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And so every month I told myself that NEXT month I'd get back on track. But by November I knew there was no way I was going to be able to finish what I had to.
I had big plans for 2022.
Things hadn’t worked out the way I planned in 2020 or 2021 but this was going to be my year; this was going to be the year everything fell in place. No one and nothing could stop me; I was going to do it all.
When 2022 started I was determined to get things right. This was the year my daughter was going to go off to college which meant that I would have more time on hand and I intended to use it well.
One of my problems has been that I don’t plan. So before 2021 ended I sat down and wrote down my career goals. I felt very professional as I created a calendar for myself to achieve these goals
This way I reasoned I would be able to attain my goals.
I didn’t know that Life took that statement as a challenge.
Right at the beginning of the year, we had a death in our family that left all of us completely shaken up. And then the daughter’s board exams seemed to be never-ending. Since Covid was still very much here it meant my chauffeur services were never-ending.
And when her exams finally ended we entered the labyrinth that is CUET.
The exam started late and then got cancelled and then postponed and then postponed again. And then the result came out… but the website crashed and then we had to wait for the admissions… and then the website crashed. (Does anyone else see a pattern here?) Finally, with a big sigh of relief, the daughter joined college …in November!
Now you may wonder why I didn’t still stick to my plan. After all, I wasn’t giving the entrance exam. And every time I tried to help my daughter I was told “now is not the time for silly advice; not when my future is on the line.”
Well firstly, you have clearly never had a teenager sighing dramatically in every room in your house alternating between saying “I’m going to die giving this exam” and “can you please drop me to visit my friends”!
And secondly—and this is very important—my home office was invaded by my daughter who needed to study at all kinds of times.
It’s often said that a true writer can write anywhere which must mean I guess that I am not a true writer… I am, I am okay? I’ve written three novels; it’s just that imposter syndrome can strike in the most insidious way. That’s why I NEED my setup! I need my motivational rock (long story) my small writing award, and my quirky pen stand. They make me feel like I know what I’m doing.
(Honest truth: I don’t. Most writers have a story in their mind and they’re hoping it comes out properly, but most of the time we have no clue how it’s going to work out.)
And so every month I told myself that NEXT month I’d get back on track. But by November I knew there was no way I was going to be able to finish writing two manuscripts AND complete editing two previously written manuscripts AND write a short story collection.
Even for my optimistic self, it seemed a little too much to accomplish in two months.
So I felt bad for myself and wallowed in self-pity, I railed against the world for not letting me do what I wanted to. But the truth is this; the only reason I didn’t write is that… I didn’t write. There is no one else to blame for this.
Yes, the situation was from ideal but I could have written; the truth is I was scared. I was scared that after two years of Covid I had forgotten how to be happy, I had forgotten how to breathe, I had forgotten how to enjoy the moment, and not get stressed. The truth is that I was afraid that staying at home had dried up my imagination so I found excuses not to write.
But the truth is also this…I did write. I just didn’t write what I expected to.
I wrote a whole lot of articles. For the first time in my life, I wrote a poem. I didn’t edit my earlier manuscripts, but I did read through them and make notes. I didn’t write the collection of short stories I planned to but I did put together an eBook of all the stories I have written so far. I didn’t write a new manuscript but I am doing it now… and who knows maybe I will soon complete the first draft.
Life doesn’t always work out the way you want. You can waste time moping about it or accept it and work with what you have.
I didn’t do what I planned to do but I did something.
And so instead of beating myself up about all that I didn’t achieve I’m going to concentrate on being happy about what I did achieve.
And the stuff I didn’t get done this year…well that’s what next year is for!
Image source: a still from the short film Ghar ki Murgi
Asfiya Rahman, a management graduate, is a teacher by occupation and a writer by inclination. She has published many short stories in different publications and is the author of the sports drama trilogy Wild, Wild read more...
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It is easy to give in to patriarchal expectations from a married woman and lose your self in a marriage, but the path to happiness is in keeping your independence.
Marriage is often described as the joining of two individuals’ bodies, minds, and souls. Upon getting married, you are expected to share everything with your partner, including time, money, and all other aspects of life. Your life should revolve around your spouse from beginning to end.
But is it necessary to spend every waking moment with the spouse? Are you not supposed to have a life apart from your spouse? And do these rules apply only to women or men as well?
Although both men and women may face this situation, women are generally expected to give up everything once they get married. Despite progress in several areas, expecting women to abandon their interests, passions, and friendships to align their lives with those of their spouses is still considered the norm.
The rising numbers of single women choosing this life shout out clear and loud that patriarchy and sexism will no longer break or chain us.
Another book on singlehood? It seems to be the season for books on the joys and freedom of being single. But Demystifying and Dignifying Singlehood: Life Journeys of Single Women Across the Globe by Uma Jain is different. The book does not glorify or glamourise the lives of single women in any way. These are real stories – with the good, the bad and the ugly, all there.
The book tells the stories of 15 single women across the world. A feeling of deep understanding and empathy fills you as you read the book and understand the challenges faced by the women who are single – by choice or chance. Some of the women chose to be single because they faced discrimination and even abuse as girl children. Some others had abusive marriages and sought divorce.
The tag line ‘Crafting pathways on rough terrains’ on the cover page is enough to tell you that this is a serious take on the issue of singlehood. If it focuses more on the rough than the smooth, that has been the reality for the 15 women.
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