The strange game called life
Are we just pawns in the game of life?
Or do we really have control over our lives and destinies?
Ever since I attended my first ever college reunion, this Friday, I have been pondering over how my life has turned out since those 40 years after graduation.
The college reunion comprised alumni of several decades. So we had people who were old and bent as well as those with salt and pepper in their hair. Surprisingly, everyone, there was well kept and well turned out. This only proved that all those whom we assumed were the ‘smokers and dopers’ in college, still did as well as those who didn’t.
Apart from my three friends who accompanied me, most of the people were strangers. Even those who were in my graduating year. And even those who studied the same subjects as I did, remained unknown till Friday night. (Most of us hung out with our won little groups of friends during college). But surprisingly, it was easier meeting collegemates (for the first time) as 60-year-olds than it was meeting them as 16-year-olds. And meeting them was like meeting old friends. Did the intervening years make us all more confident? Or was I genuinely friendlier after my initial years as an introvert?
My girls like to think that I am still a prickly pear who has an aura of ‘touch me not’ or ‘come closer and I’ll scream’ shining out for miles. But I like to think of myself as a shy person who values her space. I am also curious. I want to know more about the people and the world around me.
So I wonder what happened to the young me? I always imagined myself to be a career woman and was surprised when I landed up being a Stay At Home Mom. Of course, I have no regrets but that night I realised that I had overestimated my own potential. I obviously thought I was smarter than what I really was. Or perhaps I was only a high performer at examinations.
Whatever the reason may be, I ended up doing nothing while always busy at doing something, ever since I finished college.
And this not surprising because I come from a long line of strong women who in this day and age would be labeled feminists. In our families, no dowry was exchanged. We were encouraged to speak out for ourselves, advocate for others and manage the home. Some us even managed to work outside the home. Needless to say, even those of us ( my great-grandmother for example) who didn’t have a formal education, were encouraged to read and write. We were also encouraged never to sit back and do nothing.
My mother and mother in law who were both postgraduates encouraged this streak of independence. My mother worked all her life and even in retirement did something or the other like run a video library in the days when cable TV didn’t exist and now she plays on the stock market. At 😯 + she still nurtures dreams of becoming a Bridge champion and enjoys her bi-weekly game. Incidentally, her Bridge buddies are all men.
My mother in law never ” worked” but was a Squash champion in her time. She was also an accomplished Classical Hindustani singer and pulled her weight in her husband’s commercial ventures.
I too never “worked” but was a freelance writer, French Translator, tourist guide, Man Friday for 10 years in my husband’s business and now a content provider for an e-commerce site.
So I thought I was pretty much a role model for a strong, independent, self sufficient woman.
Till the other day when the children were busy playing in the tent. I was shocked at what transpired.
The boys went out to hunt zombies, while Ms. Papaya stays back in the tent to look after the ‘babies’.
When Wow Dinga, Little Po and the other zombie hunters return home, they ask in a gruff voice “mom, what’s for dinner” she efficiently dispenses a menu.
When asked why she didn’t want to fight zombies, the mom replied pat “I’m the queen. I sit at home and look after kids and go for yoga class”.
And to think that all this while I thought I was just a Stay at Home Mum who was always on the run!
As the days go by, the myths I grew up with are slowly being shattered. My beliefs, particularly about myself are meeting the same fate.
Was I leading a blinkered life?
What about you?
Sharing this post with Corinne on #MondayMusings