CHOOSE A LIFESTYLE YOU WANT – NOT OTHERS

Lifestyle and I had conflicts ever since I was born.

Ever since my childhood being little introspective and determined in a variable way, I ensured to be little more intentional in my every step ahead. My lifestyle choices have always amused me, surprised me, shocked me, bored me as well as condemned me as well as other people in my life in many ways.

Being brought up in a typical Keralite family, I was kind of bound to be more like a Keralite had followed most of the things from my mothers’ footsteps. I had to be invariably the same after a couple of mistakes and challenges I took up to blend in various other lifestyles.

My Conflicts with the Girl inside me

I always wanted to be boyish, but again my features never did justice to my thoughts. My thoughts just remained in my deeds but not in my appearance. To some extent, I believed that being a boy was far better because they had the best reward in life – FREEDOM. I used to hate wearing typical girl shoes and pink dresses. It did not give me the comfort to be more girlish in some way.

Again in the coming years, I realised being a girl was a blessing indeed. It is not about the Freedom, but being a Girl mattered me. (I kind of turned semi-Feminist).

My Conflicts in adapting to dressing style

Any time of the day, all I wanted to wear is a Tshirt and pants, but again here my consciousness being little heavy built failed me here. My dressing style was never acceptable to anyone in the family. When they want me to be a typical Kerala style -Salwar-Clad girl, I wanted to escape from all these barriers.

My Conflicts with my routines

Like every other youngster, I too had a lousy lifestyle- sometimes oversleeping, sometimes overworking and much more. And after numerous trials and errors, the curtain fell over it, when motherhood took over my life. I changed myself to craft a beautiful and convenient lifestyle for my children. Something to blend in the lives around me. It actually worked out giving me sufficient time to manage my own things too, which I felt was a better way to live happily.

As I went abroad too, my customized style never left me. It had become a kind of sheath I used to cover my insecurities. My Lifestyle became a burden to my mind gradually.

My Conflicts led me to be a target at every instance, as it had become a vulnerability in me. The more I had disputes in me the challenges just doubled.

It wasn’t easy to fix a lifestyle that suited me. Off and on  I get so motivated and carried away – and all I do is try to blend in. It never worked in my favour.

Until when I realised. It was better to be Just ME.

The Road to No Regrets

Living by persuasion, without being approved is quite hard. It came in as a late realisation that it is easy to choose what actually suits me and which actually befits me. When I realised, it all came perfectly well to me.

I realised that whatever outside influence comes to my mind, it should never bother me. All I have to do is just be who I am, rather than stop becoming what others want me to be.

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ACCEPT YOUR INDIVIDUALITY

I grew up watching my cousins wearing beautiful dresses and spending lavishly. I couldn’t do so as my parents didn’t have enough to allow me to spend beyond the genuine needs. All I could do was look at my cousins and take a sigh. I knew the financial condition of my parents and, therefore, I didn’t ask for more. But I always wanted to have what my cousins and my friends owned. I wanted those pretty sandals, dresses, and what not! 

As an ordinary girl, I too used to get fascinated by the lifestyle of the celebrities. I followed some of them to an extent my pocket could allow. I used to see how those celebrities followed a lifestyle to look elegant and presentable and it did influence me. I used to follow their eating and speaking style so that I too could look elegant. Gradually, I felt like being choked up. The influence of someone’s lifestyle was choking me. Maybe because for me, their lifestyle was hard to accept. For a moment, it did feel like fascinating but eventually, I decided to give up and follow my own lifestyle.

Leave about celebrities, even when I went to my village I saw girls of my age and younger to me wearing salwar-kameez. Honestly, I consider this to be one of the most-beautiful attire a girl can ever have. Influenced by those girls, I decided to quit my trousers and tees. Trust me, I couldn’t take the salwar-kameez for a long time. It was all about a week or two. I guess this happened because I personally never felt the urge to wear salwar-kameez all the time. I started to feel as if I am locked up in a dark room. I guess this happened because I was never used to living like them.

It is not only about clothes. When you follow a lifestyle, many things count in it. The food you eat, your sleeping schedule, your way of speaking, weekend plans, and much more. And it is completely okay if you are having a different lifestyle. Most of my friends go on a trip or go to some pubs on weekends. I, on the other end, love spending time with my books, answering Quora questions, and reading blogs. For me, going to parties and shopping seems way too boring and time-consuming. This amazes my friends and they wonder if I ever enjoy? Trust me, I enjoy a lot because I have my own life and a way of living. And I love it. It is not necessary that everyone will have a similar lifestyle.

