Oct 23, 2018

Seek inspiration from within

Mental Health Awareness Day is observed every year on Oct 10th. I had earlier posted an article related to mental health around this time of the year, as it is such an important topic that needs to be discussed.

Many times, we wonder why life throws so many challenges to us, while the rest of the world (friends, relatives, social circle etc) seems to be having so much fun and enjoying their life. 

Firstly, we cannot and should not judge someone's life based on what they share on social media. We like to share our life's best moments, while we sulk alone or with close family members during our worst moments. So let's consciously put an effort not to be affected by social media. I'm active on social media mainly for inspiration, to get ideas and to learn about interesting stuff. Lately I have been quite active on Instagram. I get inspiration from many foodies who share similar passion towards healthy eating and cooking like me. There are also a lot of people whom I haven't met in person but we share mutual respect and common interests. So I believe not all social media is bad, we just need to identify what we are looking for and the platform that provides the same.

Secondly, the most important point. You may disagree with me if you are not a spiritual person and that's totally fine. I have started to believe in this following principle - 

"God gives the right amount of challenges to those who can handle them and come out strong". 

 So if I find someone in my social circle who seems to be having fun and enjoying life without any difficulties, while I face certain challenges, then I tell myself that I'm becoming a stronger and a better person. That these experiences are helping me evolve and prepare myself to take on new challenges.

In the earlier days when I became a mother, I was struggling with raising my daughter D without any family help. It was a totally new experience and I had no clue whatsoever on many things - feeding her, giving her a bath, putting her to sleep, soothing her when she has a colic etc. When I see moms who have it all easy and get ample support from their mothers/MILs, I used to think why I'm not getting any help and used to feel bad about it. I wrote about this in my earlier article on self-pity as well. Please check it out if you haven't.

Now when I look back, these 7 years since D was born have been the most challenging and most exciting phase of my life. If I had someone to help me with, I might have just lazed around or taken up a full time job that doesn't give time for anything else. I wouldn't have invested that time and energy to understand child nutrition, perils of packaged foods, importance of eating local and traditional etc. When I read messages from my Insta friends that they have made changes to their eating habits after reading my posts, I feel so grateful and blessed. My blog has been super active in the past few years. From cooking basic dishes and "OB adichifying" (taking it easy) with curd rice for dinner most often after a long day of work, I now invest a lot of time to cook 2-3 meals a day for myself and my family. I came out of my comfort zone and tried out a catering service, cooking traditional Indian meals for my apartment neighbours. I have fallen in love with Yoga and been a regular for the past 3.5 years. I take care of my health much better in my 30s than in my 20s.

Given my family circumstances, I knew earlier on that going for a full time job is out of the question. If I had to make that possible, I had to place my trust either on a nanny or a day care. The first option was ruled out as I'm not comfortable with leaving my daughter alone with a third person. I tried a couple of day cares for a few months and was so disappointed with the "care" they give to young kids. Most of them resort to playing TV or youtube videos the whole afternoon. So I decided that I need to take care of my daughter and at the same time, continue to build my identity. I don't want to use the word "career", as it comes with many underlying notions. I want my own identity in this world, that lets me seek meaning and leave an impact. I also understood something about myself in this journey. I'm neither a perfect home maker nor a career driven, working woman. I want to be somewhere in the middle. While many have discouraged me that the "middle" path will take me nowhere, I persisted. Ever since my daughter turned 1.5 years old, I have been working part-time, telecommute, work-from-home, project based opportunities etc. I'm happy and content doing product management work and I'm not concerned about my title or the typical growth paths that a product manager strives towards in software organizations. Yes, this path has given me financial freedom, flexibility, the option of choosing work that I like to do and most importantly, to be there with my daughter during these crucial years.

If this all sounds like my ego talking, let it be. Because I want to revisit this post often whenever I'm down on motivation and need inspiration. We often seek inspiration from others, sometimes the inspiration could just be ourselves, when we did something out of the ordinary, when we pushed ourselves, when we came out of our comfort zone or when we went after our goals. So it is okay to recognize and be happy about one's accomplishments, however big or small it may be. We (women) often have high expectations of ourselves and fail to acknowledge our little milestones. I would urge you to take some time and write a similar post that you can look back and feel inspired about yourself. Write in your journal, blog, social media page, wherever you are comfortable with. Let your own words guide you towards inspiration, because only when you feel inspired, you feel the magic happening from within.

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