Sunday, October 10, 2010

The shifting face of emotions

Amongst all the changes that we encounter in our journey through life, the most difficult one to handle is the emotional changes that we have to undergo. More specifically, we tend to find it difficult to accept that our relations with someone close to our heart - be it colleague, a friend, a relative or someone more intimate has changed with time and this person has moved on.

What we sometimes fail to realise that human relationships, quite like the human beings themselves, also change with time. The emotions felt today, however deep and long lasting, is still transient and will change with time. This does not make these emotions any less valuable – just like the fleeting nature of the sunset does not rob away its glory. Even when the relationship has changed, the wondrous moments it had given us in our memory amongst many other magical moments - a walk on the wet grass on a summer morning, the smell of freshly baked cake that we tasted on a holiday or the single dew drop on a near perfect rose in our balcony.

Take for example, the relation between a mother and a daughter child. As time passes by, the initial closeness between the mother and the daughter tends to wane as the daughter develops into a separate individual. This, quite often, is shattering for the mother who keeps longing for the old closeness that they once shared. She cannot fathom why her daughter, who used to come home every day from school and tell her what happened at school in excruciating details , seem so withdrawn now. Why the daughter prefers to interact with her countless friends for hours together on the mobile but refuses to share her cries and whispers with the mother. The books that they read together suddenly seem "childish" to the daughter, the movies she saw with her mother while growing up are too "mushy" or "preachy", even the private jokes that they shared also seem stale and hackneyed. Most of the mothers find it difficult to handle this phase and often fail to maintain an emotionally satisfying relationship with their daughter in the later part of their lives.

Similar emotional upheavals are experienced by every person at some point in their lives. Usually people find it more difficult to handle when they are approaching their middle age and are deprived of the all pervading inner panacea called youth to help them out.

In our youth, we tend to be more in touch with our softer self. We believe in the magic of "raindrops on roses" and "whiskers in kittens" and the "bright copper kettles" at home which make the most amazing tea in the world. A good book leaves as breathless, a nice romantic movie leaves us weak in the knees and the entire world with its sunlit days and cheerful breeze tends to spread happiness all around. In this phase, we also make plenty of new friends even with the most unlikely person and often these casual friendships blossom into a heartfelt emotional bonding which both the parties cherish. As we grow old, we somehow lose this joie de vivre, this automatic ability to connect with people and life in general. It becomes difficult to find new friends to have meaningful conversations, to share our fears and uncertainties or just to have a casual banter over silly things to de-stress ourselves. We sometimes try to connect with our old friends and discover that the old magic is somehow missing. This usually leaves us grumpy, dissatisfied and generally peeved with life or forces us to become cynical hard-headed realists who refuse to see anything good in life.

How does one handle change in the middle age in that case? I don’t think there is any sure-shot formulae for it but I think if we accept the transcendental nature of life as well as our emotions and do not try to hold on to them, we can handle it better. Just like we cannot keep our beloveds alive for ever, however much we may wish to , our relationship with the world and its inhabitants cannot remain stagnant. Instead of mourning what we have lost, we should try to find happiness in what we have; and try to explore the new things that come into our lives. For this, perhaps, we have to be break the shell of our comfortable existance and be in touch with our inner self to discover what we really like. Much to our surprise, we will probably discover that the inner core also has changed and has found new sources of joy which we have been depriving it from. We have to discover the child within us and allow it to explore the world around and find out what really excites us today.

We will find that the rainbow still has enough shades to brighten our lives and the wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings will still steal a smile of two from our weather-torn shell-hardened cynical self.