Making Life Deliver Delight !
Sunday morning caught me uncoiling lazily in my bed, stretching the sleep out of my body and squinting against the sunshine streaming on the pillow. Choices had to be made- should I leave the safe zone of my comfortable quilts or uncover myself to the sunny reality slowly invading all corners of my bedroom ? Snuggling down deeper into the soft eiderdown I chose not to choose and decided to let my stresses of the week drain away slowly, until I heard my conscience calling loud and clear.
My conscience ? What was that ? Years after being a corporate citizen in an overly competitive world, I thought I had rid myself of it a long time ago ! My nearly four year old daughter it was indeed, standing firmly in its place instead, tugging at my eyelids and admonishing me in the most mature parent like voice she could manage “ Common Daddy, why are your sleeping ? It’s a beautiful day outside !"
One of the great joys of being a father is to be greeted by an angel in the morning and I reached out with both arms pulling her down and buried my face in her tummy making her squeal with delight and propping her upon my knees, enquired “So what does my sweetheart want to do today ?” That did it. The litany commenced “ I want to go out, I want to ride in a bus, I want to go in that plane, I want to go to the beach, I want to go to Goa, I want to go shopping, I want to go and play, I want to go to my friend’s house, I want to go to dance-school, I want to see that movie…” And she meant them all ! So began a day that as it progressed promised to burst at the seams, remarkably with more vigour and fun ending in an energy high that almost could not be run down ! Amazed aren’t you ? Well so was I, but I recalled my own youth and how much we did and lived in one day, each day at a time. Powerful lives lived at full stretch. The cup really did run over.
So why do we live within the cup of our lives, why not let it run over any more. We seem to be happy with living contained lives, within the sanctuary of safety, responsibilities, focus, rationality, reasonableness, moderation and therefore Mediocrity ! Perhaps without realizing it, we have slid down the greasy pole of achievement and success to a level of happy mediocrity where life seems to be assured and the peril of striving to stay at the top is swapped with the comforting lull of “consolidation”. Something like hanging up the wanderer’s backpack and parking your high-roads bike, for a log-house in a meadow and a stately sedan to carry the growing midriff of a “settled” life.
Seems interesting and the right thing to do at first, until you realize what you give up. We give up the spirit to explore our world, to savour the thrill that risk brings, the ability to live with less and still feel like a king, to give freely from what we have because there’s nothing to miss when its gone, to delight with the discoveries of new avenues of living, the experience of experimenting, the savage need to conquer, the untamed cry of the rebel against institutionalizing and corralling an exuberant life into straight-jacketed mellowness, no longer daring to dream but dreaming to dare, no longer at the cutting edge of a razor sharp life, but on the blunted butt of balanced sensibility.
After 18 years of driving a car with the four wheels of balance, I decided to buy myself a bike once again. An Enfield 350cc Thunderbird. Why ? Because I needed to feel the wind whip my hair again, the rain splatter against my face, to bend and twist my thickened torso once again as I weave in and out of traffic, around sharp curves and the thrill of the balance between machine and man! And the almost orgasmic joy of straddling the roar and throb of the powerful engine, extending an almost phallic fantasy of machismo. Pure adrenaline indeed ! Brief moments of it are enough to energise my day beyond belief.
The ageing adult reliving the fantasies of an adolescent , one may say, but that was when all the undiluted fun and the raw power of life lay !
Mating the maturity and assuredness of the sober adult with the reckless and fiery spirit of the unfettered child can be one of the most rejuvenating experiences in living life powerfully again. Because this time around we have more options and are more capable of unlocking sensitive doors skillfully rather than battering them down with the brute fore of unbridled and brash youth. We can love without letting lust intervene too early, live with risk rather than risk life, learn to unlearn and relearn instead of learning by rote, plan and do, rather than “plan to do” or only “do and undo”, acquire and give away, rather than snatch and hide, succeed and support instead of fail and flail , aspire and acknowledge achievement rather than compete and crush the competition, conquer and democratize rather than capture and dictate, build shining towers of shared success rather than colonies of mediocrity walled within the confines of meagerness.
Making life count and making a difference is the way to making life deliver delight. Powerful living is not a dream. It is an aspiration in action. Inscribe your own shining life-epitaph by crossing every point on the bucket-list you write with the blood of buoyant youth, the will of the achieving adult and the wisdom of the old.