Unless our soul is not convinced to follow a lifestyle, not just for the sake of following but because we love it, we can’t go a long way with that lifestyle. Lifestyle is not just a matter of a day or two. It is all about our comfort, upbringing, and the environment we live in. Today, I earn on my own but not as much as my friends do. With the money I get, I can buy whatever clothes I want or eat whatever I want but I can’t. I am more influenced by my lifestyle I have been following so far. But if you think the other person is having a better lifestyle then you must know it is not easy to step into one’s shoes. The best thing is to accept your individuality and live accordingly. 

LIFESTYLE: A CONTINUOUS PROCESS OF ADAPTATION AND ADJUSTMENTS

Geographic location, family background, socioeconomic status, culture, people and individual personality patterns give shape to our lifestyles. There are certain commonalities in the lifestyle of the human race. But, the ways of living out those lifestyles often varies. For example, all humans eat to live and all wear clothes to be socially presentable. However, who eats what and who wears which type of clothes may differ even between houses on the same lane.

And so, we all have our lifestyles. As adults, we either choose to maintain the lifestyle that we are brought up in or we opt to change that lifestyle radically because of certain thought processes or influences in our lives. Many of us decide to tinker with our foundational lifestyle and imbibe a few features of a new lifestyle and find a middle path to retain the old and imbibe the new. Whatever said and done, we all have certain unique lifestyles.

For a little more than twenty years of my life, I grew up in a city that defined my lifestyle with its mannerisms. Later as I moved to the national capital, I found myself blending in with the capital city’s lifestyle all the while holding on to the mannerisms I grew up with. Close to nine years of my stay in the national capital helped me discover myself and be me. That was something I didn’t get to do in the initial years of my life. Presently, my job has brought me to a semi-rural place with its share of challenges. The transition needed a huge lifestyle shift because since the last four generations no one in my family has lived anywhere close to a rural habitation. To live and work in such a set up requires lifestyle changes.

We, humans, are shaped with such personality traits that help us to adapt to our surroundings on most occasions (though the extent to which we adapt varies from person to person). That’s how we thrive. 

But, then some aren’t able to cope with lifestyle changes. There was this family I know who moved to New Zealand from India, on getting more promising work opportunities. Their children were quite small at that time. However, they had to return to India in a year’s time as their little daughter wasn’t able to acquaint herself with the new place and the lifestyle changes. 

Also, there are some who don’t wish to cope with lifestyle changes. There’s a friend’s vegetarian husband who was to travel to London for an official trip of a week. From the day he received the order, he fell sick with rising blood pressure (though he is an absolutely healthy man). His worry was how would he have his meals at a place that served non-vegetarian food! (He assumed there is no space for vegetarians in Western countries). Well, finally he ended up stuffing his suitcases with a lot of eatables so that he won’t have to eat a thing in London. Of course, he had a different story to tell on return!

The most demanding lifestyle change of all is brought about by marriage. No matter how well the couple know each other before marriage, staying under the same roof with a commitment for life is a different ball game altogether. It requires huge lifestyle adjustments. Sometime back I heard a person nearing sixty describe how his and his wife’s tastes are polar opposites in every matter. One needs the fan to run at full speed while the other barely needs the fan. One dislikes cold drinks while the other dislikes all hot drinks. He cited many other such instances. It was really amusing to hear him narrate. But, he concluded that in spite of all these differences they have loved each other all these years and have remained committed without any major argument between them. Well, I won’t call it ‘the perfect marriage’ as I have written in one of my previous articles that there aren’t any perfect couples and perfect marriages – only well-adjusted ones.

Lifestyles can be static – especially if people do not wish to let go of traditional generational mannerisms. But, lifestyles can be vibrantly dynamic as well, for people who are open to exploring and imbibing newness and variation.

It’s wise to be open to exploration, but instead of blindly aping on newness, it is prudent to adopt the lifestyle that is good and acceptable in the eyes of God.

WHY I DON’T HAVE THE LIFESTYLE THAT I WISHED FOR!

