‘Life’ is a simple four-letter word, but yet when it comes to exploring or understanding that word, it holds a different meaning for different people. Our understanding of life is mainly based on a set of experiences, people, places and events that we have been exposed to – in our journey.
But the best part is that while going on about our lives and finding our own definition of this life, we also get an opportunity to learn from the lives of others. Yes, it is like that saying goes – ‘the wise learn from the experiences of others so that they can avoid making the same mistakes’.
I resonate with this because I learned a very important life lesson observing my mother and her life. It is also something I feel we all need to be reminded of from time to time!
My mother in her prime was a multi-tasker, like most women her age. She gave a hundred per cent to her full-time job while living in a joint family. She also gave her best in raising us, her kids. She was always juggling between tasks while also bottling up her own feelings and living a life that was all about prioritising others. I feel like this was her biggest mistake.
Mostly because in the process of making everyone else happy, she forgot to live for herself. She always thought that she would enjoy life later after fulfilling all her responsibilities. But sadly, life had a different plan all along.
I remember very well those few odd mornings when she wanted to sleep in till late but she never did. She had duties of being a perfect daughter-in-law, wife and mother. Deep inside she craved for independence, for freedom from her monotonous life since living in a joint family, you don’t really have much of it. She always dreamt of taking a vacation but could never do so as she was always busy trying to make sure everyone else was happy. And this, in turn, took a toll on her health and life so badly that we never could have imagined that she would live out her remaining life in bed. When she was in her mid-forties, she developed a major chronic illness – an autoimmune disease that crushed all her dreams.
I still tear up when I remember the day she got her first ADEM attack following which she was in the hospital for almost a month. Her eyes became still, she had lost her voice, the right side of her body had no strength left. The doctors declared there was very little hope and all we can do is pray.
That was my birthday in March 2010, and the only wish I made in front of God was to return my mother’s voice so that she could wish me again. In the meantime, we became dependent on our aunts and relatives to prepare food for us as both me and my sister knew nothing about cooking. My father had to shut down his business because there was no one else to stay with my mother in the hospital.
My mother had 5-6 repeated flare ups of her disease within a span of 11 years and as a side effect to the strong medication, she developed many other secondary problems and still continues to struggle with her ailments. My mom’s life changed forever and our childhood ended much before it should have as my sister and I had to take on many household responsibilities on our shoulders.
Cut to the present, now my mother has all the time in the world, but sadly, her health and her weak body do not support her too well to fulfil her heart’s desires.
Looking at her, it pains me that life is so unpredictable and uncertain. Who knows what will happen in the next moment, yet we take our precious lives for granted every day. Be it by not taking care of our health, not spending quality time with our loved ones or by not taking out time for the passions that fuel our happiness. We postpone such things for another time while giving priority to so many other things that don’t even matter as much.
My point here is that we shouldn’t wait to live life. Today is all we have. Whatever happened yesterday may not be there anymore and what happens today may not be there tomorrow.
My mom recently shared with me as to how she regrets not meeting her father often since she was always caught up with her household responsibilities. Eventually, my nanaji passed away and it has left a vacuum in my mother’s heart.
No doubt there will always be responsibilities that need our attention. But what matters most is that even while attending to the demands of life, we need to listen to what our hearts want to truly enjoy the life we have. We need to stop waiting for the right time to come and make that time for ourselves.
As I write this, I am reminded of the beautiful old song, “Zindagi ek safar mein guzar jaate hai jo mukaam, vo phir nahi aate, vo phir nahi aate!” The lyrics of this song powerfully covey that nothing is permanent in our lives. Whatever passes by will never come back. Therefore, instead of wasting away our time in petty worries of the future we need to focus on the moment we’re in. Let’s live our lives for ourselves and strive to have a happy, balanced and wholesome life.
Life is short, our breaths are numbered and our days are decided already. The key is to not think or plan too much and to not delay living our best lives right now. Rather, we ought to seize every moment and enjoy it to the fullest.
After all, no matter how challenging life may be at times, it is still beautiful and precious. Zindagi Gulzaaar hai! (Trans: Life is a rose garden!)
Kanika Sethi is a certified holistic healer at RachnaRestores and you can find more details about her HERE. For more such articles and content on health & wellness, don’t forget to follow us!