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If I marry, it should be for the right reasons - not out of the fear of being alone. Neither should one marry just because everyone else is married.
I’ve watched a lot of movies about happily ever after although I haven’t read too many romance novels. I watched most of these rom-coms in my thirties. That was the time everyone around me seemed coupled up.
There were a few disastrous attempts on matrimonial websites and I met some truly bizarre individuals who had red flags on their foreheads. So naturally, nothing came out of these attempts and I must thank God above, for they would have all been mistakes.
The friends I hung out with in my thirties went clubbing and socialized a lot. So, occasionally I worried about my boyfriend-less, dateless self. However, in my forties, I realized that life was so much more than parties, boyfriends, or husbands.
When I looked back on my life, it seemed so random. I started craving meaning in my life and a sense of purpose. I got back to reading, which I had done sporadically since childhood. I also started writing a lot for online publications and my blogs. It made me clarify to myself what I felt about things. I know it’s a strange thing to say but until I put it down to a page, things aren’t crystal clear in my head.
All the writing I did in my 40s has led to my finally setting up a website in November 2022. I joined writing communities and blogging communities, and now I’m quite obsessed with this world of writing, creating reading, and other hobbies.
Now, at age 45, I feel it is not necessary for me to be coupled up. I am proud of who I have become. I’m happy with my life and my place in the overall scheme of things. If anything, I’m overly enthusiastic about taking part in every single writing opportunity, but hard work never killed anybody!
I realize that I must get more independent in every way. I should be able to go out by myself, have at least basic survival skills, and cultivate the ability to tackle life’s challenges without crumbling. That’s what one requires. When my dad needed surgery during the pandemic in early 2022, I somehow summoned up the strength to handle it. And I was the one who stayed with him as an attendant in the hospital. The fact that I was able to do the needful gave me more confidence although at the time I was panicking.
I briefly joined a singles community, but I believe one has to be ready for these things. Sometimes, seeing people post about their problems makes one worry extra.
And through the pandemic, we have all doom-scrolled on social media. Apart from leading to momentary dopamine spikes, I doubt it helps much. I have found it is important to switch off and focus on daily tasks around the house and have quiet time. Getting enough sleep is also a priority. Binge-eating is another thing to watch out for. If I nurture myself and do things in moderation, life is wonderful. I feel grateful and blessed for what I have. I feel it is enough. I am enough.
If I marry, it should be for the right reasons – not out of the fear of being alone. Neither should one marry just because everyone else is married. One has to find one’s own path in life and focus on one’s duties and responsibilities apart from nurturing the self. I think economic independence is extremely important, too. One cannot have dreams if one is not economically independent. One must be able to back up one’s decisions with what it takes to survive in this world.
Life does throw challenges at us from time to time. But if we stop to notice, it can also be pleasant and beautiful. When one hangs around people who are negative, their negativity and pessimism affect us, too. We also start becoming negative. It is important to distance ourselves so that we do not sink. We must retain our own counsel. Also, I see immense value in a small inner circle of friends. It’s okay if, in the beginning, it is just a dot! Slowly, it will grow to just the right size to nourish and support your dreams. Giving too much of oneself away to people through social media etc. doesn’t help.
I don’t mean to preach, but I have learned these things the hard way. Too much of anything is never good. Live life in moderation and life will unveil its delights! And one does not need to be in a relationship to appreciate life’s beauty. One must merely keep one’s heart open to it. When you are immersed in life, happiness will flit around you like a butterfly and sit on your shoulder! Don’t scare it away.
From talking to married friends, I realize that marriage doesn’t mean you are settled for life. Within their marriage too, women crave independence and respect. No one wants to be taken for granted or made to feel like a leech or parasite. Everyone wants to build their life not break it down. A job will give every woman a sense of freedom. Some women start small businesses to sustain themselves. And there is the ‘D’ word. Some women are divorced and they need to support themselves and their children after divorce. So, it’s about more than just self-esteem.
When I hear all these stories, I’m happy I have prioritized work over everything else. It is a means of financial freedom and gives me options and choices – choices that wouldn’t be available to me otherwise. Some of us are meant for matrimony and are more homely, while some of us are like wildflowers – just rustling in the breeze and enjoying the sunshine. Life is what we make of it. Let’s make it good! And every decision one makes either opens doors or closes them. I’m glad some of my choices have been spot-on.
Editor’s Note: It’s the season of love, and especially romantic love. But what if you are not in a romantic relationship right now? We asked our readers to send in their #HappySolentine stories.
Image source: shutterstock
Aishwariya Laxmi is a writer, editor, blogger, and poet living in suburban Chennai, India. She blogs on https://aishwariyalaxmi.com/ and has a newsletter at https://ash.fambase.com/. Her poems and flash fiction have read more...
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Ms. Kulkarni, please don’t apologise ‘IF’ you think you hurt women. Apologise because you got your facts wrong. Apologise for making sexual harassment a casual joke.
If Sonali Kulkarni’s speech on most modern Indian women being lazy left me shocked and enraged, her apology post left me deeply saddened.
I’d shared my thoughts on her problematic speech in an earlier article. So, I’ll share why I felt Kulkarni’s apology post was more damaging than her speech.
If her speech made her an overnight hero among MRAs, sexists, and people who were awed by her dramatic words, then her apology post made her a legendary saint.
There are many mountains I need to climb just to be, just to live my life, just to have my say... because they are mountains you've built to oppress women.
Trigger Warning: This deals with various kinds of violence against women including rape, and may be triggering for survivors.
I haven’t climbed a literal mountain yet
Was busy with the metaphorical ones – born a woman
Fighting for the air that should have come free
And I am one of the privileged ones, I realize that
Yet, if I get passionate, just like you do
I will pay for it – with burden, shame, – and possibly a life to carry
So, my mountains are the laws you overturn
My mountains are the empty shelves where there should have been pills
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