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A mom speaks about taking charge of her life and finding newer interests and reviving the old ones, as her kids grow up and she has more time for herself.
Right now I am at that stage of my life where my teen is getting more and more independent everyday. No more worrying about what he’ll wear. No more chasing homework. No more story reading at nap time. No more micro managing the “baby” stuff.
And in a way that’s good. But it leaves me with this gaping span of time at hand.
Having been a 24/7 mom for the past 16 years, it feels like sudden unemployment. A kind of joblessness till 4:30 pm when my son gets home from school, and then again, after a quick snack and a shake (the milk kind and the shoulder kind) he runs off for some class or the other – golf, guitar, tennis, or to just catch up with his pals in the condo lawns.
This year, I decided, enough thumb twiddling. It was time to take stock of my life. To re-access the possibilities and grab the opportunities. To basically “reclaim” some “me time.” God knows I have earned it – fair and square after a good bit of my life spent diligently “taking care” of my family in every way, often times at the cost of chasing my passion.
Despite this misleading undertone of guilt and sacrifice, it was a time I thoroughly enjoyed, and given another chance I’d do no different. But I have also come to realize that I, being a mom-wife-daughter-friend, owe myself some moments. And as life progresses, especially for a woman, she’s got to pull out newer and better roles to don from that famous hat of hers.
So some serious pondering of my true place in the scheme of things happened, that led to some re-adjustment of priorities!
All of it was however, easier said than done I tell you! Picking up the threads after years is quite unnerving to begin with. But the new age has a plethora of possibilities to offer.
I started out by going to watch plays and movies in the evening all on my own as father and son bonded at home over ‘live’ telecasts of the PGA Tours or IPL eating paneer Maggi. It was the best thing, getting re-introduced to Ghalib, Ismat and Shakespeare alongside meaningful classic cinema.
Then I began studying my adopted city and vising some of the interesting spots out here.
Mumbai’s a multi-faceted metropolis and some of its areas have thankfully retained their quaint charm after all these years of development and reclamation. I was steeped in nostalgia when some of my global friends and school mates joined me on my weekend jaunts to painting exhibitions in Kala Ghoda, cozy cafes in Bandra, world-famous-in-Mumbai vada pav outlets in Worli, antique sellers in Chor Bazaar, book readings at the awesome Kitab Khana, flamingo spotting in Navi Mumbai wetlands and photography sessions at the Fort. We joked like old times and laughed out loud sitting at the iconic Leopold as if it was just yesterday that we were together in school gobbling gol gappas at the road-side thela. How wonderfully refreshing!
Once the fun-bit was in place, I began to crave something more worthwhile. That’s when I joined (after much research) a few groups that have now come to be the source of mindful sustenance and sanity in my life.
First my book club, a bunch of crazy ladies, who took me out of my “comfort zone” and got me reading a new variety of books from the compelling Forty Rules of Love and Partition Stories to the breezy reads The Weight Loss Club and The Husband’s Secret.
Then came my chance encounter with a “green brigade” of conscientious millennials dedicated to the idea of spreading eco-awareness through the mantra of Reduce, Recycle and Re-use. From time to time I volunteer for various campaigns in the city, including “Say NO to Plastic” and Beach Cleaning drives that rope in corporates and school kids to protect and preserve our environment. It is a source of such immense satisfaction that I just drop everything to go pick plastic from the beach or feed underprivileged kids.
Even my family has come to gamely accept my new routine and seeing my enthusiasm, actually encourage and support me in my efforts. The happy fallout of all this is that I get to meet a whole variety of like-minded individuals – teachers, RWA office bearers, birders, student activists, theatre personalities, artists – who are single-handedly or collectively trying to make a difference – to be the change they want to see. This scenario has limitless possibilities and keeps me gainfully occupied and satisfied. I can’t believe sometimes that it was so simple, all I had to do was take charge and reach out.
This new thinking has come into my life like a breath of fresh air and I have also gradually started painting and doing embroidery – my hobbies as a child and now, a soul-satisfying passion, a calming influence.
Ever since I have spread my wings, I believe I can fly and I want to soar. Next on my bucket list: travelling with people I don’t know. Crossing new boundaries. Making new friends. Re-inventing myself. Taking my writing to the next level. Facing my fears and seeking challenges. Because “life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about CREATING yourself!”
(Do tag people you know who have “created themselves”… inspiring others to strive towards living a fuller, more meaningful life!)
Image source: YouTube
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