Even today, after 22 years, the hilarious incident when I skidded outside my college campus hall with my umbrella, makes me smile.
It was just after our insipid play had concluded. When the lukewarm applause had died, my mind was swirling with thoughts on how our play could have been improved upon. I had barely begun walking on the pebbled track to the gate of my college when it happened. Refusing to look at the faces of the amused (am not sure if I heard a few chuckles as well) onlookers, I had walked ahead. Head held high, with my umbrella and mustering the shreds of dignity I had, after nearly falling on my face. Actually, I find it even more amusing today, because I know I could have handled the situation quite differently and with little mortification.
“How ?”, you may ask. Simply by sharing their amusement with a huge smile. A smile that conveyed, “Yes, I know it is funny!”. Indeed, looking back, I can imagine how funny I must have appeared walking with an umbrella and skidding on the pebbles on the pathway!
Laughing at ourselves and our follies is a great way to learn, grow and enjoy a stress free life.
Some of our most beautiful memories or experiences add value to our life long after we experience them. They give us the wisdom of learning and enhance our enjoyment of life.
While the distressful memories would have taught us a valuable lesson it is our focus on the happier ones that can help us lead happier lives.
Our love for old songs is an example of the positive impact of nostalgia on our state of mind. Listening to them, we travel back in time to the moment when we heard it last. In some cases, the first time and the relating experience we enjoyed as we heard the song.
I always associate the melodious classic song, “Moon River”, with Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”, my childhood and my Father. It had been during one of our enjoyable trips to the bookshop that he had got this book for me. A few days later, as I sat on our living room sofa, Father had discussed the beauty of Andy Williams’s rendering of “Moon River” and played the song for me. Ever since then, the feelings that this song evokes is that of happiness, security, adventure and youthful optimism.
Instead of believing that a trip down memory lanes exudes the guilt of self indulgence, if we were to look at the experience with deeper respect, we would be pleasantly surprised. Nostalgia, especially positive memories promotes our well being and happiness.
Some of my memories of serenity can be described as waves of soothing tranquility accompanied by blissful awareness of the world we live in.
When I recall those memories, I recall the glistening lakes of Shillong. During that trip in 2005, as our car swept through the lush green hills, we could see the setting sun enhancing the lake with a rich golden honey warm glow. Another memory that comes to my mind when I think of scenic serenity is my trip to Gothenburg in 1994. Our friend had taken us to a quaint restaurant that was perched up on a hill. A lush green hill that overlooked a picturesque scenic lake. From where we sat, while a playful breeze played with the snow white curtains of the French windows, the lake had glittered in the soft wintry afternoon sun….
Perhaps the most recent memory that heightens the fragrance of serenity was a family trip to Kanoor in 2014. Where, from my balcony, I saw a silvery unperturbed sea dozing amidst a cloudless moonlit starry sky…
Our memories are treasured not for merely for their powerful visual impact to our state of mind. The feelings, sentiments and emotions that are awakened, lead us to the learning we enjoyed or in some cases we reluctantly underwent.
One such memory that I associate with regret was the one in childhood, when I was accused of tampering with a recording of a movie at a neighbor’s home when I had no role in it. It had been a petty case of miscommunication and misinterpretation. But one that as a child of 8, had upset me purely for having been accused of crime that I had not committed.
Today, I wonder with amusement just what had stopped me from standing up to the accusation and clearing my name. Was it the childish fear that I may not be understood despite my explanations? I don’t know. What I do feel about that memory is how it had taught me a lesson. A lesson on the importance of showing greater patience when someone is attempting to explain themselves in an awkward situation.
Our memories play a powerful role in helping us learn from the adverse experiences of the past. Perhaps more importantly, they equip us to face life with better resilience and greater vitality.