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Everyone deserves a second chance. Sometimes we are too harsh on ourselves, but let's back up and give our life a rest and an another chance.
As a young girl, one of my most cherished dreams was that of an ideal marriage and the joys of motherhood. Believing every bit of the fairy tales I grew up reading, I knew Prince Charming would appear in due course.
One only had to be a good girl like Rapunzel, Thumbelina, and Cinderella to deserve one- this vision of a perfect life was demolished at the age of 28.
My husband was not what I had imagined him to be. The crashing of my dreams was devastating and the solitude even more painful.
While the loss of companionship was painful, what pained me the most was that I could not become a mother. All my friends birthed babies and posted cuddly pictures of their chubby infants.
Pangs of envy and self-pity would ever so often consume me. As my biological clock ticked away, the desperation got even more intense.
I was willing to make any compromise as long as there would be attachment and a child. So, I signed up on a very possible dating portal in the hope that something would click soon.
After having strange conversations with people, I kept assuring myself that, in the larger scheme of things, a few aberrations were acceptable.
But destiny kept prolonging the wait. The more I pined for it, the more it eluded me. I do not know when I gave up and reconciled to my circumstances.
As other aspects of my life took centre stage- my career, classical dance, community work, social life, marriage and motherhood got relegated to the background.
It was time I learnt to savour the freedom of singledom, even chuckling with the excitement of escaping the trappings of family responsibilities that my friends complained of.
Engagement with children came through my NGO, DEEP Foundation. DEEP works on inculcating life skills for children from lesser-served backgrounds.
When someone asks me how many kids I have, I proudly say 55! As a ‘maasi’ to my friends’ children, I love being their confidante and mentor. These cherished moments continue to nourish my maternal instinct completely.
Four years ago, when I was least expecting or wanting any change in my life, I was introduced to someone who fitted my fairy tale hero image.
His calm and compassionate demeanour was alluring. I became aware of what I had been missing all these years- the comfort of care and companionship.
I felt the weight of the fiercely independent streak I was wearing with vanity drop with a thud. The thought of knowing that someone has your back was soothing.
With no cloud of desperation looming over me, I took my time to get to know him better. At this stage in our lives, it wasn’t going to be a bed of roses. Massive disagreements, annoying habits, and personality variances tested our relationship to the hilt. But, slowly and surely, we learned to negotiate and navigate our differences.
As life coaches, we had no option but to use all the frameworks we have been trained on. We carefully evaluated our paradigms of relationship, learnt a new way of communicating our desires and irritants, and crafted a vision as a couple.
It helped us immensely when we were ready to tie the knot for a second time, in February 2020.
In the last two decades, experience and perhaps maturity have brought to light illuminating insights.
There is no right time for anything in life. It is right when it feels so. Sometimes pressing the pause button on critical decisions is a much better idea than forcing it to happen.
Slowing down helped me pay attention to subtler messages in my environment, those that helped me either pursue or withdraw from a prospective relationship. The gnawing unease when something is not right even though you can’t articulate it, the synchronicity of events, and a surge of strong emotions; were pointers that found a place in my decision-making process.
Would someone with a fat paycheck but no emotional sensitivity fit the bill? Or someone who is an adept diaper-changing daddy but not so ambitious? Perhaps someone who regales me with his wit and humour but believes strongly in preserving traditional gender roles? What was I willing to negotiate, and what would be a deal-breaker?
Taking time to evaluate these qualities took a long time. In the process I got to meet myself- I realized I was following a socially acceptable paradigm of relationships which didn’t fit with my list of wants and desires.
Two decades ago, my checklist stopped short at good looks, a stable job, fluency in English and a top-of-the-line college degree. Such a contrast to my current ask of alignment in values, vulnerability quotient, emotional intelligence, and childhood role models.
As a coach and with several investments in personal transformation programs, I can see how my perspectives have seen a dramatic transformation.
Strong judgments held earlier have been discarded and replaced with the acceptability of diverse views. Careful observation and analysis of the layers of my personality have helped in building a flexible approach to situations. The narrow critical approach has given way to a wide-angle viewing lens- bringing more possibilities (and prospects too!) into the fray than before.
If the wisdom of what I have today was available to me earlier, the probability of striking right the first time around might have been higher.
A generation ago, domestic roles were starkly demarcated across gender, leaving little room for conflict. With expectations shifting towards a balance of roles, there is greater pressure on relationships to sustain themselves. We may want to question our reliance on social beliefs that marriages are made in heaven and fate decide the choice of a partner.
Perhaps it’s time for us to acquire a changed mindset and learn practical skills for connection and adaptation. With some conscious effort, we may be better prepared to engineer our relationships to work for us.
Image source: Aparna Mathur
Aparna is a leadership coach and facilitator with over 25 years of cross-functional work experience. She brings with her diverse experience of sales, consulting and facilitation of personal transformation. She has worked with organizations read more...
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I wanted to scream with excitement that my daughter chose to write about her ambition and aspirations over everything else first. To me, this was one of those parenting 'win' moments.
My daughter turned eight years old in January, and among the various gifts she received from friends and family was an absolutely beautiful personal journal for self-growth. A few days ago, she was exploring the pages when she found a section for writing a letter to her future self. She found this intriguing and began jotting down her thoughts animatedly.
My curiosity piqued and she could sense it immediately. She assured me that she would show me the letter soon, and lo behold, she kept her word.
I glanced at her words, expecting to see a mention of her parents in the first sentence. But, to my utter delight, the first thing she had written about was her AMBITION. Yes, the caps here are intentional because I want to scream with excitement that my daughter chose to write about her ambition and aspirations over everything else first. To me, this was one of those parenting ‘win’ moments.
Uorfi Javed has been making waves through social media, and is often the target of trolls. So who and what exactly is this intriguing young woman?
Uorfi Javed (no relation to Javed Akhtar) is a name that crops up in my news feeds every now and again. It is usually because she got trolled for being in some or other ‘daring’ outfit and then posting those images on social media. If I were asked, I would not be able to name a single other reason why she is famous. I am told that she is an actor but I would have no frankly no clue about her body of work (pun wholly unintended).
So is Urfi Javed (or Uorfi Javed as she prefers) famous only for being famous? How does she impact the cause of feminism by permitting herself to be objectified, trolled, reviled?
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