THE JOURNEY IS THE REWARD
By Vanita Srinivas
The phase I am carefully treading in life now is called middle age. This is the age that lets you a nonchalant review OF whatever has gone by but doesn’t let you be confident enough to beat the anxiety of the future.
The saga of life is such that the more we learn, the more we realize our ignorance of nature and life.
The infancy is a blissful ignorance. Infant does not himself know what joy is but is a bundle of joy to all. A simple smile and gurgle lights up all the faces around. The infancy is a stage of complete dependency and the near and dear ones are very happy to take care and accept this duty. They nurture, foster, cuddle, snuggle and nestle with affection and warmth. Thankfully our childhood doesn’t end at this stage. There are lots of many more happy years preceding the stage of adolescence. Childhood is an amazing combination of innocence and curiosity.
The childhood is nothing less than a trip on merry go round. A tender heart full of glee, mirth and hilarity and eyes gleefully wide open with wonder and oddment to absorb everything going around us. A child wows at every small thing as though a miracle has happened. The height of thrill is unmatched. Probably, this is the best stage which is adored even by God and Nature as the child is mesmerized by the orange sunset, the pink sunrise, the humming bees, the chirping birds, the blooming flowers, the rain drops…He hops and jumps through life while observing the endless activities around him. The modern times will interpret this phase of growing up as data collection stage!
A phase of utter amazement and non-judgmental attitude ends and gives way to adolescence. The teens are marked with rebellion. In fact this is the phase of life where the teenager is full of confidence or to be very precise full of overconfidence. He feels equipped with immense knowledge. Unlike in childhood, the teenager is competent to filter the information being received and starts being choosey about what all is being grasped. He gets into a habit of forming opinions, being judgmental and fiercely independent.
The teenage moves over to make space for adulthood. A whole new world of realization opens up for the adult. His feet now touch the rough grounds. To be precise again, he is face to face with harsh realities. He is out in the world on his own now to combat his share of struggles and challenges. Adulthood is a solo fight for multi-dimensional issues viz. economic, career, emotional, identity etc.. The life starts scrapping mercilessly all the rough edges that had once shaped during teenage.
The middle age very silently and most unobtrusively exerts itself in life. The transformation of adulthood into middle age is so inconspicuous and obscure that it’s a shocking realization when noticed. It happens gradually to the self. We happen to go through situations and challenges nonchalantly. This is the start of middle age. It seeps silently through our mindset and flows unnoticed through our psyche. So, it’s not in way, wrong to quote that the middle age just exists in our mindset. In actuality it doesn’t exist at all but all said and done it’s always there with us and within us.
At this stage the life is still busy throwing challenges at us, with utter disregard to our espousal. Having exhausted ourselves through all the phases of life, presently we are extremely wary of difficult situations cropping up every now and then. The wariness is not an offshoot of exhaustion or discontentment of the life style but with a spiritual reason.
I have witnessed events in this world for more than half a century and read substantially about societies and lives. Every soul from times immemorial on this earth has faced similar hardships throughout the life. I fail to understand the purpose of life. What is the meaning of continuity of life if all the beings have to go through same suffering despite a stupendous progress?
Spiritual interpretation of our life journey guides us to keep ourselves above all attachments and strive in life as it comes. However life becomes mechanical if you compel yourself to move on without expectations or emotions. That is what usually is observed in old people. This implies that if we achieve such a spiritual attitude from the beginning of life then probably we will all be born old and die older. Definitely the meaning and purpose of the life is other than what we all have imagined and prophesied. Notwithstanding all what has been argued and counter argued the journey from infancy to old age has been the most enchanting and amazing experience. Probably there is nothing else left to be achieved or sought for in life. The journey is the reward. Of course THE JOURNEY IS THE REWARD!