Experience

Whenever I look at the my grandparents, I see the two sides of age. It is a thing Shakespeare called the second childhood. Justifiably so. With all the experience and all the time they have, comes so much more. The fatigue. The helplessness. The denial. And very rarely, the acceptance.

They are many things. Apprehensive. Restrictive. Over-cautious. Stubborn. Irrational. Worst of all, they are unaware of their actions. I hardly blame them for any of it. Experience is a double-edged sword, after all. On one hand, it guides us through all the decisions of our lives and on the other, it blinds us to what doesn’t match our outlook. Where at times it makes us feel so powerful and in command, on so many other times, it leaves us vulnerable and helpless in situations well within our control. Without making us realise, It dictates our lives, and binds us to it’s will.

My grandparents, at times even my parents too, are in the past. Bound by their expectations for themselves. Stuck in a place where they feel in power. Maybe it is over the denial of the fact that my grandparents, in their waning forms, are not making every decision in their life like they have.Maybe it is their way to make their lives a bit more like they picture. A bit more in control. A bit less dependent. Everyone wants that, right?
Many times, it is hard for them to compromise over their vision of the world. And the clashes begin because that is not how the world is anymore. That is not how the situations allow for things to run. It is hard to come to terms with that. Not many can. For this very reason, the ancient Hindus took ‘sanyasa’ or retirement from worldly woes after a certain age. Bound to live in the solitude of forests and mountains. Only people who seek their advice would go to them. Modern age doesn’t take any of that into consideration. No wonder nuclear families get more and more prevalent!

Don’t let your opinion over my stance in the topic change because of my age. I am 18. Yeah. But I have very justified reasoning for everything related to this issue. I think we need each other. More than we give ourselves credit for. By we, I mean the seniors and the juniors. It is a very crucial dynamic of the human society. Without this propagation of knowledge, a few certain pieces of the puzzle we call life would be pretty impossible to find.

We do need our parents’ and grandparents’ advice and the sooner we realise that, better we become. That being said, we also need them to understand where the boundaries are. Mostly because they seem to forget the most pivotal thing of all in their justified urge to protect us from all harm. I am surely glad that my parents didn’t go ‘all overprotective mode’ over me and let me experience things without which I would not be a person who can be independent and strong. They realised something my grandparents sometimes still don’t.

None of them learned everything from their parents. They learned most of it by making the mistakes themselves. Maybe they were the same ones which their parents had made and told them about. But the real moment when they realised it was a mistake was when that actually happened. They were rebellious too, in their own ways. They regret that. It could have saved them a lot of time if they had listened to their elders. But they wouldn’t be who they re without all those mistakes to back them up. That will always be the way we will be. Its natures way of making sure we don’t take the smallest of things for the way they are expected to be. A kid will always touch the hot pan despite everyone asking not to. Only when they touch it once will they never do that again. Being hurt is what teaches us all what is right and what is not. Who knows if the plate is still hot after 15 minutes off the gas. Either we touch, or we remember the last time we tried to.

As for the stubbornness, it is ok sometimes. What is individuality without its share of whims and fancies. While they may have to let go of some of those long lasting traditions, you can try and add a few years to some. It sounds like a hard job but i feel we owe that much to the people who have raised us and done a lot more for us over the years than we can even think about. Yeah, i am using this card. It is a cop out answer, but there is no other way to put it. I can’t change my grandfather’s habits of extreme dependencies nor can I counter the feigned emotional detachment my father often has in store for me. I don’t enjoy it. But I will rather keep my end of things less tense instead of an open confrontation whenever possible. Simply put, the world is bad enough without the few perennial well wishers not meeting eye to eye with you on petty issues.

In a nutshell, everyone is hard wired to do what they want and to a greater extent, that is fine. The smarter ones keep cool heads and take the best of both, their elders’ experience and their own. Then again, how many have managed to successfully master that?

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