Tuesday, 23 June 2015

an ode to worry.....

Just as I returned from my morning run and was unwinding in my balcony, the husband walked upto me and showed me the below article.. his words "read it anu! this is so U!".... and as I read it I could see myself in the writer's place.... friends who never knew me in my 20's, don't think can imagine that I was an anti-dote of what I am now!And most of my friends who knew me in my 20's are not part of my day-to-day life now...
My Paper 22/6/15

I hated following a routine (in my childhood), in my single life (almost 8 years) everyday I had a story to tell- maybe walk out of the apartment without the keys, land up at the airport with the wrong tickets, fracture my leg at an event, take off on bizarre trips like rafting, hiking (sometimes even alone) and always unplanned....

And today, I feel that I worry with every breathe- worry about (inconsequential) things in my home, worry about the kids, worry about the meals for the day, worry for my family back home, worry even while I have to go out for dinner with my husband (will I be back in time, am I doing the right thing leaving the kids home). I worry when the kids are away in India spending time with their grand parents, I worry when I am on holiday with my husband.

About to hit 40 soon, I wonder where this is going to take me. I wonder why I worry? Is it for what I have or for the fear of losing it? Or maybe unwanted work I poke my head into and tire myself out with. Or the mundane job lists I have created for myself and I believe I don't have a way out to not do it...but one thing is clear- this 'worry' is self-created.

Do we all change like this? Or is it just me? Today with the kids a bit grown up, I try (yes try) to chill a bit. I try to let go. But it's not easy. I forever wonder how tough it must have been for my mother to have a kid like me and more importantly not to try and change that side of me...I see a lot of myself in my younger girl- very impromptu, very casual, always happy. And I try hard to just let her be!

Of course two things have calmed me lately- my running and my writing. Both have taught me that its fine to keep that phone on silent (or not carry it when u run) and it's fine to shut your mind away from everything while writing an article. 

Would I ever find the 'old' me again? Can I spend a day not looking at my watch and my lists? Maybe that's a start I can make for myself. And not worry about the next meal and think about who would 'like' to eat what and then worry about getting it made!

Monday, 15 June 2015

break free or accept failure?

Tuesday: The song by 'Queen' goes well with my current state of mind..'break free'. It's more a mindset issue. I kind of feel I am living in a 'box'. I have clear entry and exit points- by that I mean clear 'timelines' to get my work for the day done- starting from my run early in the morning, waking up the kids, getting them ready for school, grocery shopping, organising dinner, playtime and then the dinner and bed time routine. Do 'we' really need a routine for ourselves? Do we need to always follow that to the 'T'?

Unknowingly, this got tested last week- My husband suggested we go out for dinner mid-week (just me and him). Of course that was a bit of a shocker- it meant, he needs to come back from work on time, we need to eat a quick bite and be home before kids get to bed..It took me a couple of hours to say 'yes'. But somewhere inside me, I knew I wanted to 'break free'. I wanted to see if this was going to change anything in my day-to-day life. And surprisingly the whole outing was smooth. The kids were in their routine. They got some 'me' time together, while we grabbed some of 'ours'. But not to miss, that I kept looking at the time during our dinner out.I am hoping I can get over that in the next few times.

A second instance- I decided to go watch a movie on a Sunday evening with my 8-year old (with school the next day). It took me a while to convince her, that breaking some of our 'own' created rules is feasible. For her more than the movie, the excitement of an outing on a Sunday evening (I think) was more liberating.

So where does this leave me? or the kids? I think over the years, I have started to feel a bit bound and rigid. And unknowingly, this rigidity started to form around the kids too. I could see that they would feel uncomfortable doing anything outside the set routine. In the long run, I don't want them to have 'fixed' ideas on what is 'right' and 'wrong' or more importantly I want them to be adaptable. This maybe one way to keep their thinking flexible.  I still haven't been able to 'break free' completely (as a mum) but for me little baby steps are a good start. Only time will tell, if my approach is right.

