I have always believed in the power of trying, and my failures have always been proof that I have tried. In the end, ‘we only regret the chances we didn’t take’.
I am a woman in my early 40s. Other than being a loving daughter, dutiful daughter in law, caring wife, and a responsible mother, I have done reasonably well in my professional career of 20 years and earning enough to give a financial cushion to the man of the house.
Honestly, managing so many roles, household responsibilities, and earning at the same time for almost two decades is nothing less than an achievement to me. However, amidst playing so many characters, I have lost my own self and the woman in me many times. Every time I lost myself to the responsibilities and obligation of being a good ‘someone’, I made an honest attempt to rediscover myself.
I came from a middle class conservative upper caste household where good daughters never said “No”. I was a good daughter always. I dressed the way my parents wanted me to, killing all my desire to use make-up and wear western outfits. I opted for a career that my father found suitable for me considering my gender and future life as a married woman. I only had female friends which my parents approved of.
Though as a daughter I never had ‘freedom of choice’, yet I fell for a boy. No one approved of my choice. I chose a boy who wasn’t from my community, but who also came from a middle-class family like ours. He had recently started working in a private company and had quite a few responsibilities, no future savings, or a car or house in his name. Yet I fought with my conservative parents and chose him over any of the well-off, rich sounding proposals that offered a more prosperous and luxurious married life ahead.
Finally, we were married. The first loan that my husband took was to buy jewellery for me to be given at the wedding. Since then, we have been paying off some loan or the other, even though we lead a comfortable life. We could afford a car within a year of our wedding, but we always chose mid-segment cars over any of the luxury cars.
After about 18 years of marriage, we have just bought a 3 BHK house in our name, and are still paying the EMIs of a housing loan, even though a small one. All these years, we have spent enough on two travels every year, though we haven’t travelled abroad much except for two Asian countries.
My husband gave up his well paying, well established career at its peak, and started with his own venture after 10 years of our marriage. I am glad he chose contentment over hefty money. In short, my selfish choice could not establish its worth to my parents. All these years with my husband, I have seen a slow and steady financial progress but a rapid growth in the inseparability that makes us happy. Though my choice has not made me rich, yet I have no regrets in choosing happiness over money.
A few months in marriage and everyone expected me to produce a baby. I raised enough eyebrows and questions for not having a baby for the initial five years. I ensured to enliven our relationship first and secure our future financially to be able to bear the responsibility of a child. After 5 years in our wedlock, I was blessed with a daughter, and she is my only child.
I took a career break for a year upsetting everyone at work, who suggested I go on a maternity break instead. My parents wanted me to hire a maid then and resume work instead of kicking off my career at its peak. They were sceptical about my losing my financial independence – we were yet not rich.
Just like any other baby, the first year was tough for my daughter too. She fell sick every two months, was hospitalized once, and nothing miraculous happened in terms of her health under my micro-supervision. I have no regrets in giving up my career on the peak, but I will cherish the delightful memories for the life of that one year with my daughter.
After a year in motherhood, I started to crave for a life other than being a mom. I yet again made a ‘selfish choice’ as I started working against the wish of my husband and in-laws.
I had to almost restart my career, and could never commit to a demanding job profile, since I had to maintain a balance between being a mother, wife, daughter in law, and a working woman.
Being a working mom, I could not accommodate most extra-curricular classes for my daughter. My daughter never won too many trophies. She did not participate in many inter-class competitions that others did. She is still not the best at everything, but whatever little she did, it made me proud of her and my parenting skills. I have no regrets in choosing a balance and have a little bit of both worlds together, if not the best of one.
I never wanted another child. I am selfish and do not want to go through the pains of producing and raising another child. I am aware of the fact that my daughter will not have anyone in this world to depend upon after her parents. I have no regrets in not giving her a sibling to fall back upon, but I am proud to raise an independent woman. She may not necessarily need to depend on a man for anything ever.
All these years, I tried to prove myself a dutiful daughter in law come whatever may. No matter it was at the cost of my own health and wishes. In my family, a dutiful daughter in law doesn’t depend on the maid for anything, cooks every day, attends to all family commitments, and does not claim any me time.
I tried to prove myself but failed. Eventually, I accepted that I can’t be perfect and learned to say a clear “No”. Initially, guilt took over, and I gave in to their unreasonable expectations. Gradually, I learnt to prefer my health and happiness over satisfying egos. I have no regrets in not being a good daughter in law. Instead, I am now healthier and happier.
I do not know how all marriages are, but by now, we have grown out of love – I am concerned about my husband’s well being and vice-versa. We are beyond ‘love’ now.
After numerous fights, arguments, disagreements, and everything else, we have made peace with silence between us. We have nothing much to talk about other than child and family. We are content to just sit in the same room in silence for hours, where he is glued to his phone and I am submerged in a book.
I have no regrets in accepting the fact the romance fades away with time. Instead, breaking the barriers, I rediscovered myself and chose to follow my passion for writing. To enhance my skills, I enrolled myself for a Digital Content Writing Course, and studied with students who were 20 years younger to me.
In order to follow my passion, I moved to part-time work, compromising some handsome money. In the past 2 years, I have already invested 6 hours on an average every day in writing articles/stories which are being published but never paid. I am not a famous author/writer, and my name is not listed on any of those lists which recognize inspiring women.
Yet, if any of my stories can make the slightest difference to a single life, or inspire any woman, I am accomplished as a writer. I have no regrets in choosing my passion over money and recognition.
Till now, I have made a few selfish choices against all odds to prove myself but eventually failed every time. I realize that these failures are the most significant learnings of my life. My self centred choices have never made everyone happy. Also, nothing miraculous has happened so far. I am yet to leave a mark on this world.
Though my life has yet not taken any awesomely marvellous leaps, yet, my choices invariably kept the woman in me alive. I have always acquired the strength to snatch the rein of my life into my own hands tightening it whenever needed.
None of my selfish decisions have been able to establish my worth in this world. My life remains still flawsome, but I have no regrets in being an ordinary woman with extraordinary contentment in life!
Image source: shutterstock
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Vandana is a freelance HR Professional, Content Writer, Soft Skills Trainer, and a Blogger. Her
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