Jul 16, 2015

The Cherry on Top

There was a time when I was young, brimming with energy, and living as if the world was waiting to be conquered by me. There were parents to take care of all my needs, siblings who were partners in all crimes, cousins who I loved to bits, and very few, but very dear friends who would take a bullet for me. All I had to do was bask in that love and attention. I really had everything-- the cake, the icing, and the cherry on top!

There were many things I dreamt of doing and believed I had all the time in the world for that.

With time, came marriage, followed by motherhood, and things were never the same again, to say it in plain words. Marriage brought its own set of responsibilities, complexities and I discovered new dimensions of life. It did not take much effort to settle into domesticity and take care of things like piles of laundry and soiled dishes and other household chores, albeit with the help of maids!

Then came my kids, one after the other, six years apart. Life became a mad mix of sleepless nights and tiring days. However, there is nothing more captivating than the toothless grin of a toddler, and I happily wiped my children's runny noses, kissed off their bruises, played silly games and sang rhymes with them. With time, I learnt to play Uno, swing racquets, swish beyblades and play everything else my kids played. I enjoyed it all a lot, but hardly ever realised how I lost a bit of myself with every passing day.

The kids soon grew up to be of school going age, one after the other. When my son began going to school for the entire day, I still had my little daughter with me. And then, as she turned 3, she also joined a preschool last year. I was very much looking forward to it, as every bone in my body was tired by then and I believed I needed some time to myself also. However, once she settled in her school routine, I found that it was very difficult to spend those few hours alone.

In my endeavour to make the most of that time, I first began spring cleaning my house. And I kept stumbling upon things that I had packed and stashed away, either so that the kids would not spoil them, or so that I would not get distracted from my children. I found myself saying 'How I loved reading, how I loved music, how I loved trying recipes, how I loved this and how I loved that'.....Loved?? LOVED? Why was it all in past tense? Didn't I love all that now also? Or had I forgotten what I liked and loved? It was evident that I had lost touch with my old self, and everything associated with it.

It was as if I woke up from deep slumber. I knew had to do something about it. And I don't have all the time in the world for that now. I am almost (yes, almost!) 40! And there is still so much that I have not done. And it also dawned upon me that I had actually forgotten some of those things on my to-do list, maybe because I was too absorbed with my kids, or maybe because I am growing old, after all! Though I didn't resent spending all my time and energy on my family, I did resent that I had pressed some 'pause' button on my life.

I knew that only I could help myself. I had to go out of my cocoon and look at the world around. And find a place for myself, not only as someone's wife or someone's mother, but as what I am (or was, or used to be.......whatever!). I knew that this is the only life I have, and I can't let it slip away from my hands like this.

Reading and writing helped me a lot. I read and read- newspapers, magazines, on the net, on my phone, everything I came across. And though whatever I wrote is nothing great, I at least had an outlet for my thoughts and views.

The place I live is a lively and eventful one, which I had not paid any attention to earlier. Interacting with people helped me find new avenues to channelise my time and energy. I was able to revive old friendships and old hobbies. I made new friends and learnt new skills. And all of it went on, one thing leading to another.

And now, almost a year has passed since then. And I have been able to tick quite a few boxes in this one year. The to-do list keeps growing, thanks to my new found hunger to explore. And I have wonderful sisters and friends who encourage me and even accompany me in my quest. I am not only a happier person, but also a more relaxed mother. And thanks to my age, I am more sure of myself, more confident and able to voice my opinion better.

And I find myself saying ' Yeah!! You still have it ALL- the cake, the icing, annnnnd the cherry on top!' 


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