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Lessons learned along the way
A few years ago, in the presence of my daughter I was seeking counsel from my father over some vexing dilemma. I must have been going round in circles, because my father stopped me and asked what I should have known was a leading question: “Dolly,” he said, using a childhood nickname, “haven’t you learned anything all these years?” I fell right into the trap when I said: “No, no. I’m the same since I was 18.” Bad move. Both my father and teenage daughter looked at me like I had stunted my own growth.
“What?” asked my father. “Time, study, work, experience, books, travel, friendships, family, relationships have taught you nothing new?” I answered as truthfully as I could: “No.” My father dropped the subject, but my daughter didn’t. Over months and years, she said: “Baba was shocked you’ve learned nothing. Why did you learn nothing?”
I had to bear this onslaught till she forgot about it. So this year, I looked at the question again. I answered truthfully to myself. Of course I changed. Life had battered me down like it’s done to everyone else. I was in denial. I was unwilling to let go of the memory of being 18: exuberance, endless possibility, burning curiosity, willingness to take big leaps, risks that leave you bruised or flying but never stagnant; fearlessness, testing boundaries, adventure, a full laughter. It is all there, but sometimes buried.
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