Working day and night
I had pictured the moment in many different ways. The day my son left home and went off to college to begin a new chapter of his life. Like so many things in life, the pictures I had painted and the ones the world presented to me, turned out to be pretty different.
The week before his college began we watched Forrest Gump together. It’s a movie I love for its simplicity. The line “and just like that it stopped raining… and just like that my time in the army came to an end..,” and other just like that moments that punctuate different phases of his life, jumped out at me for the first time.
Maybe when I watched the move years ago I did not have so many of life’s lesson to lean on. At that time the line that stayed with me was “life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get”. While it is an enduring favourite and keeps me open and excited about the possibilities of tomorrow, the one that stood out in the rerun is “and just like that…”. The suddenness with which a new chapter of life appears. A chapter closes. Another begins. Even when you see it coming, the finality of that closure and the opening of the new page truly happens, just like that.
My son’s college journey which was in the offing for so long, arrived in many ways unannounced. And just like that, from the 24th of August, our lives changed. Night became day for him as he finds his circadian rhythm now getting tuned into the US time zones. His classes are at 2 am and 4 am India time. His routine is geared to get into the groove of freshman year and his circle of friend have suddenly expanded. New horizons. New opportunities. New adventure.
While we are happy for him, our lives too have changed. Our little Dey is all grown up suddenly. Our household is trying to adjust to this new phase where dinner time is his breakfast, and we are all finding a new routine around different screens in different corners of the house, connected to different corners of the world.
What I admire most in him is the ability to take change in his stride. So many things he was waiting for and planning for did not happen. From school graduation and that bittersweet farewell to childhood friends, to the party that was planned in Goa that got cancelled. The much awaited first day, week and month at a college campus, brought alive by YouTube videos that promised the American freshman dream. And just like that, all have been replaced by an all new online experience. His is the first generation of college goers to navigate this new world. True explorers leading the way into un-chartered and un-navigated territory.
The fortitude, maturity and pragmatism with which he has accepted the change that has been thrust upon this world, is admirable. No grumbling, whining or complaining.
Does he wish it had been otherwise? Yes for sure. He is not however allowing that to get in the way of making week one of his college life a great learning experience. In the process he has taught me a thing or two about accepting and navigating change. May the road rise to meet him and the class of 2020-21. May their dream lead us through this phase into a better world.
And just like that, the next phase has begun. We are on our way and happy to be working day and night. That is the way of the new world we live in. Let’s enjoy every minute of it.
And just like that, if you decide to let go of the world we knew and focus only on the here and now, the possibilities are endless.
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