In some of pleasant conversations with my older colleagues, friends, and mentors, I often asked them 'what were you doing when you were at my age?, How did it feel like? I feel somehow an instant connection when they try to remember and narrate the highlights on that particular period of their lives. Think of me as a child who is eager to listen to a story of a grandmother.
I have always been fascinated by people who remember, who try to reaching a depth of their memory and reconstruct essential events, and they begin to articulate or to be surprised by it as if it is the first time that happens to them. Do not get me wrong. Some people create way too much fiction. Well, you can always cut the crap.
What then is my purpose? To be honest, I want to know what was their emotional state of being during the time. Were they feeling depressed and how did they overcome it? Were they at the peak of their careers? Did someone special disappear and never come back? I feel fascinated. On a lighter side, were they starting a family? were they having the best time of their lives? Their answers were honest, were full of rich narratives. Of course, they can get to privilege themselves for most of the time but that is part of the story.
One question that I often ask, 'Were you depressed, what did you do? Were you at some point didn't know what to do with your life? And what did you do with it? You can suspect me of feeling depressed and in need of their guidance. Probably yes. Probably not.
One colleague told me, when he was at my age, he did not really know what to do. He had a stable career. He wanted to marry his girlfriend but he was fearing of settling down. He wanted to do more but he could not. And he began to accept his limitations and worked himself to finding fulfilment in his own meaningful ways. I told him, I may probably be feeling the same way you did at my age, but not the settling down thing. I told him in the most heartfelt manner, that this feeling has been going on and it is like this emotion is starting to be my friend. I have all the answers but time is telling me another story. A matter of choice, I said in a dismissive tone.
My next question is how did it go away, your 'don't know what to do' state ? He said, in his full confidence, that it suddenly disappeared. 'I changed my career. I married my girlfriend. I had two handsome boys. My depression disappeared. Or probably it did convert into another form of confusion. But I am sure I did not feel the same way I felt it'.
So, what is your advice to me? He said, just take care of your health. You may be feeling a lot of confusion at your age but your body must bear it. Your body must bear your emotional state. Drink lots of water.
I did not know how to react. Maybe I needed some Purpose-Driven Life moments of some sort from him. But he was making sense. He made sense. At my age, I should love my body more.