I was speaking to a friend yesterday and conversation generally revolved around how our lives have changed (she is a friend from college days) and how the nature of things which demand our attention have changed over time.
Earlier, life was all about attending college, tuitions, some work (at dad's office) and meeting up with friends.
Somewhere down the line, things have gotten slightly more complicated.
Me being me, I started categorising the various 'lives' that we need to lead. These could primarily be broken-up into five categories:
1. Work life
This portion, obviously, starts dominating a majority of our hours that we are awake for (in some cases, also our sleeping hours; in fact, I have been regularly dreaming about work the last couple of months). We slowly gravitate towards becoming the major bread-earning member of the family and phrases such as 'CTC', 'in-hand salary' and the works start being repeated. Hushed conversations about people switching jobs and who is in who's good books are also part of the daily rigmarole.
2. Social life
Weekends (and hurriedly organised week-night dinners) are for friends. These occassions keep us in touch with 'the good ol' days' stories and also stop the grapevine from dying a natural death. Stories abound of corporate snakes-and-ladders here too.
3. Love life / Married life
Not everybody is stupid: some stay single. The other group, however, needs to spend some time attending to 'sweetheart' issues as well. As relationships mature, the following cascade of comments make an appearance:
"We need to spend quality time together in order to know where we're going" --> "Where ARE we going????" --> "We need to spend more time together with the family"
4. Family life
We also need to keep our parents happy. No matter how different we've grown up to become since the time they held our hands and taught us how to walk, we need to be there and understand their needs in their ageing years. Which means that we need to spend more time with them than we were previously bluffing ourselves into believing. Clearly, they should be getting very good quality attention time, even if the amount of time gets sacrificed because of work-related issues.
5. Personal life
And if we can finally find time out for ourselves, only then can we do some amount of introspection and think in what direction OUR lives are really going. Only then can we ask ourselves those niggling, uncomfortable questions that we know we have been putting away. Or even if nothing else, this is the only time when we have nobody, and I repeat, NOBODY around us and can then hope to R-E-L-A-X in every sense of the word. Ironically, although this is the time we need in order to do well in our other aspects of our life, THIS is the one which we keep postponing all the time.
Don't believe me? Ok, try this. When was the last time you sat down in a chair or lay down on a bed and:
a. did NOT have the TV on
b. did NOT have a song playing on the radio / laptop / computer
c. were NOT thinking about the slow speed of the movie you were downloading
d. were NOT waiting for a phone call which you dreaded or which you just wanted to get through with
e. were NOT making a mental list of things that you wanted to do/buy
When was the last time you just breathed in deeply and with a contented smile said to yourself "Ok! I have lots of things happening around me...some good...others not so good... but all in all, I think I'm doing the best I can...and if not, here's how I plan to do the best that I can..." and then proceed to have a meaningful conversation with the one person who matters the most in your life....YOU !!!
When was the last time ???
Author's suggestion: Start writing a diary, my friend, and find some time for yourself.