Starting A New Business? 7 Key Points To Keep In Mind.
I grew up believing that being single was an ailment and that everyone should have a partner. But life has taught me otherwise.
The greatest myth perpetuated by our society, media, and family alike is that finding a romantic partner from the opposite sex is the greatest source of pleasure and happiness. Heteronormativity and heterosexuality are in-built into the way girls and boys are raised in families. What is not taught to most of us is how to feel complete in ourselves. How to live alone and happy. The central focus on marriage does not allow us to discover ourselves as we seek happiness in another person.
I know a few “happy” couples, but the fact is that they are a rarity. The bulk of heterosexual couples that I have seen have drifted apart emotionally, are not happy with each other, or are having communication issues. In short, they have not lived up to each other’s expectations.
Research has proven that heterosexual couples tend to drift apart after they have children. They can have very different opinions and styles of parenting and may have to constantly negotiate child-rearing. Marital relationships entail a lot of work, especially when a couple cannot agree on key matters in their lives.
Given this fact, a lot of young women and men prefer to stay single especially after having seen their parents suffer the perils of marriage and family rearing. But is being single such a hard thing after all? I too grew up believing that being single was an ailment and that everyone should have a partner. But life has taught me otherwise.
Having seen so many mismatched couples and divorces including my own, I have come to the conclusion that being single is much better than being with the wrong one.
I separated from my spouse in the year 2011 and it was a heartbreaking experience. I was not sure if I would ever recover from this setback. But after 12 years I can confidently claim that a supportive community of parents, friends, and colleagues has helped me to live a happy life as a single woman. Over the last decade, I have developed strong friendships and bonds that keep me grounded as a socially connected person. My love for reading and writing has prevented me from feeling lonely. I have cultivated new hobbies like learning to cook regional cuisines and dancing. I have dived deeper into myself to understand my strengths and weaknesses which I was not doing while I was coupled.
I was made to believe that I was not good enough, I was overthinking issues and making up things. I was seeing myself through the eyes of my partner who was far from perfect himself. Post my divorce I felt handicapped since a part of my life went missing. However, there were people in my life who helped me overcome this feeling of incompleteness. The best advice came from my mentors Harsh and Anu.
Harsh saw my plight and suggested that I “drown” myself in work to find a sense of purpose in life. I think this is invaluable advice that can help people to recover from personal adversities.
Taking his advice, I did make work a priority but continued to feel a sense of emptiness within. I started searching for love online. The online method of finding a soulmate was not a great idea since I had some weird experiences which I have written about in my previous article here.
The second precious piece of advice came from Anu who said that love is a state of being and you don’t have to chase it to find it. To find or build a loving community that will accept you “as you are” is a path to happiness. With this advice, I stopped chasing marriage as an end goal in life and am focusing my energies on nurturing my friendships and my relationship with my students who are a great source of joy in my life.
Apart from my super-supportive mentors and friends, reading inspirational quotes on social media has helped me overcome feelings of emptiness/incompleteness. I share some of those quotes here:
“Those who fly solo have the strongest wings”
“You cannot pour from an empty cup, take care of yourself first”
“As you walk, the way will emerge”
“If you lost someone but found yourself, you have won”
There are several other quotes that have motivated me to go on positively with my life. In the end, I can only say that being single has given me the opportunity to know myself better. I am more aware of my own likes and dislikes, tolerance and intolerance, and strengths and weaknesses. I wake up each morning feeling thankful for the life I live, which enables me to celebrate myself in many different ways.
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: a still from short film Sloshed
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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
When people picked my dadi to place her on the floor, the sheet on why she lay tore. The caretaker came to me and said, ‘Just because you touched her, one of the men carrying her lost his balance.’
The death of my grandmother shattered me. We shared a special bond – she made me feel like I was the best in the world, perfect in every respect.
Apart from losing a person who I loved, her death was also a rude awakening for me about the discrimination women face when it comes to performing the last rites of their loved ones.
On January 23 this year, I lost my 95 year old grandmother (dadi) Nirmala Devi to cardiac arrest. She was that one person who unabashedly praised me. The evening before her death she praised the tea I had made and said that I make better tea than my brother (my brother and I are always competing about who makes the best chai).
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