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WHO IS THE REAL ME??

I’m a Daughter/sister/ wife/daughter in-law/mother – but who is the real ME? I’m not even starting to enumerate the other set of extended relationships…grandchild, niece, aunt, friend, colleague. The list will be very long. A mix of all of these make me, but who is the real ME??

This precious medley is bestowed upon us one by one, starting the very first day of our being. We cannot survive in a vacuum nor can we live our entire life alone on an island. Our bundle of attachment grows in size as we move along and often engulfs us in its entirety. Somewhere along this path, in trying to do the right thing in the most responsible way, WE forget ME.

If I was asked to sift through and decide which one of these is an all pervasive, all consuming role – I’d choose that of a mother. They say life changes as soon as you step into motherhood. It’s a 24/7 role. Overnight you transform yourself into a light sleeper, a worrier, a protector. The slightest change in your child’s voice is enough to alert you that something is amiss.

There is no escape and mothers are looking for none. Often between important meetings the busy working mom is thinking – “will I be able to make the after school doctors appointment?” OR “did I do the right thing by saying yes to the sleepover this close to exam time?”. The questions are warring right alongside business decisions, fading in and out depending on how busy the day is. I want to know, just out of curiosity- are fathers also bitten by the same worry bug??? Or are they better at compartmentalizing their day and channeling their energies?

Then there is the stay at home mother who has pretty much woven her life around her child/children’s activities. Wake up before the alarm, think of breakfast, pack the herd off to school and college, make sure they reach all activities in time, think of what to make for dinner to please her brood. The pressure she puts on herself is immense and all consuming, sometimes at the cost of unraveling several other threads in the fabric of her life. How many dads are willing to admit they forgot to pick the kids up from school, bus stop or a friends place? It’s not a competition, I’m just curious.

One day the kids grow up. They get busy in their own lives. This is the day we prepared them for – to be able to stand on their own feet, take their own decisions. By now the real ME is almost completely lost. If one is alert and smart enough and has managed to keep ME alive, it could very well be on a ventilator and barely breathing.

This is when we have to choose to embark upon a journey and find the real ME. To try new things, make room in life to savor new experiences. For some, it may turn out to be a complete departure from their usual self, invoking a sarcasm filled response from bystanders- “this is just mid-life crisis.” Well, this is no crisis, mid-life or otherwise, it’s a new journey, a new page which needs to be added to the journal of life. Most times such sarcasm comes from society, always ready with questions, challenging every new step ME is trying to take. If we are lucky, we get the unconditional support of family and friends who push us in the right direction. If not, I’m sorry for them, not us, because they have myopic vision and can’t see beyond their own nose.

Why not give this new journey a try. Let today be the start of the search of ME. Pull the plug on the ventilator, learn to breathe under your own steam. Look in unexpected places, do something out of the ordinary, find joy in the ordinary. Be your own kind of beautiful. And do not let anyone tell you – “it’s probably just mid-life crisis.”

An avid reader, volunteer, mother of a child in college, Priyanka works with elementary level students. Connect with her on Twitter https://twitter.com/priyankatan