Sunday, August 29, 2010

Living in the moment

A couple of weeks ago, I saw an elderly gentleman in my office. He had started getting short term memory loss. He is a well-educated person, and he realized he suffered from early Alzheimer's Dementia. That's always the toughest stage to deal with emotionally. That's because the patient knows his memory is slipping and he realizes where he's headed.

"I know I'm headed towards the dark side," he said, with a sad smile.
"I'm sorry," I said, pulling a chair next to him. I didn't know what else to say. "Seeing a specialist might help."
"I'll see the specialist, doc," he said. "But I know it won't help much. But I'm okay. I'm dealing with it."
"How are you dealing with it?" I couldn't help asking.
"I can't remember what happened this morning. But I know what's happening right now. I don't know how long this is going to last, but as long as it does, I am going to live in the moment."
"Live in the moment?" I asked.
"Yes, doc. Should have done this a long time ago. Most of my life I lived in the past and worried about the future."

The conversation was inspiring for me. There was a lesson for me here. Life does unfold in the present. I want to go on vacation when I'm at work and I worry about work piling up when I'm on vacation. Our social lives weave a web of relationships around us. How intricate or complicated we want this web to be depends solely on ourselves. A mind that bounces from thought to thought, ruminates in the past and worries about the future, cannot live in the present. The past is a good place to visit, but try not to live there.

"Don't let your yesterdays use up too much of your todays." ~ Cherokee Indian proverb


Sunday, August 15, 2010

"As soon as I can..."

A few weeks ago, I was at a 50th wedding anniversary of our friends parents. The 'groom' let us in on a secret. You see, 50 years ago, when he proposed to her, he couldn't afford a ring. So, instead of a ring, he got her something 'appropriate'. He promised his bride-to-be that he would get her a ring, in his words -- "as soon as I can". Well, they married and life got busy. They had a daughter and time flew. And before they knew it, it was their 50th wedding Anniversary. Never forgetting the promise he had made, he gave her a ring that day in front of about a 100 guests, apologizing that his "soon as I can" took 50 years!

The lady of the evening said she really didn't care, that the ring was just an accessory with the main package (the groom!). I've known this couple for more than a decade. I don't know how much money or property they have, but without a doubt, they are the happiest couple I know. They visit me in the office once in a while and whenever they come into our office, our staff lights up and just can't stop smiling.

So I guess happiness in a relationship depends on a lot of things. How we prioritize our values as couples would vary among different people. Materialistic things do tend to lose their shine & glitter after some time. How about love, understanding, tolerance and trust? Does their luster get less bright with time? Probably not, and the opposite is actually true. These grow with time. No amount of glitter & jazz can match the wealth of a trusting relationship.

"No man is truly married until he understands every word his wife is NOT saying!" ~ Author unknown

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Cherishing our "Heritage"

A gentleman came to meet me this past Friday and informed me about a "Punjabi Mela" (fair) he and his friends were organizing. His philosophy was to bring together people from a similar background and to cherish the "Punjabi" heritage. I was struck by his sincerity for the cause and to make this event a success.

Our roots, our heritage is the accumulation over generations, of beliefs and customs that define our culture. Sometimes certain customs defy logic, but they do have a history behind them. In our formative years, we develop certain ideas, ideals and standards. This code defines us as adults---morals and principles we live by and teach our children. Over a period of time, things do change with the flow of time, and we should too. That's called being flexible, as opposed to being rigid. But at the same time, we all do make a conscious effort to preserve traditions that have stood the test of time. Traditions that define a part of us and provide us a glimpse of our ancestral history.

So why are we all so drawn to our roots? Probably because to understand Today, sometimes we have to search Yesterday. Its a desire to find out where we belong, to find out our moorings. How will our children know who they are, if they don't know where they came from? Our past, our culture, our traditions have had an important role to bring us where ever we are today.

"Remember your history. To forget is not to belong." ~ Charlotte A. Black


P.S. - Check out the "Punjabi Mela" on 8/14/10, at the Bull Run regional park in Manassas, from 11 am to 8 pm, for a day of family fun!