Looking at life "Future Backwards"
When old colleagues meet — at a company alumni get together — a common refrain heard is “Oh you haven’t changed a bit”. In today’s health and fitness conscious age it is indeed true for many — as far as looks go. The reference in any case are primarily to physical appearance only. But, what about the person beneath the skin?
Surely, everyone at these gathering could not have been a friend while working together. There must have been many a friction, much rivalry or even hostility when they were colleagues trying to outdo or beat each other in the proverbial rat race of the corporate world. There may have been instances of jealousy, betrayal, back-biting and even back-stabbing. All memories cannot be sweet and all relationships may not have been cordial.
But, distance dissolves differences. With age people mellow. Perspectives and priorities change. As intimations of mortality knocks at the door — in hindsight the small stuff seem so meaningless.
As people start comparing notes with each other — balanced score-cardsbegin to emerge. Someone may not have reached the pinnacle professionally — but is leading an extremely contented life with children who have done well and their families. Others have found post-retirement vocations that gives them a tremendous sense of fulfilment.
Looking around, those who seem to be the happiest are the ones who haven’t changed internally — neither success nor the lack of it (in its conventional sense) have been able to rob them of their values. That not only keeps them going but also provides the strength and resource to grow, reinvent and reengineer themselves with age.
If only instead of viewing life in retrospect when sepia tinted memories filter away lot of the negatives — if we could develop the uncanny ability to see the future backward (as Krishna made it possible for Arjuna in The Gita) it would save us a lot of the angst, stress and heartburn of the present. But, that will come in the way of growth and self realisation — a journey all of us are ordained to undertake and we cannot avoid.
Therefore, there is no escape from the “here and now”. We must be in it mindfully — being in touch with our inner self — knowing that in the long run everything evens out. The Balance Sheet must tally, eventually.
Hence, follow a “No Regrets” policy with conviction and confidence.