A few years ago, I was asked to leave the present job to join a better one which was to fetch good money and was in my home town. I didn’t choose money but chose the place where I am now. I always feel that I am not greedy and I don’t have love of money. It might be true; I don’t have love of money in my present condition though I earn very little in comparison to the world around me. But sometimes I wonder and wish if I get an award of a crore rupees from nowhere then what will I do with it? I dream and wish to buy a few apartments for my immediate family members and rent out the rest as my future earnings. I will gift cash to my sisters and a few that I will keep in my wife’s name as a fixed deposit. And the rest of the money I will spend lavishly on food and travel. I am a good boy; I don’t drink or spend on women. Huh!

So, if I am given money at a given point of time then I might spend it lavishly. I have the human desire of enjoying life and just because I don’t earn or don’t have the ability to earn, I tend to feel that I don’t have that desire of money – this is not very true. My lifestyle would have been different than how it is now if I would have more money or wealth. I might not have led a bad lifestyle because of the wealth but I would have definitely taken the pride for having that wealth.

Money! Yeah, it does play a vital role behind someone’s or a family’s lifestyle. We take the decision to follow a certain lifestyle depending on our financial stability.

I always love to be peaceful person – a reconciliator and a calm person. I don’t like to confront people face to face and get into unnecessary arguments. My personality and my character traits make me follow a particular lifestyle. But sometimes I feel like retaliating and hitting back those who wronged me. At that time, I wish if I would have been a person having the physical strength and muscle power then I would have taught people good lessons. My lifestyle would have been different.

It is not only about my attitude or character, but my good health or muscle power would have determined a different job for me altogether and so also a different lifestyle. There are so many things in life I am either restricted or unable to do, all because of my health condition. But if the case would have been different then I would have done everything that I only can wish today and I am sure that would have allowed me to lead a different lifestyle.

So like money and wealth, physical strength and good health do play a vital role in determining someone’s lifestyle.

You might ask me if I feel sad about it. Yes, I do sometimes if I think humanly, but that sometimes is very small in comparison to how God let me lead a particular lifestyle in front of all the odds. I understood one thing very clearly and that is how I was commanded by my God – “Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Watch the path of your feet and all your ways will be established. Do not turn to the right nor to the left; Turn your foot from evil.”

I make sure at the end of the day to check if I have fallen short of the standard or the lifestyle I am supposed to live up to despite my shortcomings and vulnerabilities. I believe God asks of us to adopt certain lifestyles for a purpose. And I acknowledge it wholeheartedly. I understood, ‘Why I don’t have the lifestyle that I wished for.’ It is better for all of us to understand so.

So, friends! Get ready for this week, reading about different lifestyles our writers lead and what they had or have wished for.

Keep reading, keep leaving your valuable feedback…

Stay blessed!

I AM DISAPPEARING

Cynthia: Hey, why are you staring at me? 

Lucy: You look beautiful.

Cynthia: Thank you! 

Lucy: You seem so happy. 

Cynthia: Aren’t you happy? 

Lucy:  I don’t look beautiful as you. 

Cynthia: What has beauty to do with happiness?

Lucy: No? See, so many people come to visit you. They are amazed by your beauty. They take lots of pictures of you 😦

Cynthia: You would have seen many who admire my external appearance. Have you encountered anyone who cares for me? 

Lucy: Oh! But why?

Cynthia: Yes, people are interested in their recreation but never think of what can be done to preserve us. 

Lucy: No? 

Cynthia: Well, no.  They aren’t even bothered if I am going to be extinct. Many of my fellow species have already become extinct. 

Lucy: Then I am the one who is better off here. At least some people are interested in giving food and accepting me as their family. 

Cynthia: Yes, you are lucky. 

Lucy: Most of our habitats are being occupied, I hope they stop doing this. 

Cynthia: Yes, sorry, Lucy. I cannot do anything for you. 

Lucy: Yes, you can. Please be happy

Are you wondering who Cynthia and Lucy are? This is their picture together. 

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(Image Credit – Pixabay.com)

From the moment I saw the picture, there was only one question on my mind. When was the last time I saw a butterfly in Bangalore? Except for parks, I have never seen them otherwise. I remember during childhood, so many caterpillars and butterflies were taking rounds in our garden. Now, we don’t have them. It is sad, the first thing I thought of is the butterfly extinction when I saw this picture. 

