Over half of January has gone by. 2014 is shorter by half a month!
It’s been a ‘wake up call’ sort of day for me. And the thoughts in my head have been about looking ahead. I’m making a conscious effort to break from the past in the sense of not spending too much time ruminating over the last year, what it was like, what I learnt, etc. That stuff is important, but I tend to overdo it and get dangerously into the zone of procrastinating over stuff I need to get done NOW and in the future.
So, why so dramatic? What am I waking up about?
A few really important things.
1. Finances: I’ve opted for flexi work and consultancy the last many years and the kids have been a cushy excuse. I can’t look at joining work full time immediately, for various reasons. But I realized that my flexi work often took up as much time as full time work and paid me very little. So this year, I’m going to be a little more hard-nosed about money. That, of course, also goes for my spending, as I gear up to apply for PhD programs this year and hope to slide back into student life over the next few years!
2. Priorities: Being superwoman ain’t easy. It’s also stupid! I’m taking Rahul’s advice in 2014 and focusing on ME. Of course, it doesn’t mean everything else fades away, but there will be times I will make choices that appear completely out of character. All those of you out there who think I already am a self-centered *****, get ready for more of that! No apologies.
3. Productivity: A big part of my self-improvement drive this year hinges on this. Managing my time better and also meeting targets set for myself will be critical for me to achieve my goals. To begin with, I’m betting on being more self-aware of my schedules and less scatter-brained as I’m juggling many things as usual. Accountability to myself is also something I will be very careful about. I’m one of the most self-delusional beings on the planet!
4. Focus: This is the toughest one and should have been the first, but I’m under-confident. It’s in my nature to segue here and there and I love the experiences that emerge from those distracted journeys. But I’ll have to change some of that this year.
So you can see. 2014 begins on a very different note. My list looks a lot more like the ones in self-improvement books. Already, it’s not sounding like me, but someone else. And I’m intrigued, amused, impressed, motivated and also a little bit blah about it already! Hmmm…
Aadyaa’s been unwell and clingy for a week. She and me suffered the same infection, so it’s been draining out for both of us. Yesterday, she threw a tantrum and wiggled out of school. This morning, we were relieved when she was bright and chirpy and raring to go.
Happily, she hopped and skipped her way to the bus stop, after negotiating that she would come back home by car and that mum (that’s me!) would come to get her. The big, white bus draws near us and stops. She’s smiling, but it’s a frozen sort of smile. Kids climb in. Udai and his friend Anisa wait, wanting to help Aadyaa by letting her get on before them. Then she freezes. I carry her inside, the parent on bus duty offers to seat her next to him, the conductor and others speak kind words. But nothing works, nada. Before I understand what is happening, she and me are off the bus. I wave it away and stand there, defeated, dazed.
Moments later, panic sets in. I know I can’t afford to let her miss another day of school. She has missed many days, there have been holidays in between and every passing day off school is making her feel awkward and maladjusted at the thought of facing schoolmates and teachers, distanced and out of sorts with any sort of regular routine (it us weeks and weeks to get her started at school, that’s the history!).
So there are hot words, trauma and we manage to rush and drop her to school. More clinginess, loads of patient handling (I swear I have no idea where those kind words came out of, all I felt like doing was howling!) and finally, she let me go. Its four in the afternoon now, and the clinginess has persisted after I picked her up and got her home. I have barely been able to go to the loo! Have managed to be at my computer only with great difficulty.
If I am so traumatized by Aadyaa’s clinginess, what must be her state of mind to be so clingy in the first place? I do understand there is some deep sense on insecurity, an inability to deal with changes in her life, that manifests in her wanting to keep her parents always before her eyes.
And me? Why am I so impacted by her behavior? I’ve been thinking about it the past few days and I see how hopelessly intertwined my ambitions, need for space and my expectations of support from my family are. I see her clinginess as another form of fetters; I lose hope that I will ever be free; free to be creative, free to follow my dreams, free to be me.
It’s a scary thought, to realize that I see my children in this way. I don’t want to think like this, but I cannot control my thinking either. I take a deep breath. I say to myself; this too, shall pass. And I remind myself that this world, its crazy pace, its pressure, the beckoning of fame and riches, the ego, is all an illusion. In reality, I am but a speck of dust.