Ever 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.
GROWING OLDER IS MANDATORY, GROWING UP IS OPTIONAL
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!