Thursday, August 27, 2009

Life is a soap opera

Ever get that nagging feeling that your life runs like one of those cheesy afternoon soap operas? The story starts with a bunch of friends. We get a peek into their everyday lives - from the monday morning blues to the weekend parties, from the tentative dating scene to the desperate 'bharat matrimonial' obsession, from job changes to MBA aspirations, etc. etc. Throughout all this, the changes are so slow to be almost imperceptible. Since the entire group still hangs out and does the same things (clubs, birthday parties, volleyball games), you would think nothing much is changing. But you would be wrong. Slowly but surely, change is creeping up.

Before you know it, two friends within the group decide to get married. A couple others get engaged. A few more start their MBAs. A few others move away to other cities. Although you promise to stay in touch with each other, you know that those phone calls and e-mails will slow down and stop eventually. Very soon, there are a few more weddings and a few more welcome additions to the group. The weekend jaunts to downtown have all but stopped. Clubs have been replaced with home parties. Takeout pizzas have given way to multi-course home-cooked meals. Then the first baby arrives with much fanfare. A couple more are on their way.

Life and years have such a surreal way of creeping up on you. Very soon, you start saying things like the "thirties are the new twenties"... You attend birthday parties of 20 somethings and wonder who are these people? I was 20 something not too long ago. How did things change so fast? And what do I have to show for my advancing years apart from a receding hairline, slowing metabolism and muscle aches that just refuse to go away?

And you hope you are a better person now than you were 10 years ago. You are thankful for a core group of friends that still enjoy the company of each other, and you know you can rely on when in need. You look at yourself from someone else's eyes and realize you have it good. You are with the person you love the most, you've walked through the hallowed halls of top schools, you are excited about your impending fatherhood.

You finally get it - soap operas are not all that bad. Some lives are full of changes, and some run a steady course punctuated by a few life-changing events. While it might not be absorbing viewing every day of every week of every year, you know you would not have it any other way. You are thankful for what you have.