When I sat down to introspect what each of these words means to me, I also realised that many of them have changed in its meaning for me over the years.
Hope, for example. I was an ardent optimist, someone who was brave and took every challenge that life offered head-on, with gumption and with fortitude. Increasingly, my hope is dwindling. I do 'pretend' to be happy and hopeful, to continue maintaining the charade of being strong, but somewhere deep inside I am not as confident and hopeful as I used to be. And yet. And yet, I know...that I will find hope again. Soon (Hello- new four letter word!)
Care is also a word whose meaning has changed over the years. I believe I was care-free for too long and suddenly, after the lapse of all these years (which has resulted in the greying of certain hair, and an advancement in age nearing the big Four O's) when I have found my self as a woman I am being labelled selfish and careless. Statements like You don't "care" (about my loved ones) etc have become an increasing part of what I often hear. I care and even though no one believes me yet, in a few years, they will know (another smiling four letter word... How I love you!)
But over the years, there have been some remarkable achievements. Such as - hate as a word has moved positions in my life. I don't hate anyone as easily as I used to (when I was younger, ignorant and more egoistic).... I may "not like" a person or circumstance, but the word "hate" has virtually diminished from my life.
Come to think of it, even though a certain dog in my building peed into my waste bin which was lying outside my door for pick up, and I had to dispose it (the pee) off before I gave the waste bin away I still don't hate the owner for not keeping the pet under their control, for not even having the guts to apologise for the canine's behaviour, even though they were certainly with him when the act happened (as he is never let out alone, his master/s always accompany him). I just don't like them anymore...and make no attempts at civil conversations in the elevator... It also means that I need to work on "forgive" but thats a seven letter word and I am not discussing that today!
And then there is "rude"...which is what I have to endure as my tween daughter grows up (to metamorphose into a better human being, I am sure)... Every single suggestion, "Can you pls clean up your room?", "Can we have this-this for dinner?" is met with a rude response... I also put up with it, because as much as I'd like to kid myself into believing that I didn't behave this way with my mother, I know that I did. And I see myself behaving the way my mother did, being calm, firm and even joking about it. The humour dissipates the situation, and I find that I am also offering retribution to my own wonderful mother by following in her footsteps as I handle a brat just like myself!
Speaking of childhood, my mother always called me "Varsha Ritu" (Rainy season)...because according to her, I was always either crying or angry! I have tried to change that. I have worked on my anger and the tears and although most people who know me very closely would probably say I haven't succeeded much in either department, I believe I have made certain strides. I do cry, often and a lot when I am hurt or heartbroken (but then who doesn't!)...but I have learned to control my temper. The problem is that I don't control it with people my own age but only with children, especially my own.
Last but not the least (and on a hopefully lighter note) I recently had the good fortune of cleaning up dog poop when my daughter decided to get pups of a stray dog home for two days. Until now, I have kept away from having a pet because after spending close to nine years cleaning human poop, pee and puke (hands-on mothers - you DO know what I am talking about!), I'd kinda had had enough of the Ps and was completely unwilling to take on the responsibility of a canine, which I have been told comes with its fair share of the Ps... I am sort of averse to the Ps which is also why I use gloves to wash the fish bowl, got the maid to clean up the mess a pigeon nest had created on my window sill and feel a surge of bile in my throat when I have to clean up bird poop from my terrace... But handling those three pups made me fall in love with them. And I do think we shall pick up a pet soon, despite the 'fear' of the Ps...
In a seemingly telling tale of the process of evolution, I'd like to think I have grown wise (another four letter word) as my vocabulary has grown to fit in more and more four letter words. I have also grown a tad cynical, which I feel the turning wheels of time shall also repair eventually... All in all, four letter words, I welcome more of you in my life even as I say goodbye to some...