our age, position or whatever else. I want to narrate a true story that sums up  the theme so well.


The first day of school our professor introduced himself and asked us to get to know someone we did not know already. I stood up and looked around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned to find a wrinkled old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being. ‘Hi handsome’ she said ‘my name is Rose. I’m eighty seven years old. Can I give you a hug?’ I laughed and responded enthusiastically and she gave me a giant squeeze.

‘Why are you in college at such a young innocent age’ I asked.  ‘I’m here to meet a rich husband, get married and have a couple of kids’ she joked. ‘No seriously,’ I asked curious to know her motivation to take on this challenge at her age. ‘ I always dreamt of having a college education and now I am getting one’ she told me. After the class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milk shake.

We became instant friends. Everyday for the next 3 months we would leave the class together and talk non-stop. I was always mesmerised listening to this time machine as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.  Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and revelled in all the attention that was being bestowed upon her from other students. She was living it up!

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I’ll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech she dropped her three by five cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarassed she leaned into the mocrophone and simply said

‘I’m sorry I am so jittery. I gave up beer for lent and this whiskey is killing me! I’ll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know.’ As we laughed, she cleared her throat and began

‘We do not stop playing because we are old, we grow old because we stop playing.  There are four secrets to staying young, being happy and achieving success :

– you have to laugh and find humour every day

– you’ve got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and do not even know it!

– there is a huge difference between growing older and growing up. If you lie in bed one full year and do nothing, you will add an year to your age. That does not take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up always by finding opportunity in change

– have no regrets. You won’t have regrets for what you do but for what you never did. The only people who fear death are those with regrets

At the end of the year Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago. One week after graduation she died peacefully in her sleep. Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it is never too late to be all you can possibly be.

Such a great story of so many learnings. I believe implementing the 4 lessons of Rose will surely lead to having  more friends, increased peace of mind, higher sense of satisfaction and greater happiness. Does it get any simpler!

Have a ROSY life!


13 thoughts on “live it up fully…..

  1. interesting read for sure but just a couple of questions……..if living life to the fullest invloved adventure and experimentation…..which in my opinion I believe it does, then how applicable would this scenario be to corporates and large MNC’s that usually invest in people who have spent most of their years performing the same routine day in and day out without having re-invented or experimented with “life” by trying out varied options and scenarios….even though they may or may not be related directly to the field but contribute in a persons “life” lessons/teachings whatever u may want to call it.

    Would you then not agree that a) living an “enriched” life entails having had various experiences? b) If not then the above scenario is either not practical c) if it is practical then the forces tht be at influential places need to change their way of thinking?

  2. Some very relavant points indeed. We have to be able to seperate the professional from the personal. Organisations are commercial establishments often driven by a profit motive. Depending upon the initiative taking capability of the individual, they permit varying degrees of innovation and experimentation.

    An earlier post of mine detailed the catalysts for change in organisations. These trends will only get accelerated and force companies to rethink their strategies and approach towards people and the working environment/methods. Companies that respond fast and early will be the beneficiaries of a far higher level of employee commitment and productivity. Such organisations will be vastly different and capture innovation, creativity, experimentation and employee energy.

    It is essential to figure out our own distinct individual identities. List down the “varied experiences” you desire and then surely go after them. The idea simply is to go for your most desired inner motivations. Otherwise you will regret not having attempted.

    A friend of mine practices tabla for an hour every day after work. No matter what time etc. Very relaxed at work, provides high quality output. One of the more lateral thinkers, he seems completely at peace with himself. He has learned to balance professional requirements with his personal passions in a very non-conflicting manner.

    If any job stifles our personal motivations for any reasonable length of time, consider if it is worth pursuing at all…..

  3. My views – “living it up” means “using the full A4 sheet to draw any picture”– psychologists often judge people with how much space they use to draw anything. It is not easy to define what full or complete means to an individual, however I mentioned in one of my post that doing something which you always wanted to do but you thought was difficult or didn’t have time to do, attempting the same can give us utmost satisfaction, fulfillment and happiness.

    Imagine a farmer who has to ensure that he ploughs the field, sows, irrigates and when the crop is ready, sell and buy food for family. Think of the railway crossing guard who has become old showing red and green light to all the passing trains, how about a truck driver whose job is just to drive, a soldier on the border and then an employee in an organization doing regular task of selling, marketing, human resources, etc. As Rajiv said, you have to separate personal and professional objectives, though both are inter-related. The more happy (we should raise the definition of happiness another time) you are with your personal and emotional life, you will give more to your professional work – perhaps be more enthusiastic, charged up, productive, creative, organized however mundane the task may be. I cannot ignore saying that more successful/satisfied we are at work, it would also lead us to spend quality time with family/friends and follow some of the unfulfilled dreams. Practically speaking, balance is really important. I agree with Rajiv, if nothing is working, then we need to re-think if we are at the right place of work or something terribly wrong in our personal life.

    We must have heard this million times from various authors and speakers “what would you do if you had a month to live”. It’s easier said than done, but just imagine if you had a year or few years to live, in reality our life will definitely change. The way I look at it, that we have one life and it is short and try to do something different in the given means and time. While I try to fulfill my dreams, build new dreams all the time, I also motivate my family/friends to do the same. I keep asking this question to myself – “when was the last time you did it for the time”.

  4. Rajiv,

    I was so happy to find your blog and read them. But what is more interesting is what happened last night (i found your blog this morning). My wife was working on her computer and i was cuddling with my younger son (6 years) in bed. And the conversation hovered around dreams. I asked him if he has dreams regularly and he said “lots paa and they are all story dreams”. I asked for a sample dream and it was so funny but impressive.

    After he finished narrating it, he asked me if i have dreams. And my answer was, “I dont think so. I used to have them when i was young, but these days I hardly have any”. His immediate response was, “Where did they disappear?” and i said, “probably they died”.

    This morning i found your blog by chance and when i read the 4 secrets of Rose and especially the 2nd one, i couldnt believe what I was reading. I wanted to immediately share this with you. Thanks for your contribution.

    1. Dreams are literally the anchor for our living, the real difference between existence and a life of vigour. How incomplete would we be if we had little or nothing to aspire for and create.

      And what better institution to learn from than your own child. They always say – child is the father of man!!


  5. Hi just thought i would tell you something.. This is twice now i’ve landed on your blog in the last 2 weeks looking for totally unrelated things. Strange or what?

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