Sleep inertia is where your morning grogginess lasts longer and you don’t feel alert or can’t concentrate. It was one such Sunday morning as I got up and I had my Coffee in the Balcony to overcome it. I had shared the RICH life equation in my earlier blog
5 AM + Hot coffee + Balcony fresh air = Life feels a little less complicated ( Original equation modified for a RICH life)
Generally, I don’t touch my phone till I complete my morning routines. But that day I decided to go easy as the sky was overcast and in all likelihood, it looked like a wet day in the offing. Then I saw a missed call from my mother. Between my mother and I, we have a silent arrangement that we call each other only in the late evenings and that is the way it is. Any other time it is always about some not so pleasant news or some urgency like she needed some phone numbers or some check-in or some news updates that need immediate attention. It turned out to be about the demise of my brother in laws grandfather. He passed away in his sleep is what my sister put in our family WA group ( I am not a part of that group) but that morning I took my wife’s phone to check. The next couple of minutes I was recollecting when I saw him last.
The last time when I met him he was not in the verandah. Every time when I had gone to see him he would be sitting on that chair in the verandah. That day I noticed that he was not feeling well and was struggling to get up from the bed. He was always on to something is what my relatives would say every time. In his nineties, he would still go around the field and till the soil to keep himself occupied and that was the secret of his life. He followed a fixed routine like my grandfather. For me, it was easy to compare both of them in that way. Both of them used to wear white shirts, another common thing I recollected. Was that the secret for them living past 100 years? My grandfather passed away at the age of 101 and my brother in law’s grandfather was 103. Apart from their good health, they both loved life. They enjoyed success and lived a full life that they could share with their sons and daughters and future generations. They say ” End justifies the means”. They both passed away in the end without any pain.
There was one more striking thing, they spoke less and saw more. In comparison, my grandfather would have spoken more than him I feel but they saw a lot in their life. My grandfather saw the passing away of all his siblings barring one and his son-in-law at the young age of 42. in fact we say my grandfather left because he thought my grandmother had already gone as he did not see her for a couple of days as she was admitted in the hospital because of a broken bone. In the case of my brother in law’s grandfather, he saw most of his grandchildren achieve success in life and also had the opportunity to see great grandchildren as well. He too saw the passing away of his wife, his daughter and his son. I was not sure about his siblings.
Both these gentlemen had one thing in common, the courage to Go on in life. They went through the wheel of life with equanimity. So when I heard about his passing on that Sunday I couldn’t help bring an article I read recently in Times of India under the speaking tree section titled, ” Be a Light to oneself”. I found this explanation in that article which is very much in line with how these two gentlemen lived their lives, “Freedom is to be a light to oneself; then it is not an abstraction. Actual freedom is freedom from dependency, attachment, and the craving for experience. Freedom from the very structure of thought is to be a light to oneself.” There is a Greek word that amply captured how they lived their life. It is called Ataraxia.
Ataraxia is an untroubled and tranquil condition of the soul. For Epicurus, the most pleasant life is one where we abstain from unnecessary desires and achieve an inner tranquillity (ataraxia) by being content with simple things, and by choosing the pleasure of philosophical conversation with friends. In fact, this is also the message of the Bhagavad Gita which I am trying to learn. Both of them lead very simple lives, had simple routines and ample friends.
I reflected on the legacy they have left for us. Last night I heard the conversation between my younger daughter and wife. Her question was, ” Are we RICH ?” I didn’t exactly hear what my elder daughter replied. Today morning my wife told me that we assured her that, “we are and she can be rich as well if she works hard”. I wanted to share this message of the work ethic of these two gentlemen and not look at only becoming rich. I would like to tell her those BC Forbes words ” Real Riches are the riches possessed inside” and gauge her reaction. My wife will once again place her hands on her head.
What I learned from both of them is that your best work is always ahead of you. They both worked hard in their lives and retired from their jobs but they did not retire from life. In fact, both of them found a new path of life after retirement and that was the key to living a purposeful life. Another interesting part was the age difference between their wives. It was more than 16 years!
I used to joke that my grandfather left when my grandmother fell down, in the case of my brother in law’s grandfather he fell down and he left. If you live a fulfilled life the final fall is worth it.
If a man is an acme of his creation he is the medium of his message. Their lives conveyed a very simple message in the words of Steven Covey.