Often we find ourselves amidst the constant need to appear or behave in a certain societal norm for acceptance. Be it our everyday clothing, to the unending social obligations we spring ourselves into constantly. As we grow older we are also expected to behave and interact with others in a certain stereotypical manner, said by nobody but assumed by many to be ‘age-appropriate’. A simple instance would be that of the ridicule men receive when they happen to be emotionally stirred to shed a few tears. Why is a man’s sensitivity often dismissed? How many of us subtly mock at that 65+ year old Aunt who still takes a liking to bold makeup and unabashedly waves her hands in sync to the latest movie song? Or the latest family member addition to our Facebook Friends’ list, who constantly ‘like’ and ‘comments’ on your every single post with utmost spontaneity and an earnesty that brims with brutally honest comments about your looks. What if they were to cheerfully join your friends’ comments by expressing their “our-5 year old-who-is–now-soo-grown-up” comment! We cringe for a second, with a billion clouding images of “why do they keep posting things like youngsters do? That’s not age appropriate! My friend’s parents never seem to say such a thing…”. Or in other words, our first reflex reaction morbidly resembles that of the teenager within us – judging others’ enthusiasm.
The motivation for this post comes from my experiences with my dad. An outrightly honest and genuine personality, my dad is fondly known for his straightforward manner of speaking and social interaction. Come to him for help, he will outstretch his limits, be it financially or otherwise, to get that done then and there. A fun-loving, motorcycle fanatic, music buff and an amazing singer, my dad is both quick to earn and quick to spend on his family and their comforts. An engineering genius, who aced his school and University education, had far less luck with business. A quick learner and passionate family man, his life experiences have been the pillar of support in teaching me about failures, taking risks, and the never ending hard work that life necessitates. An early riser, an extreme hard worker, my dad placed huge importance on sincerity and orderly structure in daily life. At times, his demeanour and altruistic personality have made our family lives challenging for my mother. But the most lovable trait in him, is his child-like enthusiasm. His expressions are sometimes open and outward, generating a mocking ridicule by others. But the few of us close to him know best how much that enthusiasm reflects his sincere, unpolished and true affection he can so easily show to others. My 67-year old father has zero tolerance to pain or hunger. But when it comes to sharing and celebrating another person’s happiness, there is nobody to match my dad and his two brothers. I have been fortunate to have the experience of two paternal uncles as father-figures. Together, their lives have shown us that you are never too old to share the spirit of celebration and the joy we can radiate by wishing the best for others!