To find balance, write your own obituary
Being on a see-saw, according to me, has never helped anybody achieve anything. At one time you swing here and the next instance you are going down there on the other side. It is like you are obliged to take sides, when all you should be doing is to ‘balance’ your life.
Balancing one’s life is a hard core decision you have to take at the very beginning of life, which is when you are a young adult, say at the age of 21. For Shuchita, however, the dawn of realization that she has to take a step towards balancing her life came first when she was a year into her first job as a management trainee in Mumbai. Her big boss, the President HR of a 400 crore company was asking her, this young girl of 22, to stay back as she was preparing to leave her company to be with her husband. For a management trainee, the President HR asking her to stay was a huge achievement, and it spoke of the fact that she had successfully proven herself there in the first year of her first job. But she was firm. She wanted to be with her husband as they were starting a new life together. She was sure that she could build a fantastic career for herself, wherever she went. So she resigned, went to her husband and never looked back. That was the first step to creating a balance in her newly married life.
Shuchita began working again in the new town and settled down, a good job in her hands. She used to cook, clean and do all the household chores that every woman does, and enjoyed doing it, never once regretting the decision she had taken of leaving a plum job back there in the Mecca of Opportunity – Mumbai.
Life coasted along and she changed jobs. This new one was in a big company and during the final interview with the MD, she had managed to speak to him of her desire to get into, not the job that was on offer in marketing, but a role she would like to play in corporate communication. To her surprise, the MD said yes! Shuchita was thrilled to bits. The next day she went for her medicals, and was on her way back in the local bus when she started feeling queasy – weird. She went for a checkup and discovered she was pregnant but the doc said she was to rest – complete bed rest for 9 months! Shuchita knew not what to feel, whether to be happy that she was pregnant or to feel terrible that she could not move. She ended up feeling a bit of both. Obviously she had to say ‘no’ to the new job, a role after her heart.
After 9 months, her baby was born, a little miracle, a boy who was half the size normal babies are, just about 1.45 kg. She shivered the first time she held him as they got him out of the incubator and placed him into her shaky arms. “How am I supposed to grow this tiny one?” “Will I be able to do it responsibly?”, she thought to herself. The pediatrician had advised that they had to exercise extreme caution till the baby was 6 months old. No visitors, no unnecessary handling or cuddling.
By the time the baby was one (year), he was doing fine; was underweight but quite well. It was around that time that a book fell in her hands – a book where she learnt the art of finding balance in her life. A book that told her that balance is what she will find if she wrote an obituary for herself.
At 26, and a mother of a one-year old, she sat to write her own obituary. “What would she like to be remembered as, by the world, when she was no more?”
The immediate answer was “The greatest mother in the world”. And that’s that. After this truth and self realization, Shuchita never had any dilemma when it came to choosing her son over the plum opportunities that kept falling into her lap every now and then. It did not mean, however, that she would not do anything. To live up to her obituary, Shuchita chose to be a writer, an independent writer, she took all her steps as per her objective, her schedule and her son’s needs. She asked for a part time job even in her first job in an agency. She was extremely good in writing and hence people had no qualms about accepting her terms. When her son was 6, she quit her part time job too, as she saw that her son needed more of her. Again, her boss asked her to stay, but she was firm with her decision. Shuchita quit, again, without regrets. She became an independent consultant and writer and in just about 6 months, her business flourished. She was a queen, living life on her own terms, accepting work on her own terms, even fixing meetings on her own terms. She was a hard worker, no doubt, and stayed up late or woke up early, as early as 4 am to fulfill her professional commitments. The whole idea was never to encroach on her time reserved for her son. She would see him off at 1130 am on his school bus and then leave for her meetings. She would always be back sharp at 6 pm, wherever she was, to be home for her son with a fresh snack. In fact, she had even chosen an afternoon school for her son so that she could strike a balance between her work and son and would never have to leave him in a crèche beyond a couple of hours, even that when it was absolutely unavoidable. During crisis, it was her mother who came to her rescue; like when she was ill or her son was ill.
Years passed by and her son finished his 10th. Shuchita is now a happy woman, a satisfied mother, an accomplished writer and a business woman. The best part is she has no regrets. To date, she thanks that book which told her that if she wants to find the balance in her life, she must write her own obituary.
Here’s to the greatest mother on earth - Shuchita! Here’s to a balanced woman! Thanks to the obituary.