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The Sassy Side of Sixty: Regrets

by Aiden

Dolly Koghar gives her generation’s take on this oft-suppressed topic.

Regrets: surely, there’s nobody without some, especially from beyond this side of ‘sassy’ or so I assumed. But surprisingly, my survey got an almost-unanimous chorus of, “No regrets,” or, “Can’t remember that far back, so I guess it was nothing major,” or, “Nothing can be done to change it, so, no, I’m ok where I am and I have no regrets.” The one or two who managed to dig deep enough, voiced the lost opportunity to learn a musical instrument, for which there’s still ample time! The other was a doting son, who felt that he should have done even more. Even those that hadn’t really had a smooth-sailing life, when asked, said, “All in all, it’s been a wonderful journey, and I harbour no regrets.” Another of those I asked, rather than list her regrets, motivated me to uplift and inspire others on our side of the age-divide. “Look beyond the past guilt from mistakes and hurts,” she said, “and instead rejuvenate ourselves by travelling, and doing things we’ve never done before, or even take on the challenge of a new language or skill.”

Afterwards, when I sat down to pen my thoughts, which I do after I’ve finished the interviews, I decided to peruse the responses once again, and, Eureka! I discovered that the seemingly simple summaries of my age-peers sparkled with the maturity and wisdom of seeing life, as it actually is. 

There’s a book we each unwittingly write into, titled, Me, in which our first breath became the first word of the first line of the first page of the first chapter, and by the milliseconds, new entries are being added of the minutest and subtlest of thoughts, emotions, actions, the pain and the joys; of how we push and shove and bend and break barriers. Entries on how, too often, we lose out to the frequent and regular knocks, both the trivial and the life changing; as well as the mishaps, misunderstandings and misfortunes. Entries of how we give away too much of ourselves, and forget to dole out some of that care and attention on our neglected selves; how our hearts feel empathy and waves of love for everybody but spare none on our own inner child. In it are pages and pages, chapters upon chapters, millions of taglines recording the delightfully memorable moments, as well as those that are now best forgotten and left behind where and when they happened.  

 As our books nears their tail-ends, we graciously acknowledge and accept the reality that ‘what if’ and ‘if only’ was never an option for discussion or bargaining. The refrain of, “no regrets,” is our conscious decision to relinquish the angst and the regrets of whatever has been left undone or unfinished or unpursued. Because each and every word in our individual Book of Me is written in undeletable ink, and everything that happened was supposed to happen exactly the way it did; there was no otherwise. So, hitherto, we’ve chosen to sit back and watch, as spectators, the outcome of the pruning and the weeding, the preening and the watering, that we did with our children and our relations play itself out. It’ll be an interesting watch, as each of our individual Books of Me has by now far surpassed the length and drama encapsulated in Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. As for the obstacles that came our way, one respondent wisely quipped, “Obstacles don’t come to obstruct, rather, they come to train us to look within and explore the inner powers that we forget we have.”

Looking over our shoulders at the many yesterdays we’ve lived, whoever we were, of whatever gender, colour, status, and religion we belonged to, we’ve somehow made it to this extreme end of ‘sassy’; perhaps a little battered, bruised, wrinkled and bent, but nevertheless, intact and in one piece, for which we are extremely grateful. As InfosysSudha Murty once quipped, “A good life is a contented life,” – and that we can all agree on.

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