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Your maturity evokes a positive chord within you

The Valuable Time of Maturity — Mário de Andrade 

I counted my years and realized that I have less time to live by, than I have lived so far.
I have more past than future.

I feel like that boy who got a bowl of cherries.
At first, he gobbled them, but when he realized there were only few left,
he began to taste them intensely.
I no longer have time to deal with mediocrity.

I do not want to be in meetings where flamed egos parade.
I am bothered by the envious, who seek to discredit the most able,
to usurp their places, coveting their seats, talent, achievements and luck.

I do not have time for endless conversations, useless to discuss about the lives of others who are not part of mine.
I no longer have the time to manage sensitivities of people who despite their chronological age, are immature.
I hate to confront those that struggle for power, those that ‘do not debate content, just the labels’. 

My time has become scarce to debate labels, I want the essence.

My soul is in a hurry … Not many cherries in my bowl,

I want to live close to human people, very human, who laugh of their own stumbles, and away from those turned smug and overconfident with their triumphs, away from those filled with self-importance.
The essential is what makes life worthwhile. And for me, the essentials are enough!
Yes, I’m in a hurry.
I’m in a hurry to live with the intensity that only maturity can give.
I do not intend to waste any of the remaining cherries.

I am sure they will be exquisite, much more than those eaten so far.
My goal is to reach the end satisfied and at peace with my loved ones and my conscience.
And per Confucius “We have two lives and the second begins when you realize you only have one.”

This poem is a reflection of my thoughts on growing into an older adult. As Confucius rightly says; when you realize the value of life and what really matters, you have matured into a positive human.

How have your emotions changed as you have aged?

Do you find that you are slow to anger?

Do you pick your battles carefully?

Do you find that the very things that irritated you with your children are so cute on your grand children?

‘The Socioemotional Selectivity Theory’ of ageing — As we age, we become better at navigating our social environment by using a broader psychological toolkit to minimise drama.

 

As a fifty-six year old, I feel I have definitely mellowed over the past five years, I am not easily triggered, I turn a blind eye to a lot, I know my kindness is taken for weakness and I am being taken advantage of, but guess what, I have evolved to such an extent that I am able to see the big picture clearly in every given situation and I react accordingly. A slightly raised eyebrow, or a half smile, gentle nod combination are my outward reactions to most things that will not matter in five years from now. The emotions that linger for more than 

twenty-four hours, I have taken the advice a friend gave me long ago — give it a week and all will settle down. And so it does!

 

Two books, ‘The Last Lecture’ and ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ have been tremendous in shaping my thought process. These books are written by people who after having lived hearty and full lives, felt the need to offer their two cents to the world. (way more than two cents for me) Endearing and definitely enriching if you choose to learn from their experiences. A must read by all age groups, these books are full of life lessons that you only know once you’re older and mature. 

 

Randy Pausch was a professor at Carnegie-Mellon University. His list of achievements is endless, however his time on earth was cut short because of pancreatic cancer.  This short amount of time between his diagnosis and death, was the time he felt was given to him to leave something behind in this world- his book ‘The Last Lecture.’

Whenever talking about the subject of death, people always contemplate who will miss them when they are gone. What impact have they left on others and the world? And what would be their last words before they go? 

Randy’s advice is about how to live your life —

Be earnest instead of hip 

Learn to compromise, don’t complain and just work harder 

Don’t obsess over what other people think, watch what people do and not what they say because actions do in fact speak louder than words —

Learn to apologise

Take time to show gratitude 

Be honest 

Be positive

Most importantly never give up, especially on your dreams. 

His greatest lesson being the “head fake”, learning something in the process of doing something else. The whole last lecture being a “head fake” in itself — 

It’s not about how to achieve your dreams, but rather about how to live your life.

In ‘The Last Lecture’, Randy Pauch admits that his attitude can’t change the facts of the world around him, but that it can change how he reacts to and interacts with the rest of the world, which positively affects how the world reacts to him. A profound statement to live by.

By controlling your attitude and behaviour, you can actually sometimes change the facts. By behaving positively and generously, you are more likely to get good things in return. Therefore, while he knows his attitude can’t make his cancer go away, he also knows that panicking and succumbing to fear will only diminish what remains of his life, so he decides to die as he lives — an optimistic, practical and hard-working person who deals with every obstacle as it comes. 

“It’s not about how to achieve your dreams. It’s about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you.” – Randy Pausch

 

The second book — “Tuesdays with Morrie”

Sixteen years after his graduation from Brandeis, Mitch,  feeling frustrated with the life he has chosen to live, is flipping through channels on his television and recognizes Morrie’s voice, his favourite college professor. Mitch travels to Boston to visit Morrie who has been diagnosed with ALS and is dying. 

Following their first Tuesday together, Mitch returns regularly every Tuesday to listen to Morrie’s lessons on “The Meaning of Life.” and thus comes about the book ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’. Morrie advises Mitch to reject popular culture in favour of creating his own. The individualistic culture Morrie encourages Mitch to create for himself is a culture founded on love, acceptance, and human goodness. Life is a series of pulls back and forth. You want to do one thing, but you are bound to do something else. We, humans, have made our lives complicated and because of our self-created problems, we suffer. The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and how to let it come in. “Love is the only rational act.” The purest, yet the most adulterated emotion, Morrie couldn’t have said it better- “love is the very base of humanity and without love this universe cannot survive. Accept who you are; and revel in it.” It is okay to be different. Live your life as if it’s your last, when you die your relationships do not, just your body.  Morrie believed that our world would be a better place if we do whatever we can to help someone and look out for each other.  

 

This article is full of deep learning and sharing of a few things that do make the company of older adults so appealing to youngsters. A lot of twenty somethings’ would give up their weekend party to spend the evening with grandparents or professors. 

It is at their feet that wisdom dawns, that life is appreciated from a meaningful prospective and begins taking shape. 

We’ve all been guilty of flying off the handle in response to something that in hindsight seems so trivial. These experiences have taught us that certain emotional outbursts are in fact a waste of time and energy. Or perhaps we are simply more positive because we are maturing. As we mature , we assume we are much wiser and that is true for the most part, but the core is, as we experience life, we become better at navigating our social environment by using a broader psychological and emotional toolkit to minimise drama and live a calmer life.  Maturity most definitely comes with age. Your emotionality —which is your reaction to emotional information is on the positive end of the spectrum — its when you understand that your emotions aren’t against rational thoughts but an accompaniment. 

 

A few lessons from me, your average Joe — 

  • Make living with intensity a priority
  • Favour only maturity. Maturity comes from failure – you learn from your mistakes and mess ups, it teaches you what works and what doesn’t. 
  • Beauty on the inside is what stays, everything else changes. 
  • Focus on the essentials when it comes to owning stuff, your memories and experiences are what makes a full life, not the amount of designer wear in your closet. 
  • Respect your partner — saying horrible and hurtful things in a heated argument, will scar the relationship further. Hold back on your actions and do not be disrespectful.
  • Accept your mistakes and apologise —always apologise. 
  • No one is perfect, but you can always strive to be the best version of yourself. Its hard work working on yourself, but constantly trying to better yourself will always be the greatest project of your life. 

 

With life comes experience and with experience comes learning lessons. (we wish we knew when we were younger.) 

Wouldn’t it be utopiac to go back to your twenties or thirties with all your knowledge and life experiences? 

Life is an enigma and make peace with that fact rather than trying to figure it all out.  

I do not intend to waste any of the remaining cherries left in my bowl

Vinita Alvares Fernandes
Vinita Alvares Fernandes is an Economics graduate, a writer and a Trinity College certified public speaker and communicator

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