The Grass is Greener on My Side

Posted on March 27, 2012

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This is a post about gratitude. In the last few days, I have spoken to a few close friends about this at great length. The basic premise is that there is no horrible situation that you and I can be in that does not have a positive side. Or more simply, “It could have been worse!” When I say “you and I”, I mean people who are lucky enough to know how to read and write, have enough money to own a computer and fortunate enough to have the time to develop themselves.

Let me begin by saying it has taken me 12 years to get here and even now, there are days, when I go through the “Why Me?” virus. But mostly, I am a more grateful person. And this has changed my life. I am more positive, hopeful, cheerful and most importantly contented.

Here are a few examples from my life that might help you understand what I am trying to say.

3. Not Living Close to Friends and Family: My friends are my family. And my dad, sister and niece are my heartbeats and oxygen. I have lived away from home since 2003, but I had managed to visit every 2 months or so. Now, it’s been 1 year since I have been home. Most people think that with technology, the distance feel like much. While there is some truth in that, I feel nothing replaces a hug, mindless banter over endless cups of tea, a no-reason midnight prowl around the city and just being in the same space as someone else, sharing silence. I find myself calling people back home to confide in them about the things that bother me, but not being able to mouth the words. The distance is so much, that I do not want to worry them about things they cannot control. But it could have been worse. I could have stayed in the same city, the rest of my life, never ventured out. I would not have the perspectives I have today, or the experiences that have shaped me into ME! And that scares me more than anything. I am grateful for having lived in Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Ann Arbor, Iowa City and now Chicago 🙂 I have finally found a place I can call home. 

2. Not Having a Full-Time Paid Job: Since I took up my first job in 2005, I have been financially independent. Actually, since I graduated high school, I have worked in the summer holidays and earned some money to spend. And since then, I judicially saved a lot of money, paid for a month-long vacation in the US in 2010, contributed a modest sum to my wedding and then some! In 2011, I got married to my boyfriend of 4 years and moved to the US. My current visa status does not allow me to work without an employer’s sponsorship. There are many days I feel guilty for spending money on things that I don’t need. I struggle with the feeling of “using someone else’s money”. But it could have been worse. Actually it was. I did get a job when I first came. It seemed like a miracle, but as soon I started working, it turned into a nightmare. I worked late night shifts, and all weekends and holidays. I barely saw my husband. I worked a different shift almost everyday and I  felt like a zombie. Today, I am a full-time volunteer in an organization that I used to dream of working at! I am doing a job that gives me a reason to wake up in the morning and get dressed. I have enough time to workout, spend time with my friends and my husband and spend quality time with myself. I couldn’t have been any luckier.

1. Mom’s Illness and Death: While this is the worst thing to happen to me, I do think it could have been worse. It could have happened to dad, the breadwinner of the family. And alongwith the horrible illness, we’d have been broke, poor and hungry. I am thankful to God/Higher Power/the Universe for ensuring that we had enough to eat all those years. It could have been worse, if WE – as a family didn’t have the inner strength to carry on. What if I had become a junkie? What if I had committed suicide? What if I had suffered from chronic depression? I am grateful for all the guardian angels who took care of us, who watched me do crazy stuff, but never let it go out of hand. Yes, it could have been worse. Much, much, much worse.

There are several things I still complain about. I fight with my husband for random things. But, in my heart I know…I am grateful for where I am, with whom I am, and with who I am today. And for the first time, since my mom fell sick, and my first crush broke my heart, I can say, this is MY life and I love it. There is no one whose life I’d rather have. The grass is greener on my side.

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Posted in: attitude, life