Anupama writes a letter to her 18-years old daughter. Read what she has to say.
In today’s fast paced day to day living, and our fight towards perfection, we unwittingly reduce the happiness hormone serotonin in our lives.
Is it something that only I am imagining, or is it something that we all experience everyday? It has become so prevalent in today’s life that we fail to notice it. Or we have imbibed it so well that it now flows in our vein. I just noticed it the other day as I experienced it, that led my mind to ponder over it.
I went out to my balcony to get the soothing morning breeze when I saw my neighbour screaming at the vegetable vendor. I did not want to upset my morning enthusiasm and so I retired back to my room shutting the door. Back there, I found my husband getting agitated and losing his temper over some issue on his early morning phone meeting.
I opened the door to get hold of the morning newspaper when I found my other neighbour pouring her anger on the milkman over a torn packet of milk.
While dropping my daughters on the school bus, I noticed one well dressed lady dragging her son angrily as she was getting late for work. The little boy wanted to go at his comfortable pace and enjoy the walk.
Later after breakfast, I found myself losing my temper over my maid as she was again late and the sight of dirty dishes in the sink was elevating my adrenaline level.
So, the day started with an angry morning. It would not be an exaggeration if I jump to the conclusion that we live in angry times. We have all the facilities to make our life simple, but what we get is an even tougher life. We have fast time efficient equipments, but no one has the time.
We lack politeness, are inconsiderate to other’s feelings, always ready to argue, to take exception, to push, to barge and be indecent. The traditional virtues of consideration and decency, tolerance and reserve, patience and slowness have given its way to anger.
Everything is in plenty. We have more money and more facilities. Life should have been more serene under today’s comfort. But it is not. The thin veneer of plenty hides the volcanic minefield of stress and anxiety. New gadgets make it even worse. A handy laptop computer means that most of the weekend and evening after work are dedicated to reports and schedules. Mobile phones often disrupt the family dinner and the mealtime turns in to a business meeting.
Society has turned into a competitive structure where one is judged by his achievements. We have everything but we are never satisfied. We do not live our lives but try to live the ideal life that others set for us. We are in a mad rush to achieve and achieve more.
The ladder of success and achievements never ends and while we keep climbing over it, life is left behind at the ground. When we reach the top, we are empty-handed. We keep running on the treadmill of ambition and money and at last, we realize that having it all is hazardous to a happy life – to our family, our relationships and even to our career.
There is so much of competition that even our leisure time has become competitive. We want to make the best use of our leisure times too. When was the last time when we enjoyed our favourite music or read our favourite book? We have left the simple ways to relax and have opted for “competitive relaxation”.
No more do we take our kids out to the park and enjoy taking a stroll with them. It is an outdated style of relaxation. It is not fancy and up to the social status mark. A much better way would be to take them to an amusement park where you can show off your social and financial status. While the kids are enjoying their ride, you can indulge in business talk over your mobile.
Calling business partners over dinner on weekends are preferred to a silent family dinner. Going for squash or a pool game after work is more of a client liaison than relaxation. Even in times meant for relaxation, you have the pressure to be best and make the most out of it.
It is not a surprising fact that scientific studies have shown that our neurotransmitter serotonin, which is a natural thermostat, is on the decline. This neurotransmitter is secreted when we are in an active happy state of mind. It is secreted when we feel happy about ourselves and life around us. We live under “fight or flight” situations and so our adrenaline keeps elevating and rushing us. The pressure at work and family commitments is expressed in terms of frustration, anger and depression.
There is a constant increase in social disasters. We have more divorces, unhappy marriages, a larger number of depressed youth and more and more people going for drugs and drinks. Both spouses work amidst such demanding pressure, making it a recipe for disaster.
Parenting does not come out of natural instinct but out of competitive demands leaving heart broken kids and overwhelmed parents. Parents spend time to choose a toy which is multipurpose – keeps the child busy, is educational, aids in cognitive development and so on – where is the simple pleasure of having a toy to just ‘play’?
We are expected to be a multi-tasker. We hate to come to terms with any mediocrity in our life. We want the best, so we judge a lot before we choose- whether it is a gadget or a prospective relationship.
There has been a constant rise in people going for spiritual practices. Most of them embark for a spiritual path because they find their personal life in a mess. The big question is – How does one start with a spiritual journey without cleaning up the personal grossness and mess?
We are always rushing for big things, not noticing the little joys around us. We do not have quality time for our hobbies, our relationships, family, our friends and ourselves. We go by the rules of modern society definition of ‘achievers’ and ‘losers’.
We do not want to lose. We have to achieve, meet the deadlines, be at the right place with the right people at the right time and always boast of a pleasant smile on a winner’s face. In a race to hold our grip over the ladder of success and social achievements, we let life slip off our hands.
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Published here earlier.
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A mother of two, a special educator and a Montessori adult, I spend considerable amount
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