The teen (no longer a tween.. yes been a while since I penned something down with some coherence of thoughts) often asks me on what it is that I am looking forward to… and depending on my mood, I could range my responses anywhere between the next cup of tea with my newspaper or the next Board appointment coming my way. Of course, there is a ton of options in between and beyond in both directions. One may classify these as very materialistic pursuits.. but then how right are we in framing a more “appropriate” response when accosted with such a query.

Now keeping in mind that I am referring to a teen, perhaps the wise folks will tell me that I should have gotten into a deeper thought process (after all how often is it that the teen actually engages in a conversation with you… forget one which gives you an opportunity to sermonize on life’s deeper truths- as interpreted by you or may be read over some social media posts of those who have a whole PR team converting their words of wisdom into what souls like me would lap up). Never mind the fact, that (and this is for those who have tried to grab such golden opportunities of driving sense into the Gen A, B or C, whichever alphabet we are using to embody humanity’s current emboldened additions) the minute you have launched into (what sounds to them like a) tirade, you have pretty much lost both the query and any iota of interest they may have had into actually getting a glimpse into your thought process.

Maybe it is just curiosity which gets the teen to ask me such a question. Perhaps she is just trying to understand what when you are on the wrong side of 40-something do you actually look forward to in life. Going back in time, I actually wonder why that thought never crossed my mind for all of that age-group, when I was of her age. Maybe that’s where I missed the curiosity boat. Or may be, that is the workings of a mind trying to figure out what exactly does one look forward to a few decades after where you are today. Honestly speaking, I am still not thinking about this even for those few decades ahead of me, even today!

Perhaps the question is more from the love and care for oneself- to ensure you have enough always to look forward to… to be driving you… to be giving you a purpose.. or perhaps many.

So here I am on the topic of “purpose”. It is said, it is important for one to have a purpose in one’s life. A purpose that makes it worth living. About knowing why you have been born on this earth and what it will be that you will be undertaking for the larger good, while you breathe and live off this planet. For the wise men- yes- this is about serving humanity.

But then there are lesser mortals like us, who while would love to undertake that, we see it as a vocation to be engaged in, while ensuring our materialistic pleasures are taken care of. In other words, I may serve a small group, support them, help them and keep finding my ways to influence lives- it could be by making a difference monetarily, physically, systematically or in any other form that gives me the happiness or shall we say the contentment of having gone beyond what I had been working for, for just myself or those I naturally love and care for.

I learnt the value of caring from my mother- she has always selflessly thought about anyone anywhere whom she came across and in her own little way continues to support them with words or acts of kindness that wins her a lot of goodwill and blessings. Then there are others like my spouse who gives encouragement to all he comes across (and God knows that that criteria can be very widespread) about how it is important to understand one’s potential and not be deterred by what is or what may not be… but to give it your best, and strongest version to attempt to get to what it is that could possibly be… better. Then there is my mother in law who, while she could, would dedicate her living hours in helping anyone who was in need- through her abilities at her academics or monetarily or in any shape or form that her then-limited means would enable.

All of them may not go seeking for opportunities, and neither would they have major PR that would be extolling their virtues. They are the silent warriors of humanity who with their strength and conviction are making a difference in their own small ways. A difference to lives which are happier, stronger- in a nutshell- better than they otherwise would be.

Perhaps, it is important to make a difference in whatever way one can, to lives that one touches. A difference that is positive, a difference that makes it a better version from what it would be. Could this define a purpose.. maybe, maybe not. I  guess it depends on who it is you are speaking to or using an interpretation of.

Meanwhile, I really appreciate the teen’s way of getting me thinking- and believe me, there are several which she has, knowingly or unknowingly in her repository. And believe it or not, I do feel the pressure to define what my response the next time should be. And what the time frame of those should be. Mind you, asking for such clarifications may invite the wrath and hence mark your performance on the quiz of the next “looking forward to”.. but at least it does get me thinking sometimes proudly, sometimes with curiosity of how she interprets my list and whether it is the right one.. or shall we say a “deserving” one.

Meanwhile, mind you, what I have yet to learn is to promptly play the question back in order to learn more on what the possibilities per the teen could be. Perhaps that would open a pandora’s box for me and keep me busy for a long time to come on why or why not I didn’t think of the same… or perhaps whether my version of the options were better or worse. Irrespective of where that goes.. and I know this wasn’t to be analyzed to death.. the teen still has a way of getting away without answering as I dwell more and more on what the right response is… as they say, there never was a teacher defined by age or form and nor was there a methodology… learning’s come in all ways.. you just need to be the student.. always!