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Quarter Down

I have never been one who shies from age. To me, age has always implied character, experience, respect. I always wanted to grow older; to be more knowledgeable about the world and everything therein and be respected for it. I, therefore, do not lament at getting older as some people do. At the same time, I have not been one who would indulge in unreasonable celebrations on getting older. I generally don’t celebrate occasions because I believe in celebrating life. Everyday. What then should a Birthday imply? As someone who dislikes the notion of attributing value to given days, I would say: Nothing special, but I would be lying. But over the time I have begun to look at it as a checkpoint; a review milestone to be used for taking stock and future planning.

According to Sanatan scriptures, the life of a man was divided into four quarters of 25 years each: Bramhacharya, Grihastha, Vaanaprastha and Sanyaas. The age of 25 also marked the end of the first ashram of life: Bramhacharya and beginning of the next quarter: Grihastha. Bramhacharya was supposed to be for learning and I think I have done my due in that section. I don’t know how well or bad I have fared at it, but that is perhaps not for me to judge or be concerned about. Karmanyevaadhikaaraste, Maa Phaleshu Kadachana… (Do your Karma, don’t worry about the results; a quote from The Gita). Grihastha should be about the application of those learnings into life. It should be about making myself a better man by continuing to learn. And making the lives of people around me better through these two.

  1. The first thing this year has to be about, is better health. There is nothing that is more important to invest in, than good health. Youth is forgetful as well as forgiving, but age is neither… reckless treatment of the body, therefore, needs to end. No more binges. Regular runs. Gym. Tennis. Swimming.
  2. Greater tolerance is the next thing. I have an utter intolerance for people who are not like me. And intolerance breeds contempt, which in turn breeds anger; and anger turns a rational brain into an irrational machine. To be fair, it has reduced considerably in the last five years, but there’s much work to be done.
  3. I also need to teach myself more Discipline. Which in other words can be read as: Develop greater respect for time. It can also be read as: Don’t give into temptations. I have been disregarding both these interpretations and it is time to change that. I don’t know if this will change anything, but I will do so nonetheless.

Getting started on these should be just fine for the first year of Grihastha-ashram.There are a million other things I can add here; for, to me, life is a never-ending class. So I’ll just continue doing my thing and making mistakes and learning. But I would rather take it all one step at a time, instead of trying for everything all at once. The overall gist for the path ahead remains the same: I will strive to be as good as I think I am. I will strive to be as good as everyone (who knows me) believes me to be. I will strive to be as good as men are meant to be and can be. And that all of these words should distill to: “I’m just getting started.”

Au revoir.

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