It was long ago this post was written “Is my life different than my naani? The point may have lost the steam, but still sharing the part 3 in continuation with the last two posts. Had written this post long time back but never got to publish. So, it may not make sense after the huge gap but nevertheless, here it is.
It was a moment of contemplation that triggered the thought, “Is my life different than my naani? A quiet moment in the chaos of house and domesticity. It came from the point of pain. What followed was a terrain of thoughts; jumbled, entangled, chaotic, senseless, swinging from hope to despair. Of being helpless and powerless. I still am sometimes in some situations. There is a subtle joy in that too. In being a victim. Until you decide to take charge and look for solutions. You may fail. You may curse. It’s okay, but nothing will come out of it. There is no option but to try again.
Since most of you felt that talking about the challenges should result in some solutions, here are they. The actions I have taken for a happier and merrier me.
1. Manage Your Way Out of The Emotional Dilemma
Handling emotional play in an Indian society is the most challenging and morally confusing aspect to counter. What is this home we are talking about? It’s our family, the people we love the most in the world. We don’t mind moving our butts to cater to their needs out of love, care and concern. How can we forget the times when others did so many things for us selflessly? How our parents took care of us when we needed them. How can you say no to your kids who are completely dependent on you? We can’t. That’s our culture and we are also conditioned to function like this. A single ‘No’ to any work may throw us into a guilt of a lifetime. How to find your space then?
Prioritise things. On days you can stretch happily, stretch. Give others some comfort and happiness. On days you want to constrict, don’t stretch. Say ‘No.’ For everyone’s sake. It’s all an inter-woven play of give and take, love and hate, good and bad, happy and sad. Perform your best like in any other area but don’t lose your sanctity. Look for ‘personal crevices of time’. If you can’t find any, create new. Responsibilities can’t be shrugged off but the burden can be. Load yourself only to a point where you can lift it happily. The society may or may not change. Only you can change and that is enough for that tactical shift in societal norms.
2. Don’t Fall in Tags’ Trap
Multi-tasking, a tag so wisely chosen for women and a tag they so warmly do justice to, does not come easily to me. It’s a trick to keep us going for the benefit of others. Is it a curse or an asset, I am yet to figure out. I am ready to be labelled selfish and lazy but won’t trade my free time to earn the much coveted, “hardworking and sacrificing” woman. Everyone judges you anyway. While reading this, most of you would be judging me by simply giving in to the play of words. Not realising, no matter how impeccably I may write, I can’t give you a complete picture of what I am trying to say. So, do what you think is worth the effort and brace yourself to earn some unworthy tags. Everything loses value after a while. But don’t waste your precious time in proving to others. Invest in self-development too. Something our naanis used to do too.
3. Pick Happiness Over Everything Else
Obviously it does not mean eat pizza every day if it makes you happy. Nothing is more special than a happy you. A smooth functioning house on the surface (sparkling floors, timely meals, everyday laundry, grocery shopping, and zillion others minuscule tasks done perfectly) and lot of suffering inside is simply not worth the effort. Let it be a chaotic house outside but a happy you inside. Any chore done with a vibration of anger and frustration is a waste. It may be easier said than done. But give it a try. A small window may soon start opening up, while thinking about “Is my life different than my naani?”
4. Choose Chores (like Pizza and Subway Toppings)
Just like you pick and choose pizza toppings and subway sandwich fillings, do the same with your chores. Do the ones you like and outsource the rest, if you can. Work out your own solutions depending on your personality. Case in Point: I love a neat and tidy house, which is my workplace too. I like it to be creative and happy and thriving and positive. I redecorate it periodically, rearrange the stuff and do small things here and there. I love hosting people too. Lots of tea talks, coffee conversations, a comfortable stay, late night walks, sunset views, binge watching, or plainly doing nothing. I am big on having happy experiences. I can enthusiastically make 10 rounds of the grocery store to stock things up. What I dislike is, cooking meals. Now, combine the two chores, and I am the worst person to be around. So, I try to outsource cooking. This ensures I am happy and do the chores I like with enthusiasm than wasting my energy on something I dislike. There are rare phases when some chores can’t be outsourced. Then, simply bow your head and work 🙂
5. Thumb Rule For Every Pain!
This is nothing new, but sometimes we just need to revisit the basics. Take a break. Do what it takes to make yourself a priority. Read, write, cook, clean, hibernate, garden up, choose philanthropy, choose selfishness, kick the ass, lick the ass, but find your balance. Choose a day or two when you do nothing. Trust me, the house will function smoothly. May be not the way you run, but it will survive. As a bonus, you will experience a different way the things function without you. Do more things out of love and less out of responsibility. The moment it begins to feel a burden, withdraw. Tweak some rules and manage it your way. Not what is the ideal but practical. I go for a drive with music, find the rhythm of my breath, and come back home with a change in vibrations. I visit a library, sip some coffee, and my life gets its magic back. A small outing can be a big game changer for a person like me. You will have to find your own nirvana. Once you find your centre, you will love performing the same chores with renewed enthusiasm. So get up and look for that missing sock, with husband in tow. After all, it is he who has to go out wearing the mismatch.
And share the problems, as I emphasised here. Not for idle talks but finding solutions. And sometimes to just lighten up your heart. It works every time.
So what do you think, “Is my life different than my naani?”