Jeez! You’d think a writer would be more prompt and consistent with her blog! Apparently not… But cut me some slack… I’m running a house here with little to no experience! Anyway, I’m here now… So if you have absolutely nothing to do, read on!
I got thinking the other day about how much has changed since the wedding… how much I’ve changed… Not more than four years ago, I was sure I was not getting married. Now, I’m happy I didn’t stick to that. However, now that I’ve seen the other side of the coin, a few thoughts came to me about what I would do differently if I got to go back to being unmarried. A lot of these look like regrets but barring the last one, they are not. They are my learnings, things I’ve taken in my stride, written off as bad judgment calls and moved on. So here are the things I’d do differently if I could be unmarried again:
- Traveled More
As a college kid, I traveled a lot. We had an active nature club in our college; The Wilson College Nature Club. And we went on several treks across the country. Even my media course involved a yearly trip with the class. Other than that, I did a little travel of my own too; a country wide stint with the Tata Jagriti Yatra to study enterprise led development all across the country. But after college, the traveling all but stopped. Now I wish I’d done more of it. I LOVE to travel… so does my husband. But the kind of travel you can do as a single, unattached young girl is very different from the sort you do as a married woman with a house to run. For one, I could have afforded to let curiosity be my guide and take me wherever it wanted. Now, my husband and I need to plan, prioritize and make contingencies for contingencies. Mind you, I enjoy this too.. but if I got a do over, I’d do a LOT more of the ‘young girl’ kinda adventurous traveling in the years between graduation and marriage.
- Taken Better Care Of My Health
I wish I’d eaten those fruits when mom told me to. I wish I’d worked out more often. I wish I’d made it a habit to oil my hair and maintain it well. If I’d done that back then, today, it would have been second nature and not just another thing I need to learn to do. If I get a do over, I’d go back and push myself to do these things till they became muscle memory. I’d keep myself fit and in good health, irrespective of the pressures of my career. I’d have eaten healthier, kept my hair long and beautiful like they used to be when I was a kid. Don’t get me wrong; this isn’t about living up to some impossible standard of beauty. Think of it more as a self maintenance routine. If I could do that, I’d have a much better version of me today, a much healthier, fabulous haired version, much more adept at handling the stress of day to day life.
- Insisted On A Smaller Wedding
I loved my wedding day. It was perfect! It was beautiful! Our pandit (priest) explained each step of the rituals to us and it felt divine! We had a relatively small wedding because both of us didn’t believe in the opulent, money guzzling mini festivals people have these days in the name of weddings. We saved ourselves a lot of financial headaches due to that but even then, it was not an easy feat to pull off. It DID burn holes in our pockets. And now, every time we begin to put things on the back burner due to financial priorities, I find myself wondering, was it worth it? Of course, having our whole entire extended families and friends there with us on that day did feel wonderful… but wouldn’t it have been a nicer feeling to have no financial worries in the first year of being married? We aren’t exactly cutting corners right now but I have a feeling we might have put the money to better use after the wedding day than on it. When we decided on forever, we’d toyed with the idea of a court wedding but given up on it not only for the sake of our families but also because we’d wanted to experience the rituals. If I got to make that choice again however, I am half convinced that I’d go for a much smaller, intimate affair with just our parents and siblings at the family court or a small temple. We’d have spent far lesser and had a much larger kitty to begin our life together with. Yes, it would have been a task convincing the families to agree upon this; a lot of people would have felt hurt and excluded but I could have come up with a way to convince them if I’d have tried. After all, they love us so much, they would have liked the idea of our secure life more than a big wedding day.
Note To Self: If my son/ daughter asks for a small wedding or a court wedding, I will not pressurize them into anything else. I’ll know that they have the foresight that I lacked and give them my blessings.
- Spent More Time With My Sister and My Cousins
I enjoy the fabulous position of being an elder to one awesome sister and four cousin brothers on my mothers side along with being a younger sister to two elder cousin brothers on my father’s side. All my cousins are amazing. Yes, as kids we spent innumerable holidays together. We fought, had ‘adventures’ and created memories. But as the years built up, we saw lesser and lesser of each other. I wish that hadn’t happened. Now, three of my brothers live in three foreign countries… the remaining may not be distanced as much by space as by time. Yet, I feel a bond with all of them. We keep in constant touch via social networks and whatsapp but it is not the same. I wish I could have had a little more time with all of them. A few more summers and festivals that I spent instead with friends and work. If I could do it all over, I’d make it a priority to be with them more often. And though my sister and I lived under the same roof until 10 months ago, I’d spend more time with her too. Take her shopping maybe, or for a movie every once in a while… I wish I’d done that.
- Learnt More Of Mom’s Cooking
This is a regret. It is not a learning, it is a regret. My mom is an earth shatteringly awesome cook… so are my aunts and my grand mothers. Thanks to that, I was raised with some of the best quality home made food ever that seemed to magically appear on the table at every meal. My mom made cooking look so easy, I never took it too seriously. I never understood the value of that food. As a teen, I made faces at the vegetables and used any excuse to eat out. But today, when I could easily order in for every other meal, my heart craves that soul food. Now, I bug my mom every day for her recipes and she whatsapps them to me. I know now as I toil in the kitchen, just how much effort goes into making one single, simple meal. Every time I cook, I taste it and feel, ‘its not as good as mom’s’. I often say, world peace is only one step away; get all the world leaders to sit at a table and eat my mother’s cooking… they’d be so contented, they wouldn’t entertain thoughts of something as wasteful and ridiculous as war. So if I get a do over, I’ll spend a lot more time in the kitchen with mom. I’ll learn how to make food the way she does so that when I have my own kitchen, I’ll know how to run it like her. And I’ll tell her how much I love her food as many times as I could because no exotic burgers, no amazing buffet can compare to the peace and tranquility of mom made food.
Piece of advice to the unmarried folks: go into the kitchen right now and hug your mom (or dad… whoever is cooking). And while you can, learn their recipes. Girls, don’t think this is a ‘backward’ thought… to learn to cook for your husbands… learn to cook for yourselves, even if you don’t plan to get married. Guys, you are no exception. You may find yourself a wife who will oblige to cook for you but you WILL miss your home food. So learn the recipes now so that you can make them for yourself later. I know my husband misses his mom’s cooking too. But since we live close to them, he gets a chance to go back and eat there often. You may not be that lucky… my mom lives 400 km away and I get the chance to eat at her table very rarely…
Its been 9 months since we got married and it took me this long to realize these things. I hope that this helps those of you who are in a place good enough to have the time to do the things you want to. I know it sounds preachy but twenty years from now, you’ll want a do over. However, no matter how badly we wish for them, do-overs are not a reality. To quote the MLTR song, Living is a one way street… So do it right the first time. Strive for the things you want out of life but in the race to get ahead of time, don’t forget to take a moment to appreciate what you have. Take a look at the back burners every now and then and make sure you aren’t letting some of your dreams burn away. After all, Life isn’t about where you reach but about how you got there… enjoy the journey!
The New Mrs. Iyer