What makes a life well-lived ?

Just heard of a batch-mate's demise. Really sad news, especially since it came during a phone call to wish another friend for his birthday. Had a college reunion type get together last month. All of us in the age group of 27 - 30 - married, or engaged-about-to-be-married soon. One couple had an eight month old baby. That's the routine, isn't it ? undergrad - grad school - internships-car - jobs - money - gf/bf/arranged meetings - courtship - marriage - house- kid - another kid etc. Just going through life...

But what if life doesn't quite pan out in that order, in quite those timelines ? Life sometimes takes a detour - I've seen people who've chosen alternate careers - stand up, music, non-profit, teaching, you name it. I've also seen people who've chosen or have come into a different personal journey. Some have chosen to travel the world for years. Is one life choice really better than the other ? Will the stable-bank-account-house with picket fence-two-kids person regret not living the travelling carefree life ? Will the vagabond regret not having a home and a partner to come back to ? Who knows ?

And then you have those whom life has decided to bestow something else upon - crippling illnesses, family burdens, and such. Is it really fair to compare within your peer group ? How would you even go about such an endeavour? On the other hand, humans are a social lot, living in communities and societies that make up a part of who we are. Is it realistic to completely do away with peer comparison ? Where does one draw the line between healthy and unhealthy peer pressure ?

And then you have the few batch mates that are no longer with us. Like this one. This wasn't a friend, barely even an acquaintance. It took a few Facebook clicks to place this one. But it doesn't matter - this is someone who shared a unique college experience spanning four years with me. The social group - the shared attributes over the past four years. He was there when BITS student association elected its first woman president, he was there when the IPC (Computer centre) decided to let its students wear footwear inside the lab, he was probably there in the Auditorium, raucously cheering during the Ind vs Aus final of 2003. He graduated, interned somewhere, had a job, was married for less than a year, like most of us in his peer group. And just like that, he is no more.

It really does put life in perspective, days like this. In the final analysis, what makes a life well lived ?
0 Responses