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Life as we know it | Shelley Subawalla

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indian wedding, life as we know it

I have, so far, in all of my forty one years lived a life considered by most to be happy and enviable.

Married at a young age to a nice man, two wonderful children and a life consisting of the best this material world can buy…..to name but a few attributes visible to an outsider looking in. The phrases “oh, you have no idea how lucky you are” or “oh please, you can’t afford to talk. Your life is idyllic! Look at us and what we are going through, then talk”, have been mouthed to me a million times……

So why then, do I consider myself unhappy? Why do I allow my innermost thoughts and feelings to consume me completely and to such an extent that I find myself sinking deeper and deeper into a deep abyss? Why is everyday an effort to get myself together, put on my happy face and face the world? Do I have the wrong notion of what happiness is supposed to be and feel like? Am I expecting too much from life and what it has to offer me? My mind seems filled with all these questions and so many more, so much so that I find myself retreating into a shell and completely lost in my thought. I keep asking myself, “Did I do something wrong? Could I have done something differently? Am I just one of those people who is simply never satisfied with the opportunities life has to offer and always wants more?”

Life as an adult is tough and being a married adult…well that just increased the difficulty quotient tenfold. One is expected to live their entire life with another human being, their moods and their beliefs. If you’re the female in the equation, then nine times out of ten you tend to find yourself giving up your dreams and aspirations in order to keep your partner, his goals and chauvinistic benchmarks alive. Add to that the ancient phrase ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’, and what one gets is a constant battle between accepting your life the way it is and constantly looking across at the other person and indulging in a never ending game of comparisons and wishful thinking. We find ourselves wistfully looking at our single compatriots living their string less and responsibility free lives and wonder why we should have to give it all up as well as our decision making capacity, simply because we chose to settle down and share our life with another body. Does settling down automatically mean we bow down to another self-proclaimed superior being and hand over all important decisions and life goals to them? Do we sign away our rights to choose our own friends, enjoy our social life, choose our career and our dedication to it and simply be the master of our own decisions, simply because we chose to marry?

I’m not saying that this is always the case. Marriages that work and that too happily definitely exist, but if one were to calculate a ratio, sadly the latter will always end up on the lower side. Why is a woman always expected to give up her life and forsake of her power of thinking and decisiveness, simply to give way to her husband’s dictates and her children’s future? Where does she disappear to? Why does she go from being a person with feelings and opinions to simply a means to make the lives of those around her successful and content? As mentioned earlier, living your life as an adult is difficult enough, why do we add to our difficulties by bowing down to the dictates laid down by our men and the society we live in? We deserve happiness as much as they do and we should, all of us in our own special way find a path that leads us to attaining it. Life is short, people. Try and fill it with happiness and contentment rather than misery, personal failure and discontent. It’s not how long we have lived or how many years…..instead it should be a question of how can we make the years granted to us scream with success, euphoria and achievement. Live each moment to the fullest, with not a minute to lose……..

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