Butterflies do not need much from us. They have their own enemies in the form of birds and insects. All we need to do is not dwell on their habitats. Another reason why butterflies are dying is the use of pesticides. Fruits, vegetables, and nectar are the main staples for butterflies. The use of pesticides is causing genetic changes in the produce, that butterflies could not survive on them. During summer, when the temperature crosses 40 degrees Celcius, butterflies cannot fly. They lose their capacity to fly. If you see a butterfly in your balcony or garden, during such time, provide water and some corn for them to eat. They cannot survive otherwise. Butterflies are very beautiful, and future generations would have to only read about them in books if we do not become responsible. Hope to see lots of colorful butterflies coming season.

THE ROAD AHEAD

This is a very intriguing picture and I like to call it “The Road Ahead…”. One look at it and I felt this depicts life. Our journey through life and our future – the journey into the unknown…

 “The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say” 

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

 

(Image Credit – Pixabay.com)

There are two ways to look at this picture. One could be the gloomy lookout. I sit in my room overwhelmed with all the problems I am facing, feeling depressed and thinking about my future. When I look at this picture I feel this aptly depicts my future. The sky is overcast with dark and ominous looking clouds. I can barely see the path I am treading yet I am zooming ahead full speed. Scared of what is in store for me. Wondering if the clouds will ever dissipate and allow sunshine into my life.

And the second outlook would be again looking at my future. But this time I am full of enthusiasm. This time I see these clouds as full of promise. The promise that the first clouds of monsoon bring to us. The promise of rains – the rains that bring us prosperity and abundance and hope that makes us zoom towards that future.

My mood changes my interpretation but one thing is for sure. I think there is a reason why God allows us to see only a little bit ahead of us and keeps the future hidden. This keeps our hopes alive and makes us strive for a better future.

As I wrote in an earlier article also. Hope makes the world go round…

LOVING WISDOM OF THE MOTHER HEN

Elusive, these days, are the sights of hens with their brood of chicks tagging behind them. But, if you go to the countryside, you’ll be greeted with such endearing scenes near farmsteads and in the fields. It is truly entertaining to watch the chicks following the mother hen wherever she goes. The mother hen, on her part, is wise in her ways to exhibit behaviours that her little ones would follow to learn.

A psychologist by the name of Konrad Lorenz was intrigued by these sights. He keenly observed the phenomenon of some species of animals forming an attachment to the first large moving object that they meet (it may be any object, not necessarily a parent animal). After conducting intensive research, Lorenz came to the conclusion that this phenomenon is innate and programmed genetically. He named this process ‘imprinting’. Most animals acquire their locomotor skills by imprinting.

Imprinting is not proven in humans, though babies are seen to imitate their caregivers in various respects. Be it in animals or in humans, caregivers are known to train their young ones as they go about their day-to-day activities.

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(Image Credit: Google Inc.)

A mother hen ensures that her chicks follow her to the right places to pick on the right type of fodder. The chicks observe their mother picking on certain worms and insects and leaving out certain others. These, they understand are poisonous. Also, the chicks learn from their mother’s behaviours how to identify the predators and ways to escape from their clutches. Sensing danger and inclement weather conditions, the hen calls out to her little ones in her special language and the chicks hurry to the safety of their mother’s wings.

The role of the mother hen is to train, guide, protect and make her chicks capable enough to survive and fend for themselves in the world.

But, not all chicks are sensitive and obedient to their mother’s voice and behavior. There are those who prefer to go their own way. They are the ones who learn their life lessons the hard way. At times, they don’t live to learn the lesson!

Looking at this picture and penning these lines, I am reminded of God’s ways of training and nurturing human beings. He shows the footprints that need to be followed and calls out to each of us in languages that we can well understand. He points out where enemies lurk around to pounce on us. Those who are sensitive and obedient to His voice walk confident of their ways – may be in rugged terrains, but sure of the grip of every step they take.

However, there are those who choose not to be sensitive to His call and care. They opt to go their own ways. Still, God spreads out His love as a mother hen spreads out her wings to protect her chicks from harm.

Indeed, God is gracious and merciful in His ways – teaching us amidst myriad life events, the ways to live and emerge victorious. Are we willing to learn under His loving care?