The Rich Vegetarian

An Examined Life

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Tag: self (page 1 of 2)

Turning 38

And that’s it… I am firmly ensconced in the late 30s.

How did it come to this so darned soon? When Mummy was 38, she had a 9-year-old and a 7-year-old. Two bright-eyed girls, straight black hair, serious and sincere and shy and outspoken (if that is even a legit combination). One of them is a successful professional, skilled and charming, cute and capable. She wins the hearts of almost everyone she meets.

The other? She is still wondering what she wants to be when she grows up.

Well, I have grown old without growing up. Or so it seems.

Wisdom doesn’t exactly announce its arrival. It kinda creeps into your life, hiding beneath silent conversations, endless ruminations, failed projects and relationships and tears and triumphs. You focus on the fireworks, not noticing that there is a solid line of grey developing within your core. Ahh, there it is.

Sometimes I feel like I am running (or walking) with a million things hanging off me. And it is a struggle, holding them all in, explaining their presence to others — half-emabarassed, half-proud.

Perhaps, 38 will be the age when I own all my belongings, no explanations or justifications needed.

This is it, this is me. Equal parts lost and found, curious and detached, imaginative and shy and introverted.

Happy and grateful for health, hair, bones, fire, hunger, love, food and everything else.

Letting go of it all

MeContrary to what people think, letting go isn’t a challenge. At least, not for everyone. Well, not for me. Au contraire, holding on is a definite challenge.

You are probably thinking I am crazy. But the truth is that you cannot be in a real relationship unless you can hold on. If you are adrift, then there is no relationship to speak of. (For those of you interested in Vedic astrology, I have planet Ketu in my ascendant sign, which may give some insight into this behavior.)

A friend once told me, not unkindly, “You only call when you have some work with me.” She said it in Hindi, and that sounded somewhat harsh. Of course, I took it terribly to heart, thinking that I had a problem. I couldn’t be a loyal friend, I was an opportunist, that I couldn’t be bothered with keeping up with friends.

The truth is that I have very few friends. I have wonderful relations with almost everyone I meet, and it is likely many consider me as a friend. But I see myself as a loner, a solo traveler. So, even if it might seem like you and I are awfully pally with each other, I think it is clear that I am less attached, even noncommittal.

I did commit to marriage, didn’t I? I am committed to a job, to being a responsible citizen. But ask anything more of me, and I will demur. I will most likely bow out. I will freeze.

Formerly, I thought this was a problem. Us human beings are so conditioned to be social beings, loyal to family and community and friends… you know all that. I think women are subject to this more so than men are.

Well, a wise woman told me that this was just who I was. I probably couldn’t change myself, even if I tried. I do wonder if this personality trait has kept me from having children. Ahh, well.

So, yes. I care about everyone in my life. I have no bitterness or resentment. But I do have a challenge being a good friend, as the definition goes. I have difficulty forming lasting attachments. C’est la vie, such is life.

Now this might seem like an advantage for folks who consider themselves spiritual-minded, who look at attachment as the root cause of sorrow, who wish to be free and detached. However, being adrift is no fun. It can possibly result in isolation, poverty, homelessness. Some sort of grounding helps. Marriage, career, children, etc. can provide that grounding. Of course, sometimes the grounding element becomes a constraint. It starts to bind you, restrict that freedom.

Finding the balance is bliss.

That girl from Xavier’s

Girl-Woman

Girl-Woman

During 8th grade, I had the opportunity to represent my school at an inter-school science exhibit competition hosted at St. Xavier’s. It was two days of fun and freedom.  V and I went to St. Xavier’s, spoke knowledgeably to visitors about our school’s entry to the competition, wisecracked around, gawked at other boys/girls, and had a good time, generally speaking. Then I saw her.

Long wavy hair loosely bound, a nicely fitting school uniform, slim legs and slender waist… guys hanging around, smiling and laughing and talking. She was perfectly poised between girl and woman — graceful and beautiful and feminine. I couldn’t help feeling envious. Imagine a flat-chested girl, stick thin, shy (yet outwardly confident), gawky and awkward… Hmm, that was me.

How things have changed…

The other day, as I stood before the mirror washing my face before bed, I suddenly thought – Oh, I have turned into that girl.

Longish hair loosely tied, slim and slender, poised between girlhood and womanhood. Life does bring us what we wish for… if only twenty years too late! No, it cannot be too late — it is perfect timing.