Thursday: After attending the year-end choir concert of my eight-year old, it took me back a few months when this whole thing started. At the start of the academic year, she had mentioned about her interest to audition for the choir at school. I had not taken it too seriously and had let it pass without intervening to help her. A few days later, my girl came home disappointed. She said we had missed the deadline to audition for it and she couldn't be a part of it. I think that was her first interface with 'rejection' or maybe 'failure'. The fault was mine and her's and we both learnt some lessons. For her, it was more of starting to be alert,  only she can chase her goal, and that nothing in life comes easily (and no longer on a platter). This was of course a very small instance but I guess at her age, that's where it starts.

As a mother for me, it was about making her realise that now she needs to fight some of her battles herself and never go with the intention to only 'succeed', for her to apprehend that failure is fine and what is more important is the baby step towards your goal that you have taken.  I think she always has a great example of her elder cousin brother who is a budding national-level sportsman and has to face defeat often. We have always seen him take it with a wide smile and only learning more from it.

For her luck, auditions opened up again and I think I succeeded somewhere! I wasn't even aware when she auditioned and finally got chosen. Of course I never made a big deal out of the success in the house and let it pass as just another 'initiative'. Or else had she failed, her pain would have been more.

Maybe our upbringing and the adversities we faced (atleast me) in our day-to-day lives taught me my lessons of life and made 'changes' easy for me to accept. I know situations are different with this generation but am hoping that somewhere my core values stay the same and my kids learn to accept failure the way I did it with a 'smile'.

Friday, 5 June 2015

a new mid-path

How often have you come across the word 'mid-life' crisis....well we used to laugh about it a few years ago and now it stands in front of most of us....yes I can see I am there!!! Strangely it means different things to different people- for some it's about not starting to look old, for some it's a realisation of kids growing up, for some it's about doing things that have been on their 'to do' list for years, for some it's time to give up work and for some (like me) it's time to get back to work!! 
I have been a 'muddled' head for the last 3 weeks... too many thoughts with no clarity. That's a bit rare with me as usually I am very clear and know exactly what I want (even my husband complains that I never ask for advice).

I had some (chance) meetings with some old acquaintances in the last few weeks. When I mean old they are from my work days. Of course they are where I left them but me, I have moved far ahead in life and totally away from my ambitions and (at one time) my only goals. 

Of course these meetings took me back a few years. I enjoyed some of those moments and honestly was a bit swayed as well. There were moments of weakness and some moments of happiness and contentment. The jumbled head was unsure which one felt right!

I think for us (ex- career) and now stay at home mum's, the 'right' time of when to go back is so fluid. And the bigger question being do we ever want to go back to that pace of life? Also, we may never be able to go back to what we really did, and maybe this is what they call 'mid-life crisis' for some of us. At this stage is probably when you have to look for that alternate path that brings you stimulation, happiness, contentment, and some money (to indulge in buying that dress or bag you have eyed!!).

Having done public relations for 15 years, even today I can feel it's 'in me'. Be it while reading a feature, watching an interview, I still view it from a PR person's angle. But is that a career I would go back to? Yes but surely not at the pace I lived it then.

Lots of discussions happened in the house- with the man, my ex-partner who stays in Dubai (who truly is my 'professional' soul-mate) and dear friends.  I have some clear answers, but am not sure of the path that will take me there. I (still) want to be there for my kids, I don't want to get too busy, I want that steady income (to buy that dress), I want to be able to write and I want to keep myself stimulated. Wow! that's not asking for much right??? My husband joked, " I will be happy if anyone will patiently hear out all your 'ifs and buts' and still say you have a job at hand"....

And then I came across this piece- an interview of Farhan Akhtar (me and am sure most of my Indian friends drool over him)- How Farhan Akhtar made plan A work
The feature answered a lot of questions for me. Yes be passionate about what you do, give it your best (be it your home or your work- giving both my best at the same time has always been a challenge for me!!), go with your gut, trust your friends (they know you really well) and hard work always pays!

A few days later and after an early morning run, my mind was all clear. I knew I had to find a (new) mid-path for myself. I was ready to say 'no' to anything that didn't give me a comfort, I did not fear rejection anymore. Maybe this is the start of a new path for me.
My writing, my running has shown me new ways to live and be happy. It has made me often stop and think about life, my wants, my happiness and learn to enjoy the moment. And the optimistic me feels that I think I just successfully crossed one of my mid-life crisis's and found a new path to some of my future dreams and aspirations, and the route to buy 'that' dress every month!