Read on how to enrich your life by purpose, i.e. to find depth and, a reason to get out of bed each morning, your own Ikigai.
She loved her job in Abu Dhabi, and her parents live there too. The author takes us through her struggle with making the choice of moving back to India with her husband, though she is happy with it now.
So, we left Abu Dhabi to settle in Hyderabad.
My husband got a great work opportunity and started contemplating when we can move back to India, the earlier, the better.
I loved my job in Abu Dhabi. I was doing very well and looking forward to a rewarding career position in very less time. I was a Cognitive Skills Trainer, also called Brain Trainer for simplicity, or rather awakening ‘curiosity’. I am going to discuss my job later in a detailed post, because today, I’m thinking about something more important.
In crux, I did not want to leave Abu Dhabi. But, I did not want my husband to lose out on his work opportunity too. I wanted him to succeed, but I knew I won’t be comfortable in India. I would have to leave my childhood home, Abu Dhabi once again, I would have to live with my in laws, I would have to leave my dream job, my friends like family, my comfort zone, my air-conditioned bathroom, my dust-free home, my purchasing power, my ‘Thursday’ deadness and most of my so called terms and conditions behind.
After almost three months of arguments and blame-games and every kind of rough patch that could go through between us, I gave in, unwillingly.
This is not an exaggeration but a lot of my friends hated my husband for “doing this to me.”
“Why would you shift because he wants to relocate?”
“Why did he suddenly decide this?”
“How could he?”
“And what about your job?”
“Whatever happens, please don’t stay with your in-laws.”
“You are still young, that’s why you can’t retaliate.”
“There is nothing in India. No savings. No peace.”
“You’ll want to come back within 6 months. Soch lo.”
Not all of them were wrong. Yes, we were leaving a great chunk of our lives behind and with limited bank balance. Yes, living with your husband is so much more convenient than living with in-laws. Yes, I don’t know about my job. Yes, I will miss Abu Dhabi every single day.
Tears and fears continued. Sleepless nights, contemplations and accusations added. Small things became big mistakes. We never forgot but we didn’t want to kiss each other Goodbye before leaving for office. We avoided talking as much as possible. He planned for the final exit, documents and stamps. I planned my handover, updated my CV and applied for jobs in India, a farewell get-together and yes, my mind. I tried to keep it sane.
My father called me once during this prep and I was still cribbing. He almost yelled at me saying that I was overthinking. A lot.
I argued that I was right. I had the right to choose where I want to live, where I want to work and manage my future on my own. I might have been speaking for very long and he seemed to have listened patiently.
“Hello?” I said to check if he is still there.
He said very calmly, ‘Yes, so, I think you should go ahead. Live your life. But, then why are you forcing Rajesh to stay here? He has the right to choose his life as well. You want to stay here. You stay. Let him plan his exit and work in India.’
This was the most casual tone I had ever heard from Dad, but his words sure hit me like a storm.
I couldn’t speak. You know the feeling when there is some gooey ball in your throat and tears irritate your eyes to flow out? I fought the urge to cry.
‘You are very attached. And that’s why you will lose it, you have to lose it.”
He explained how the most difficult part in life was accepting what was happening and what will future bring. I welcomed Abu Dhabi with open arms but I was not allowing it to go away when it was time. I failed to understand that what’s for me will eventually be with me, and it will be for me, effortlessly. How hard I tried, with tears, with force, with love, with anger, with facts and practicality, I could not change his mind. I wanted him to be with me. I was ‘attached’ to him and to Abu Dhabi.
The idea of picking one left me clueless. We often confuse ‘attachment’ for ‘vitality’. Attachment is about fear and dependency. With attachment comes expectation, and with expectation comes frustration – Frustration to control people, time, situations, things that we wish were according to us, but are not.
I cried lesser since that day and argued less with my husband. I made an effort to cook his favorite food and plan road trips for the last few weekends we had. We explored seven emirates in three days. We had Koshari, Laban Ups, Zaatars and Al Rawabi juices. We cuddled babies and tried to imitate Arab accent while reading Khaleej Times. We plucked raw dates and clicked pictures with the UAE flag. We met friends as often as we could and talked till wee hours of the night. Then, we kept alarms for 5:30 AM, rushed to Corniche without disturbing anyone and stared at the clouds waiting for them to clear and expose the crimson sun.
And the clouds did clear. We saw the beautiful morning sun.
It’s been over 4 months in India and trust me, it’s not so bad.
True, there’s chaos and more family and more relatives and more responsibilities and oh-so-much dust and morning maid-issues and exceptionally VERY less time.
But you know what, when he comes back from work, all happy and content, I find no trace of regret in my decision. I am genuinely happy that he is happy. This might sound silly but I’m so proud of myself – That I didn’t succeed in coaxing him in my blind attachment for a city and a certain sort of life.
Yes, maybe I chose love over ambition. But, his smile makes all of it worth the choice.
A version of this was first published here.
Image source: the author
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