Out of all the nostalgia-filled flashbacks showered upon me by this thing called “childhood,” the one I sorely miss is having fewer responsibilities.
When we were kids, someone was always taking care of our needs. You weren’t the one everyone turned to when it was decision-making time. You could let an adult take the burden. But now you are the adult (oh, the dread). And the baton of responsibility has been passed to you.
Adulthood robs you of that freedom to just be. You are now responsible for everyone and everything, including the people who brought you up.
I have had a whirlwind of a month. Running back and forth to hospitals in India and getting things sorted out for my mother. Sometimes, it gets a bit much, not the physical activity itself, but the mental stress of the unknown. You wish you could take a break from it for a while, so you can return to being a child to your parent again, not a parent to your parent.
Though I have a sibling, she is settled outside the country. Honestly, sometimes, I am envious of her. She is blissfully unaware of many things that can only be witnessed in person – a thoughtful pause from the doctor after seeing the report, the concerned look on relatives’ faces, and the resulting panic mode. She gets to hear only words, whereas I have to witness stress-inducing body language. I am not bitter, just exhausted, mentally tired, and wishing I had my sibling around to share the responsibility with.
Sometimes, you feel alone in this journey called life, even if you have a family. However, you pull yourself together and say, “I’ve got this.” You learn to flow with the flow with blinders on and see where it takes you.
Often, after testing times, you look at yourself with awe over how you managed to pull through the muck. Challenging situations warrant bravery. It comes out of you automatically; you know the only way is forward. It is nerve-wracking but also educational. You stop thinking about petty things, and all your mental resources are made to focus on the issue at hand. After some tears, things settle eventually. It becomes your new normal. This is how you enter a new uncomfortable phase in life.
In your 40s, you will go through many moments like these, especially when your parents are aging. It’s tough when you witness them encountering the symptoms of their system slowing down a notch. You wonder why you stressed over less-important things like failed relationships, exams, and flippant comments from coworkers when you could have been grateful for all those days you spent with your loved ones in good health. We take the good things for granted and fret over the wrong stuff.
Right now, I have to realign myself into thinking each day is a blessing because I have my loved ones around. To appreciate things for how they are without dwelling on the past or future is not easy. Still, experience has the knack of drilling that lesson into you in the most unsuspecting manner.
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