How young are you?

That girl’s betrayal had really hurt me. For some time I had been the one who made her laugh. It was me for whom she waited. All that changed overnight. Or at least at seemed to me that way. Suddenly, it felt like she was just tolerating me out of politeness. She wasn’t even listening. Her attention had shifted elsewhere. Betrayal. Deceipt. Hurt. I craved to have what we had back. I clung on. I tried every trick I could think. It drove me crazy.

A few years passed. We moved on. Then one day I saw her. She looked at me and smiled. I felt the emotions rushing back. I hadn’t really moved on? I was still seeing her from old eyes.

Most of us have experienced some version of the above at some point or the other in our lives. It happens in smaller ways in our day to day lives. To me it happens when someone I helped and went all out for, didn’t really stand by me when I was looking for support. Or when I speak very respectfully and politely, but I get a very curt and sharp response. Or when I am making efforts to adjust and compromise, but get no reciprocation from the other. Or when I have been very fair and transparent in my behaviour, but the other has taken advantage and grabs more than their share.

How does one relate when such things happen? How does one keep one’s peace? How does one stay away from negativity and hurt? How does continue to love and be graceful?

To me, to be ‘young’ is the ability to let go and and be able see with ‘new’ eyes. To be able to see everything as though one is seeing it for the first time. To be ready to discover afresh. To forgive. To be able to see what I may have missed before. Being able to do that is being young. Youth has nothing to with number of years spent on this planet.

Babies are truly young. They fall. They cry. Then they forget. And once again they are back to playing. Have you ever seen a baby that cries because it fell yesterday? They are willing to get back into the game. The Dalai Lama is truly young I believe. He harbours no hurt, anger or dissappointment in his heart. He continues to learn, explore and walk his path.

As for me, I find that I collect some ‘emotional’ and ‘intellectual’ baggage as I traverse through life. There are accumulated notions of ‘this is how it is done’ and ‘it is supposed to be this way’ or even ‘I know how to do it’. It is so painfully difficult to forget what I think I know, and to prepare myself learn again. It so difficult to let go of my ego when someone has disappointed me, and be willing to see them with fresh eyes and discover the goodness inside them. It is so difficult to let go of control and power I have over some people, and allow them to think for themselves.

And to me, that is the definition getting ‘old’. It my eyes that become old. It is my way of seeing and interpreting that makes me old.

As time goes by, if I am ready to unlearn, if I can drop unneccessary baggage, if I can move beyond pain and resentment, and if I can accept that my way may not be the best way, then I am getting younger.

My definition of being young is having eyes that can see ‘new’ even in the old.