It’s about 3 in the morning, and I am up doing exactly what would keep me up on the days that I stay up so late- observing culture. I just watched 6 back-to-back episodes of Lena Dunham’s ‘Girls’, to be specific about tonight, but on similar nights, I am usually reading or watching stuff that basically shows me how other people live. If I didn’t have this sort of media to show it to me, I would find it very hard to observe, because otherwise I would have had to walk out and actually be among such other people, and that would mean actual involvement in the situation as opposed to passive observing. So that brings me to two things-
1. Acceptance just dawned upon me. Somewhere in between the 5th and the 6th episode, I was like, well, all of it seems a little dystopian- the approach to being ‘dysfunctional’ and ‘unhealthy’ and ‘not in touch with your spiritual self’, yup all of that is dystopian, but the beauty of it is you just have to accept it as something that is happening. Something like the teachings of stoicism- don’t seek to control what’s outside of your control. Just accept it. And although I have received that advice from my reading of Buddhism, Stoicism, as well as from my friends, parents, and acquaintances, I had to watch 6 episodes of a TV show, when my TV viewing (as in TV shows, sitcoms, news, and such- doesn’t count movies and some cartoon <think Sheep in the Big City and Samurai Jack, for now>) spread out over a year is about 10 hours. That’s inclusive of the amount of time I spend watching TV during vacations. Funny part is I used to get a ‘healthy’ dose of it during my early teens. Now I can’t stand it. If I must spend time with my family, I can’t do it just sitting around and watching a TV show, but I am diverging. The point is, I just learnt acceptance. Earlier, I couldn’t stop thinking about how we are a malfunctioning world. Now, I am just like, ooh, so many different kinds of people. No seriously, epiphany. Let’s hope it spillsover into my tomorrow, i.e., when I wake up.
2. The Odyssey Years! I read this on the suggestion of a lecturer. His lectures are an interesting mixed bag, and this was just one of the things that came up. He said that my generation, so to speak, was more curious about experimenting. We aren’t ready to settle down in all aspects of life- education, careers, personal lives, choices, tastes, lifestyles. Things can be fleeting, but that’s alright, because we are apparently ready to do anything once. And I personally just don’t see too much bad with it, as long as ‘we’ don’t do it at somebody else’s expense- monetarily and otherwise. But the thing with such ‘opinion pieces’ is that they are spoken in such authoritative terms that one would assume that this generation is a deviant from all of anthropological history. But this is not true- every generation had its quirks; and by generation I am not limiting them to the span of their lives lived during their 20s. This is a simple, classic generational gap observance. Not necessarily a sociological comment. It isn’t as if every single generation before lived a certain way; sure they might have had more commonalities in their lifestyles, and that may be because things changed slightly slower as we regress through generation past, but that doesn’t mean that every generation did not live lives differently from the previous. For instance, the generation of my great-grandparents seems to be characterized by a large brood of kids. An only kid was almost unheard of, I believe. I have never met a person my age who didn’t say that their parents or grandparents were part of a large number of siblings. And I know for sure that as generations passed, the age at which they got married certainly changed. Say, 4-5 generations ago, there were definitely cases of getting kids hitched as soon as they were a few months/years old- as in there was a commitment from both families, and at a suitable time in both the children’s lives they were married to each other, but it was planned way before the kids even completely grew out of their semantic memories. A couple of generations later, such relationships were discussed only after members on both sides had accomplished certain milestones- for instance, traditionally and I am speaking for my heritage here, the woman would need to be confident enough to hold her own household, and the man would need to be able to keep a ‘worthy enough’ job that would help him support the family in the long-run. Hell, the very idea of having career trajectories, per se, is relatively new! Probably just 2-3 generations, tops! I am not commenting on whether these changes are smart or not- that’s for another post, but these changes are constantly happening, and it isn’t necessary to be a part of it, but it sure is possible to simply observe and accept, which would take me back to point number 1.
And at that, here is, at the risk of sounding cliched, Alanis Morisette’s track-