I will turn 33 next month. I am a mother of a one year old. I am approaching my mid thirties, and am at that point of life where I have a complete decade to look back at which was full of action, my twenties. not that there wasn’t any action in my teens, but life was pretty much on the same track between the age of 11 to 20. Studies were the prime focus and most part of that decade was spent studying in the same school. Twenties was when things moved from one phase to another pretty quickly. It was the decade of college, graduation, post graduation, first job, heartbreaks, marriage and finally a smooth transition from a more uncertain to a settled phase as I entered my thirties.
When I look back, I somehow feel that this is the happiest phase of my life. Today I am better aware of myself and more in love with myself than ever before. Twenties was the time of uncertainties and confusion mostly. Not only uncertainties in terms of college, job, life partner and other external factors, but even regarding my own thoughts. I was not sure what I really wanted- was I ambitious career wise or my priority was my family? Was I a coward or brave enough to stand up for myself if need arises? Was I actually very generous as I thought I was, or was I self than I thought myself to be? Was I an emotional soul or more of a practical person? I did not have answers to all these questions till few years back. Today I am definitely far more clear on many of these things than I was earlier; and knowing oneself better is an amazing feeling. Its a feeling of being at peace with oneself.
Today I know that I am way more practical than I thought I was. I am way more decisive than I thought I was. I also know that I am way more concerned about my interests and preferences and put them first, than I thought I actually do. This knowledge about me which I have discovered in the last couple of years has given me much more confidence than any external gyaan. Sometimes I am surprised, how all these years, so easily I would form opinions about others, judge them, while I myself had no clue where I stood wrt to all those matters. Now I realize that self awareness is the best form of knowledge. Knowing oneself and then accepting oneself is a huge step towards mental peace.
Another thing which I like about “now” is, the fact that I do not feel the need to meet everybody’s expectations all the time!! I am ok with people criticizing me for my choices. Earlier, there was this looming pressure to get everybody’s ok on everything. Ok as in, whatever I do has to be right…conventionally right. It should be acceptable to people around. I should fit the so called framework of a good student, daughter, sister, employee…everything. This is not important today. Not that I have become some rebel overnight, but people’s non approving remarks, opinions do not affect me negatively. I try to be neutral towards them. So if my MIL thinks that having two maids even when I am on a sabbatical from work is sin; I am more or less unperturbed. I do not feel the need to justify my actions and words every time. I am now learning to demarcate between people who really matter, and those who are just filling spaces in life. Life has become simpler and easier with this approach.
This is so much better than the confusion of twenties. I guess it has something to do with the fact that I am a mother now. In few more years I will be telling my daughter right from wrong, OK from not OK…and plenty of other stuff for her to grow up into a confident happy female. That responsibility has also pushed me a bit to be more firm of my own thoughts and actions…
Overall, whatever it is, 30s are far more peaceful than the earlier decades of my life, in terms of self acceptance.