Two things are top of mind for me these days. Well, there are others; but for this show, I want to spare you the distractions of a multi-starrer film, and save myself the obligation of granting each star some screen space.
One, from the advice and opinions I got when I planned to take a break from an active corporate career. "Now you'll know who your real friends are". "Now you'll realise what you are not good at". "In three months time your shelf life will expire and you will be labelled as unemployed". "It will not feel good if others are not interested in what you are saying or doing". "Are you ready for some harsh treatment"? "What about your lifestyle"? Etc etc etc.
It's not just what others say or do; its also my own fears and who I am, that keep bringing me back to the thoughts about humble pie. What does it taste like ? Is it easy to digest ? I don't know. Neither might you, I think. If you have, like me, done reasonably well for the most part, and spent a good portion of time in the company of people who have commensurate lives.
The second, which is top of mind for me these days, is mortality. Pretty commonplace after one crosses the forty mark, I am told. There's so much unfinished business I have with regard to my family and myself. In little and significant ways, I get signals about what two decades of smoking, no exercise, and bad routines have done to me.
Earn my sleep and regain lost ground. So I began with daily walks. From my house, to a nearby hill, and then uphill. Those of you, who have experience with an outdoor physical exercise of some degree of difficulty, will understand how I also began to get clear thoughts, images and feelings during these walks.
One day, while I was struggling to negotiate a particularly steep bend on the road uphill, I heard a voice from within. "I'm ready to eat humble pie but not ready to die". What was that again ? Nothing. But I thought I heard something. Never mind. All I could hear were my breathlessness and creaking shin.
Next day, instead of walking uphill, I tried the impossible. Jogging uphill. At the steep bend, that seemed nastier that day, I heard a voice. "I'm ready to eat humble pie but not ready to die". This time it didn't go away. Perhaps because its rhythm was in sync with my breath and step. "I'm ready to eat humble pie .... huff huff huff .... but not ready to die ... puff puff puff". What was that again ? "I'm ready to eat humble pie ... huff huff huff ... but not ready to die ... puff puff puff ... hup one two three four ... one two three four". I smiled and jogged up the nasty bend. A marching song to help me on subsequent days, eh ?
I have attended college for longer than I needed to and have two post graduate degrees in humanities. And a love for models and constructs therefore.
My marching song seemed incomplete. What if my jogging uphill could be compared to the beginning of my second innings at work ? Would the lines of the marching song change in the medium term ? The long term ? What if it weren't me, but someone else just beginning a professional career? Would my lines for the short, medium and long term still apply ? And help ?
Couldn't get my answers. Went for my walk-cum-jog. Clarity hormones got triggered again. I knew at once what my line in the medium term should be. "I'm not getting that much humble pie, looks like I'm not going to die". And that I would like the song to eventually end with, "I long for some humble pie, I'm quite ready to die".
There was my marching song ! Complete with a model. A happy song that gave me direction. The next day I sang it silently. In full.
"I'm ready to eat humble pie ... huff huff huff ... but not ready to die ... puff puff puff ... hup one two three four ... one two three four".
"I'm not getting that much humble pie ... huff huff huff ... looks like I'm not going to die ... puff puff puff ... hup one two three four ... one two three four".
"I long for some humble pie ... huff huff huff ... I'm quite ready to die ... puff puff puff ... hup one two three four ... one two three four".
I smiled and jogged up more nasty bends that day. Go ahead and make your marching song. If you can't, take mine.