Thursday, January 26, 2017

My Happiness Project

What do you like to do?” someone asked me recently.

It took me a while to comprehend, and a lot longer to put in perspective.

It seems like it’s been a lifetime that I have done anything that “I” liked.  I cook food that the kids would eat without a fuss and we go to restaurants that they like. Most times, I sit in front of the TV, and watch whatever the family’s watching. More often than not, I just walk away with my book and hide until they are done with TV. We go on vacations that A thinks of….which isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy them. But it isn’t quite the same as doing “what I like”.  After all, I am a firm believer in the saying, “Do what you love or Love what you do”. I think I don’t mind taking the back seat.  So I don't know what bothered me when I couldn’t think of an that simple, direct question; 

Early on in our marriage, I remember dragging A to a PhilHarmonic concert. Around the same time, he took me to a Zakir Hussain concert. The experiences were ….interesting, to say the least. He yawned the whole time, and slouched, sighed and annoyed the heck out of me. I tried going to the movies with him – a few of those popular Bollywood ones – he laughed till he cried and fell off his chair, clapped his hands and had an insanely entertaining time. I sat and fidgeted and wondered why I had to endure that 3h torture when I could have done something more productive (like reading a book!) Over time, we both gave up; never having found a middle ground for our likes.

When the kids were little, I would take them to a park or library. We made up stories, watched the ants and generally, lived a slow life. I liked that. I liked reading silly stories to them, making up things like tooth fairies and elves. They accepted what they heard, and even though in my heart I knew my stories weren’t true, I liked to see them believe and dream. Now, even Baby P is at an age where that wonder is replaced by cynicism. We live under the dark cloud of homework and activities, without a moment to breathe, rushing from the time we wake up to when we go to bed. “I am too busy – I only get to stay home on Saturdays”, Baby P complains every time we rush out of the home for our after-school activities. Maybe it is time for the kids to do what they like, without the maddening clock ticking away in their heads.

And maybe it is time for me to do things I liked again.

Like- doing nothing when I feel like it, even when there’s 3 loads of laundry and a full load of dishes staring at me….

Or buying that lavender-scented bar soap for myself; instead of the sickly sweet-scented body wash that Anya likes….

Or finally picking up the diary that A bought me for Christmas; with a hand-written note asking me to start writing again….

It’s probably the time to be "Doing the things I love"; rather than Loving the things I do….Isn't that the difference between Being Happy and Finding Happy?