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Starting A Career At 48 Doesn’t Mean I’ve Been Idle All These Years!

Posted: June 17, 2021

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I have been a homemaker all my life, but I don’t remember a time I didn’t write or paint or study. So I’ve honed my skills over a lifetime.

Most homemakers carry a small seed of shame, one that gradually blossoms into a poisonous tree each time someone asks you what you do and you don’t find the appropriate words. You mumble homemaker or stay-at-home mother and if the person asking the question is somewhat woke they launch into a lengthy platitudinous speech about it being the hardest and most important job and you want to scream, “Then pay me!”

But mostly the word homemaker is followed by a small, tense silence after which you are ignored, for homemakers can have nothing of worth to say, can they?

Starting a new career at 48

And here I am then, at 48, kickstarting a new career working with colleagues half my age.

I’m often asked why I didn’t write or crochet or paint before. Why I don’t have a book or two to my name or a mile long career. I know running a home, bringing up children, homeschooling them doesn’t seem like much of a career, who am I going to ask for references, my kids? But it was (and will continue to be) a very demanding career that I had to invest my whole body, mind and soul into, without a single holiday or PF or medical.

Being underrated as ‘just’ a homemaker & mom

Homemakers after farmers are the most idealistic people in the world. We invest in a future that we know nothing about, that we’ll never get the credit for.

Every day of my career as a homemaker was an investment in the dream of a better world. Providing my children with a stable home environment and a strong, empathetic mother means that they turn out to be good human beings who at the least will not unleash any unresolved trauma on the world and will in fact contribute to making the world a better place. That’s the direct result of conscious, conscientious parenting. I insist therefore that I am as much a patriotic Indian as the jawan at the border.

My skills were learnt in a non-competitive way

I write, crochet, paint, because I like doing them, and fortunately, because I didn’t have to consider them as skill-sets for immediate material gain, I had the time to hone them slowly. Life helped, just as a river shapes a waterfall for thousands of years. No one hurries a river to get to its final destination.

Life is a very stern teacher and the hardest course you’ll ever take. But it’s filled with opportunities and if you are lucky, you’ll get a lifetime of time.

Parenting is so darn hard, there is absolutely no room for error, that everything else feels like a holiday in comparison. I feel very giggly to be paid for my writing (and art). No one even noticed when I was drowning, as a young mother with postpartum depression, but they congratulate me on what took me a couple of hours/days.

So is 48 too late to begin again?

Skills don’t always come with a college course, though I’d never diss formal education. Actresses in Bollywood who retire for a time are often asked about their comeback story. And most of them become annoyed at that, saying they never went away, they were interruptions in the form of life yes, but they never stopped being actresses.

I don’t remember a time I didn’t write or paint or study. So these skills that I’m now able to monetize, are as old as me. The seemingly new bend in the river has been in the making for a long time.

Image source: a still from the film Listen… Amaya

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