Updated: Jan 6, 2021
We’ve finally bid farewell to 2020! Everyone waiting with bated breath that 2021’s definitely going to be better! Pfizer’s going to deliver the magic potion and we’re all going to feel pfine (pun intended)!
2020 has really been an eye opener if not anything else. 2020 was unfortunate, but a necessary catastrophe for this world! This pandemic taught people that we don't need to visit temples, churches or shrines but just mumble a prayer in our hearts inside your home! It taught us how “my way or highway” is not always how life works. It humbled people into realizing there are bigger forces than humans and we can do nothing about it! It taught people to be optimistic and hopeful.
My biggest learning in 2020 was that we can still celebrate something that’s important to us, just amongst us. We don’t need people around us to acknowledge it or celebrate it with us. It’s what is important to us that counts. Case in point: I planned to renew our marriage vows in 2020 to commemorate our 10th wedding anniversary. Our family definitely needed a break and we needed a reason to celebrate. So this was our big getaway! I had it all planned out. We took a family vacation to Mexico. There, I went down on my knees to propose to my husband (who was absolutely embarrassed because I chose to propose inside a restaurant)! When we got back, I started planning a big fat wedding. This was my chance. Our original wedding was typically to please the elderly in our families. Nothing. Absolutely nothing was according to our wishes. I was drenched in gold from head to toe. Smothered with make-up against my wishes. 50 people shouting all at once how we were supposed to “perform” our wedding ceremony. The only thing different about our wedding from the regular Indian wedding was that the bride and groom were not “chosen for us” but who we chose!
So this time, I planned my wedding. I even planned a surprise “bachelor’s party” for my husband with his friends. I picturized my wedding in cream and gold and decided what the bridesmaids will wear, what the decor will be, the catering.
Amidst all this excitement of planning, I made the same mistake that my elders had made. I forgot to ask my husband what he wanted. I didn’t ask my son if he needed something special.
And then, the pandemic hit. Finally, our wedding was attended by just 2 people it was meant for actually. My husband and me. Even our son couldn’t join us because it wasn’t safe to take him with us. I wore no gold. There was no decor. Just my husband and me at the temple and the priest. We had a great wedding that touched our heart. The cups in our minds that were already filled up to the brim with the traditions and ceremonies we have seen growing up, were completely emptied. This wedding was more pure than anything we could’ve ever imagined. This was the right ceremony that finally celebrated our love... our life.
Just 2 pictures were taken and not 100 that you usually see at a big fat Indian wedding. We came home to my mother and my son who were eagerly waiting to see us and the happiness we saw in our son’s eyes gleamed of pride. This is what 2020 gave me. The most priceless gift.
And we are humans, we don’t learn from our mistakes. I again made the mistake of sharing our vows renewal pictures with our friends. One of my friends replied that I look “fat and aunty-like.”
Imagine, this was one of the biggest moments of my life and I wanted to share my joy and this is the comment I got. I actually thank her for this comment. This comment and a few personal reasons drove me to decide “enough is enough! This is my life and I own it.” Since it was the pandemic, my therapies and my post stroke rehab were completely at a standstill. I started working out at home aiming to strengthen myself and today I am at my pre-stroke weight. I lost all the 24 pounds I had gained as a side effect of medicines and due to less activity. But more importantly, I lost something that made people judge me and it also taught me that people will judge no matter what and what they think doesn’t matter at all.
As the most apt ending to 2020, my son and I watched Soul on Disney+. They have packed an emotional life changing thought in an animation movie yet again. Simply brilliant! Soul is a movie we need to watch now more than anything else!
Soul tells us that it’s not necessary that we should “do” something with life. It’s absolutely okay to just simply “be”. It’s the first time a movie has actually shown us that being “normal” is good. You don’t have to be special. Your “spark” doesn’t need to be your “purpose”.
I'll tell you a story: I used to be a star in school owing to my singing and dancing and also because my older brother was a star in the same school and I had all eyes on me to take forward the legacy.
College was the same. I was the lead singer of the music band. It was all bliss and fun.
After graduating I took up a job as a Human Resource professional and for the first time I faced failure miserably. I realized I had zero organizational skills. I felt like a failure for not being able to do something that everyone around me does. Later I got married and had my son premature. He was born with issues and taking care of him made me realize this is actually my purpose. I was just not ashamed to admit that not doing anything big or special, but just being a good mother was my purpose. I immediately quit work and followed my purpose.
Soul resonated so much with me. It was like looking at a mirror.
This theory that “you don’t need to be special and do something, just simply be” is a thought we need to pass on to our children. This will help them to just normally grow and find their purpose without any pressure. This constant pressure of “performing” or “doing” has ruined so many generations! So many people!
Carry forward the life lessons learnt in 2020. Leave the bad memories and take only the good ones.
I used to joke that the secret of our happy marriage is that we don’t see each other for 7-8 hours a day. 2020 made me realize that our marriage is much more than that. We’ve survived being with each other constantly. This is probably true for a lot of you as well!
So cheers to bidding farewell to 2020 and hoping for a great 2021. Happy New Year once again!