I was extremely happy yesterday. It wasn’t like a lifelong dream had come true or anything like that. But several small happy events and decisions contributed to my high. I realized that is what makes me happy. Not the Big Thing, but many small happy things. I thought I’d list the Top 5 things that make some days better than others!
1- Appreciation/Recognition: Yes, I am an approval seeker. Am facing it squarely, with no regrets or apologies. Nothing motivates me more than someone I respect saying I did a good job. This is more relevant in the case of work, but applies generally as well.
2- A piece of writing completed: A blog post, an article, a section of a research paper. Fiction, non-fiction. Short, long. Emotional, descriptive. It doesn’t matter what, but doing a solid bit of writing everyday gives me a huge sense of achievement.
3- The prospect of travel: Huge mood lifter! I literally want to travel the world, but I’m equally happy with more mundane travel. Booked tickets for a short trip to Mumbai with my kids to spend time with friends yesterday and that put a smile on my face for the rest of the day!
4- Family time: Fun, crazy, pointless activity time with the children, Rahul, the mums, extended family and friends-turned-as-close-as-family has become a vital part of my day. And I need a shot of this every day to feel normal and sleep well. Usually, it’s watching Aadyaa play with her friends in the park in the evening, while we mums and dads chat and catch up on gossip! Other times, it’s catching late night movies or cooking as a family!
5- An arty aside: If I can find time to practice dance or music, it adds that extra zing to my day. On days like yesterday, when I pushed myself to do both, I feel satiated. This is the ultimate soul food!
Yesterday was perfect because all these 5 above came true…. I am still smiling!
Last year, I was all about setting targets and making resolutions. I set myself up to blog each day of the year, I made a list of resolutions and blogged them so everyone would know. I was constantly making lists, pumping myself up, re-evaluating my progress.
This year, I have done none of those things. Yes, I do have concrete plans and some not-so-firm ones, but all in all, I have a much better grip on life than I did at the beginning of 2012. Conclusion? Making public promises to myself is certainly my way of pushing myself out of a place of self-doubt and inertia and into a phase of action. Setting up small goals and achieving them is my way of creating a situation where I can pat myself on the back every day, every once in a while and feel god about life.
So don’t I need that level of reassurance any more? Probably not. 2012 was a defining year for me in terms of resolving doubts about my larger goals in life. Of course, one never knows if the answers you have are the ‘right’ ones and you may realize years later that you were meant to do something else entirely….but I don’t believe in that stuff at all. There is no right answer, if you feel it’s right today you gotta go with it!
I don’t know what 2013 will bring, but I am not anxious about it in any way. I know I will see many dreams come true, even if I don’t know what those dreams are. And so, I have decided that instead of putting down a list of resolutions, I will strive to dream a new dream everyday. And I will not make these public, yet. These are what will drive me to have a larger appetite for life, to think bigger, to not be satisfied with what I have but egg myself to do more, want more, achieve more. It’s a totally new agenda for me, as I have until now held on to the mantra of satisfaction and believed in being happy with whatever I have. Let’s see how this pans out….
“Can a woman have it all?”
It is a statement that infuriates me no end. Can anyone have it all? No, right? So it’s a stupid question. Yet, the perception is that love, riches, power and fame, in no particular order, constitutes ‘all’. That love can be substituted by sex and happiness, whatever that elusive thing is, plays no part in this construction further muddies the myth of ‘having it all’ for me.
It upsets me that the rhetoric around compromise is assumed to apply more for women than men. Is not life a negotiation of compromises and priorities for each one of us? Is it not about recognising opportunities and choosing which ones to take and which to let go?
At certain points in their lives, men and women feel their disappointments bitterly. At others, they feel let down, either by themselves or by others. In this, perhaps men are wont to take responsibility more often for their losses, while women might tend to blame it on others. That goes with the territory of patriarchy that we accept around us, especially when we question if women can have it all!
I wouldn’t want it all. I couldn’t handle it, I’m sure!
Yesterday was Eva’s birthday party and Eva is my daughter’s best friend, neighbor and daily playmate. From the moment the kids woke up, they were in the party mood and wanted to be part of everything, hanging out at the neighboring house watching the balloons go up, the streamers being put, the food being cooked. We had to drag them home for breakfast and barely was she bathed, Aadyaa was back at Eva’s place!
As a new mom when my son was two or three, I thought kiddie birthday parties were the most boring events ever. Of course, now things have changed and I look at them with a completely different eye.
Yesterday, I was struck by the innocence of the children, the sheer joy they got from each others’ company and how deep their friendships and loyalties run! All the little ones there (average age 5) went out of their way to make the birthday girl happy, rallying around her and participating in every activity with gusto. Some kids were shy, others were remarkably outspoken and there were some who were simply on their own trip! Aadyaa waited politely for all the ‘guests’ to get their tattoos done before she got hers. Avandeeta thoroughly enjoyed the pasta, eating on her own silently and with great focus. The boys from Eva’s class explored the house, while the girls had great fun at a messy glue and paper sticking activity.
Later at dinner, we talked about other older children we know- the teenage variety and the kind of showdowns they were having with their parents. In a classic generation gap situation, the girl we spoke about was being subjected to unreasonable curfew times because she saw hanging out at a coffee shop a worthwhile thing to do while her parents simply do not understand it!
I wondered about what was going through the parents’ mind? Fear for our children and suspicion about their activities are closely interlinked and while no one denies we parents take action only in the best interests of our children, are we, by complicating the rule book, actually forcing them to lose their innocence earlier than necessary? When I tell my child he needs to fear and be suspicious of everyone, I am forcing him to think ‘why’? And kick-starting the sort of thought process that explores a variety of possible negative scenarios.
So what do we do? And how do we achieve the right balance between providing our kids with a secure environment and yet offering them sufficient exposure and presence of mind to recognize danger when they face it? I don’t think we will find an answer, every family would have to set their own rules.
As for me, every night, I look at the innocent faces of my kids when they are asleep, and thank the powers that be (which, ironically, I’m unsure I believe in!) that they experienced another peaceful and happy day!