When I was a little girl, the one thing I was most confident about was that I held the reigns of life in my hands. This illusion had its roots in my leading a meticulously disciplined life. I saw my life sail smooth without any interruptions till I was in grade one. Then one fine day, a neighbourhood (stray) cat ate my pet rabbit. That was the day I met face to face with tragedy and its distant cousin, unpredictability for the first time.
I vividly remember the moment because coming to terms with the idea that anything unexpected could happen in our lives was too much to swallow for a 6-year-old mind of mine. Life moved on at its unpredictable pace, but the eternal optimist in me, refused to acknowledge its existence. In the deepest corners of my heart, the notion that I pretty much had life in my control thrived.
Things turned topsy-turvy when I got married. This was my real encounter with unpredictability. From then on, I learnt to live life, one day at a time because no two days went peaceful in my life, nor did they bring along same troubles.
When I became a mother, acceptance that unpredictability was here to rule my life dawned. I couldn’t predict what the very next moment would bring, let alone having a day running at my preferred pace. When will the baby feed to when will she need a clean-up to when will she throw up were just the introductory chapters of the book of my new life as a parent.
Even today, with a 4-year-old child, I cannot confidently predict what my next few hours will be like. With Pari’s has a volatile temperament, what she likes today, she might not want to see a few hours later. What she’s craving to eat just now, might not entice her even an hour later when served in a plate, the dress she’d been pestering me to let her wear for the party, might get rejected by her the minute she admires herself in the mirror, wearing it. A hasty glass of chilled water after spending time in the Sun can turn lives upside down in matter of minutes.
Isn’t this unpredictability overwhelming?
Absolutely. It took a lot of adjustment in my internal milieu to learn to stay calm, remember to keep breathing, tell my heart to avoid getting in attack mode, to keep my mind from losing.
Have I learnt my lessons well in the 4 years of being a parent?
Not in the least. Maybe it is the fault in my stars or perhaps in the mitochondria of my body cells that I get fidgety the minute something unpredictable happens. As I slowly got used to things not going as planned, came the ugly phase of “I told you so”.
Not from me but my parents, who for some unknown reason can always anticipate what will go wrong, they just choose to point it out only after it has happened. Brilliant.
That’s when I sat my nerve-wrecked self down and had a deep talk. This was when I decided to stop wallowing in self-pity when my meticulous planning would go down the drain in matters of minutes of my day starting. I chose to go with the flow. Stop attempting to be a perfectionist (that illusion has such deep claws that it never really lets you free yourself). Stop complaining about the life I was gifted keeping the imaginary sequence of events as the reference point.
I just had to learn the lesson the hard way because without it I was struggling, suffocating every day. I learnt to cross the bridge when I get to it. In the meantime, training myself to possess enough stamina, sufficient resources to tackle whatever life dishes out and polish the plate clean.
Did anything good come out of the unpredictable life I’ve been gifted?
Like everything else, I learnt a handful of lessons from banging my full-of-planning-head on the unpredictability wall everyday:
- Whatever happens, happens for a reason because it is supposed to be a connecting link to the next chapter in the book of life. So why not live, explore and if possible enjoy it while you’re here so you understand every milestone well?
- Unpredictability is the be-getter of exhilaration. Remember the joy surprise gifts give us as compared to planned presents?
- Believe, “yes, I can do it” and face every challenge head on. Be the bull and charge. 90% of the times you won’t need to lock horns because your determination is enough to make things work.
- Remember, you are not alone. Everyone alive, be it a bird, a plant, an insect, human and of course every other mother is going through something on the same lines.
- Never label it ‘Luck’. It is a way of life of gifting you many big, small presents everyday. Live it in high spirits because life loves those who love it back.
- What’s a bad day in your dictionary might be the good day someone is praying for. Be humbled by challenges, look straight, chin up and move on. Like good times aren’t forever, so are bad times.
- Remember, your children are watching you all the time. You’re their role model. Teach them optimism over pessimism, make them warriors and not whiners.
- Be kind to yourself. Feeling overwhelmed, broken, in despair are normal. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling low.
- Find creative ways to vent out the pain. When Pari drives me crazy, I turn on the music and dance with her till we both are dead tired so that the hurt and pain have no way of ruling our systems anymore.
- Never pour your frustration on your children. Never.
How do you tackle the unpredictability of life? Face it or hide from it?
Do you have anything to add to my list?
* This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge 2016. My theme is Parenting.
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