BE IN PASSIONATE LOVE—WITH YOUR BODY!
I recall many of my former colleagues getting bitten by the ‘Zika virus’ namely “Pre-Retirement Blues” well before I did so technical sense.
I would see many of them walking slower than they used to, speak of seeking relief in some ashram or hermitage under some monk, and profess to see NO meaning at all for a human life or longevity, health maintenance or family relationships, hubby/wife or children.
They would quote from Shelley’s poem about Rameses II titled “Ozymandias” about the head of his gargantuan statue (which once terrified the Egyptians!) bleaching in the blazing sun of Sahara desert sands in Egypt or those famous lines from Shakespeare’s “Tempest” about cloud-capped towers getting crumbled into shards and bric-a-brac over time.
They would pull a longish rueful face on being greeted and mumble something about facing a huge loss in their lives as if they had been hit by a tsunami. Some might even wish they had remained bachelors all through their life so they could have got more chances for saving up some amount!
I, on my part, would try to cheer them up as best as I could but often to no effect.
Of course retirement and superannuation were in my mind too and I was having some plan—a Plan B– too to take off after that date, just as I had taken off earlier in 1985 after I returned home from my foreign teaching stints in Addis Ababa and Sanaa!
On that earlier occasion I had had a ‘plain talk’ of sorts with my College Principal and had asked him to find teaching and training opportunities for me to be of use in my leisure time since I was not in a mood for leisure. And he had complied with my request finding me many avenues for using my pet language mastery to productive use—so many avenues in fact that I could keep busy from 4 am in the pre-dawn till about 8 pm at night!
The conspicuous absence of a Plan B is, as I have said earlier, the Achilles heel of most employees in service at the moment. Neither do they feel any need for it since they are finding life comfortable and cozy now nor do they get to nurture it bit by bit BEFORE they get pushed out.
This blog of mine is NOT about informing you the medical details about ageing process(e.g. Your death process actually began soon after you touched 35!) but about living young and active even when you are past 60 (hopefully glorious) summers! Slower walking goes hand in hand with steadily deteriorating physical and worsening cognitive abilities.
One recent study under Deirdre Robertson, from Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland minces no words when it says, in the journal “Personality and Individual Differences”:
” The way we think, talk and write about ageing may have direct effects on (our) health. Everyone will grow older and if negative attitudes about ageing are carried throughout life they can have a detrimental measurable effect on mental, physical and cognitive health”. She suggests societal wide interventions to target negative attitudes and find novel ways of maintaining health in later life.
It’s vital that we change our mindset first of all and orient it towards total positivity at all levels of existence; your mind can make a hell of heavenly lifestyle or vice versa in a trice!
Reject all that sounds nonsensical to you, including those notions—like Rebirth among Hindus among the Hindus or being seated on the right side of Christ in Heaven among Christians or being able to dally with “hoories” in Jannath (or Paradise) among Muslims– that you clung to as part of being a faithful follower of some human cult or faith. Opt for anything that makes sense to you and to scientific reality instead!
Nirvana-chasing and soul nurturing are a mere waste of energy. Instead chase health and happiness as far as you can!
KEEP BUSY AS LONG AS YOU CAN EVERY SINGLE DAY TOO!
The cliché expression “Salvation”—used by Hindus and Christians in different connotations- needs a healthy redefinition in that it must mean liberation from anything that can make you ill in any way—such as patriarchal notions, couch or mouse potato notion, monopolistic instinct, contextually compromised honesty notion, and blind beliefs or unsustainable practices of all kinds.
The delusion that your obligation during this earthly life is solely to ensure “Mukti” or “Nirvana” after you die is nothing but sweet baloney and smelly bulls**it!
Accept the fact instead that you are returning to dust, from where you had originally arrived as a neonate! Compensate this rejection with all findings and verified information you can lay your hands on about how to keep safe from stray illnesses and keeping fit.
If you have grown up poor, and if your childhood socio economic status was way down, it may impact your adult choices of food. The tendency to eat in the absence of hunger is one unhealthy spinoff from such a manner of growing up! [Ref: Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing sample]
FOOD deserves the topmost priority anytime-and this is crucial once you are past 60! The belief of “Fat but Fit” is passé and no longer true! Obese persons die early though they may be externally fit too since the protective effects of fitness are reduced in such persons. (Ref: Study of 1,317,713 men for a median average age of 29 years at Umea University , Sweden).Eat like a gourmet in the morning, like a prince at noon—being choosy and moderate– and like a beggar at supper time. Include veggies along with other items during all the three sessions.
Next to FOOD comes the need for SOCIAL INCLUSIVENESS. (Getting fully integrated socially comes under this caption!).
Please understand that human societies can be wholly patriarchal like in most Muslim nations wholly matriarchal like in Minicoy islands, partly so as in India, and wholly free too like in the Scandinavian nations and US.
”There is no single cultural code to say that any one of these is superior to all the others. There has to be tolerance of attitudes that may be seen as immoral by some traditional or religious norms” observes Linda Hagen of a Norwegian firm Hero. Syrian migrants are bringing shame to their faith in many European cities by going all out, assaulting and molesting women as they did in Stavanger (Norway) and in Cologne (Germany recently!
Learn to travel around, if necessary with a camera, so that you can interview the artists conducting solo expos and reach out to many kinds of persons easily in this manner! Have a hobby to take up your leisure time too in good measure! Make frequent journeys to somewhat distant locations too and learn to interpret social mores in unfamiliar places.
Reach out to your well-wishers across man-made boundaries such as clan, caste, community and faith and try instead to mingle with them at social events rather than remain inside your artificially erected walls. Human emotions in ample measure are what you have all in common! (cf. “Manwatching” by Desmond Morris).
“Reduce”, “Reuse” and “Recycle” are good plans but don’t go to extremes with them please; they can boomerang! Reduce your TV watching anyway since it tends to take away your basic thinking and analytical skills in addition to making your body function at less than optimal level of competence. Reusing plastic carry bags and once-used dresses is a good option of course. Recycling may not be wise for many items, especially with electronic gadgets and once presented research papers!!
Do read as much as you can so that you are in the know of human life as you move away from it day after day as if on a catamaran sailing away from the shore!
You may be a commoner in life as William Stoner the protagonist in John Williams’ novel “Stoner”, who is portrayed as having been just an average English teacher in the University of Missouri. He never got his due in life. His travails with lover also met no consummation point.
YET your individual life does have significance! Eventual intense victories or resolution of dramatic questions are not needed to be significant in life.
Stoner led an unremarkable life, in company with a woman that never suited him, died and soon got forgotten.
But yet Stoner’s mentor Archer Sloane remarks in the novel to him,
”You must remember what you are and what you have chosen to become, and the significance of what you are doing. There are wars defeats and victories of the human race that are not military and that are not recorded in the annals of history”
Please therefore be fully reconciled to your own life as you choose to live it!
CHASING YOUR NIRVANA WHILE LEADING A SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE?