Meeting friends after long is always a pleasure, but this time it left me with mixed emotions. A realization dawned – somewhere down the line I missed the bus. Even with the rose-tinted glasses I occasionally sport, the chances of revival appear bleak.
20s is when possibility overshadows actuality; 30s signals the end of this honeymoon (or delusion?). It’s common for many in their 20s to think that they can successfully pursue many streams of work simultaneously. But this is fool’s errand. To attain even a decent depth in any discipline demands large amounts of time and dedication. For every turn we take in the road of life, the opportunity to traverse several other roads is precluded forever. To take up the path we desire, we must renounce several others permanently.
The hardest part of this learning process is that life seldom affords man an unlimited choice. The endeavor to taste food in all the leading restaurants of your city can be realized effortlessly, but many life choices progressively narrow down your future options. Take one’s profession: once one gathers a cumulative work experience in a particular area he cannot escape its virtuous (or sometimes vicious) circle easily; only an extraordinary change of circumstances might result in career transition.
This is not to say that we can never take a U turn – sometimes, tremendous will and efforts coupled with a bit of luck can work wonders. This, however, is still an anomaly and can hardly be expected in a measure we have come to believe through popular media. A sufficiently ingrained survivorship bias might offer hope, but as experience steadily exposes us to diverse situations and men, many find it difficult to put their faith on the over-hyped success formulas or mantras. Most of our confusions today can be traced to mainstream propaganda of absolutizing of choices - i.e. relentless expansion of choices, without recognizing that decisions come at a price of removing other possibilities from purview.
Grief, in this sense, is the “can’t” vibration – 'thus far and not a step beyond'.
Grief frees us from the delusional abundance of choice – from the limitations imposed on us we become aware of the very few roads available to us. This, paradoxically, is comforting to most men because the boundary-lines have been marked. So, instead of daydreaming about what’s well beyond reach it behooves him as a man to concentrate on what appears achievable.
The past cannot be argued against: it is what it is, it is final. When mind loses its grip on reality, it succumbs to insanity to protect the organism against wholesale destruction. The thread of memory is snapped to prevent the destructive mental virus from overwhelming the life-force. Grief is nature’s way of asking man to avoid the memory of suffering and guide him towards embracing his limitations, faults and inferiority.
In our more sober moments, it hits us that we truly are on our own in this world. Men, and here I speak of men alone, cannot ask for a shoulder to cry on without inviting reproach because society is conditioned to look upon failed men as an encumbrance. There is no other way to play this game, save to master its rules. Either way, the least a man can do is to not expect empathy - it hasn't worked before, it won't now, and it can't till humans are essentially a reproducing species in which men are the disposable gender for the population project.
You got the raw deal, now what? Would you ponder over the injustice or unfairness forever, or become mindful of the surrounding environment and make the best of a bad bargain?