It’s that time of the year, when each of us looks back at the previous in retrospect and introspection. I, for one, have come across quite a few posts on these lines. But, I will not look back into the year that just passed and analyse how things went wrong and why. I prefer looking into the future and making the most of what is still left.
It was a difficult conversation. I was telling someone the other day that life is too short and too wonderful to be spent with regrets. I have none; I will never have any. Because I honestly believe that every experience, every friendship, every acquaintance, every heartbreak and every opportunity has taught me something invaluable. Today, I am not what I was a year ago. I will never be the same again. But, so what? After all, what is life but a string of moments made memorable by those who mean something to us? We miss those moments and we never get them back again. I am perhaps being completely incoherent right now. But frankly, I don’t care. Right now, the only philosophy that appeals is the Epicurean: carpe diem. Seize the day! Cueillez dès aujourd’hui les roses de la vie! Long live Ronsard! It requires plenty of courage to be able to say that, and live life that way. Today, I am saying it. I don’t really know if I have the courage to live life that way, but I am trying.
Here we are, at the beginning of a new year. A new year to me signifies hope. Hope that tomorrow will be better. Hope that this too will pass. Hope that one day, I will look back on my life and consider it well-lived. With all these million thoughts clogging my brain, I re-read this poem by Robert Frost.
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
I hope I will be able to say the same. At every turn, life gives you a choice. It asks you to choose between what is easy and what is right. At every point, I have chosen to do what felt right then. Of course! Some of those decisions have gone terribly wrong. Others have done me good beyond my wildest dreams. But as a human being, I can guarantee the process, not the result. I will continue to do what appears to be right at any given point. It is at such times that Tagore’s poem seems to sum up my state of mind best.
“This is my prayer to thee, my lord- strike, strike at the root of penury in my heart.
Give me the strength to bear lightly my joys and sorrows.
Give me the strength to make my love fruitful in service.
Give me the strength never to disown the poor or bend my knees before insolent might-
Give me the strength to raise my mind high above daily trifle.
And give me the strength to surrender my strength to thy will with love.”
God! Give me the strength!