It’s a ritual. On the first day of school, no matter how tightly scheduled our work commitments are, we always take the morning off to drop off the kids to school and go for a coffee date. After the coffee date, we let life take over, and absorb our senses in the drowning noises of the mundane life, waking up at the alarm, and sleeping just enough to survive the next day on three cups of caffeine. It’s called work life balance, but I like to call it mundane, because I strongly feel that my life is capable of magnificent. Loving spouse, pretty and intelligent children, and a house have redefined and refined me, but haven’t completed me.
There is more to me that I have met already.
My loneliness and I have a date on the first cold and windy morning of fall. First we congratulate each other on surviving another summer. We celebrate the warmth of fuzzy jackets and tall boots, Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Panettones with it. “They drive me away from their lives, and you want to reunite with me, warms my heart, this love”, she says. “They drive me into your arms, it suffocates me, too much love, too much warmth, I love the ice cold side of my heart”, I say.
I do, I do love my ice cold side. A cold heart that stops me from fine tuning my work in those two bonus hours I scored that day. A cold heart that stops me from setting a lunch date with husband, or a girl friend. A cold heart that stops me from channeling the inner domestic goddess to whip out a batch of snacks to wait on the counter for the children coming back from school. A cold heart that stops me from massacring those ants creeping up the backyard concrete like a brown band of soldiers. A cold heart that stops my thoughts, my guilt. A cold heart that wants me to sit on that chair facing the window and just stare without thinking of buying bird food because I spotted a dove that visits my backyard, or get tricked into the guilt of doing something that others would appreciate and reward me with their happiness.
Speaking of happiness, Chasing Happiness began this January, but as seasons rolled, the original goal was revised and revisited. With fall comes a new pact, to redefine happiness with a quote from philosopher Immanuel Kant :
“Rules for Happiness: something to do, someone to love, something to hope for.”
Rule #1: Something to do.
Oh, there is a lot to do. I live a blessed life where the list grows as the love grows. There is always something that’s not done, there is always something that needs to be done, now. I should edit my novel, write my blog, and contribute to that real estate blog I am writing. I should also read a novel while I cheer on the children who kick and punch. I should listen to Lang Lang, but before I should listen to R1’s piece that she wants me to critique. An untrained ear is a better critique than the one who knows the note, she says. Thankfully I don’t take it as an insult and add learning to identify notes as they are played to the long list. I should cook dinner, I should try that new restaurant, I should try a new drink with unidentified beautiful things floating in it, and I should organize more.
But before that, I should go to work on time, ensure that I am the star I am used to be, be punctual at all scheduled pick-ups of the day, and try to eat healthy. Something to do? I have a lot to do, and I didn’t even add scan through pictures of friends of friends on Facebook, go through random articles posted by my friends, and of course worry about the inflation being brought with QE3, rising cost of milk and bread, and gas. The other day, a friend shared a movie clip where a woman and child sit isolated in a different room of the house, and based on the aroma coming from the kitchen, try to identify the food that was cooked. One day I want to make something so beautiful. That would start a list of unrealistic expectations though.
Rule #2: Someone to love
Thankfully I am past my teenage years where I had to wait for somebody to love. At this stage of life, I know love is an emotion just like sorrow, and it can be shared with anyone and everyone. I love my husband, I love my children, I love my parents, I love my distant uncle whom I haven’t met since childhood, and that second removed cousin whom I haven’t met, and all my friends. Sometimes I fall in love with the feeling of holding a baby in my arms, and I pick up my neighbor’s baby. Sometimes I fall in love with a furry cat, and I run my fingers through one of my daughter’s furry toys. Sometimes I fall in love with the man who provides me healthy insurance while I liberate myself from cubicle slavery, manages the mornings with my children while I report to work when the phones don’t ring and emails don’t pop, loves me and my many moods unconditionally and during those times I just call the person I am married to, and say I love you.
Rule #3: Something to hope for
I am an eternal optimist. Somebody sold me a promise of hope and change four years ago, and I gladly believed. I don’t hope to lose ten pounds, or to have better children or to have a better relation with my spouse because that’s not something that you hope for- that’s something you work for. Years ago, as an Architecture student, I read a book on the details of Twin Towers in New York. After we got married, I told my husband that before we go to those snowy places to sing our own Bollywood song freezing in chiffon saris, I want to visit Twin Towers. He said it’s not going anywhere, neither are we. We couldn’t go to where it was then, and haven’t been to where it stood now. I hope for a future where hopes like those aren’t shattered. I hope life stays beautiful, and the world too, for me and my children, and the generations to come.
There! I have a lots to do, lot of people to love and lots of hopes in life. Thoughts like these bring lots of happiness to the ice cold heart that wants to curl up in a corner of a dark room in the name of creativity and warm it up. There is more to me, but there is more around me right now. Let me go talk to the neighbor, pick up my children, reply to the work-related emails, enjoy a lunch date with my husband and continue to steal moments on my smart phone to read the latest smut, and check Facebook pictures of the perfect lives of others, and chat with my mother to know the latest happenings in the family, yes, that includes every little news about the second removed cousin that I haven’t yet met.
My loneliness is calling me, my chaos has drowned me.
Silence calls, but white noise sends a loud and clear signal to report.