Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Gift of Misery

I hope you are having a wonderful new year so far! It's good to be writing again after stepping back for quite a while. Some of you may have noticed, while majority I'm sure didn't and couldn't care less. 

To be perfectly honest, I've been going through some sort of an existential crisis as a blogger or writer. (And yes, as soon as I typed those two labels, I've had to backspace several times, retype, backspace again, retype, and finally decided to leave it be). I wish I could say that the reason for my 'disappearance' is because I was writing my first novel, or memoir, earning more money and saving the world from lunatics, aliens and asteroids. In reality, I've been feeling like a loser and have been cleaning, organizing and decorating around the house to distract myself. There's no better elixir to mask your inner mess than having an organized surrounding. 

My deep-thought moments have been all about asking what this is all for, wondering if my words count, what my end game is, and not finding any clear answers except for the clear realization that comparing myself to other bloggers, vloggers, writers, brand owners and social media wizards only make the weight of my misery completely unbearable. I know, I know, I ought to be wise enough to know that comparisons never made anyone happy. Blame it on my being a middle child, or my spending too much time in the academe simmering myself in a culture of overachievement. The fact is, I've been feeling lost and depressed. 

They say life has a funny way of calling your attention to things you need to realize and I can't help but feel that life has been calling me to take Gratitude more seriously. Because you know what? I really don't have a crappy life! In spite of my complaints and feeling lost and unworthy, and never knowing what to do next, I really OUGHT to be happy. And the real reason why I can't seem to allow myself to be happy is because I keep forcing myself to want 'more' only because of what I see people around me are doing, and because of what I assume I should be doing based on what I assume is expected of me. 

Too many assumptions, don't you think? 

Should any one person really live and measure her life based on assumptions? I think not. Neither do any of us deserve to live a life in a perpetual state of unworthiness. 

I'm tired of feeling unworthy only because I haven't accomplished things others already have. When I look at my life as a mother and a stay-at-home parent, I really am happy and content. For the longest time, I have denied that because I believed that those should never be enough. I believed that no one can (or should) be happy staying home to engage in the drudgery of housework. I believed that I'm a disappointment and a waste of space for choosing this life in spite of my master's degree and others saying how smart I am (as if only stupid people deserve to be stay-at-home parents). 

The truth is, I AM HAPPY staying home to take care of my family. 

I'm happy that my daily stress levels have been manageable and that I don't have to deal with social anxiety every day.

I am happy being who I am now, doing what I do. And just being 'Me' should be good enough for each of us. We all deserve that. Besides, the reality is that I am not 'more'—the way the material world defines 'more'—simply because it's probably not what I truly desire for myself. It's just not where my heart is.

The greatest gift I received from the Universe this New Year is this new mantra:

I will focus on being HAPPY, not on being special.

From now on, in everything that I do, the focus will be to find happiness in it, instead of craving to stand out, excel, be perfect and be recognized. Too much happiness has already been stolen from me through my fixation on wanting to be different from the rest, be 'special' and remarkable in everything that I do, that nothing seems ever good enough. I am tired. I'm tired of feeling miserable, tired of trying and ending up always disappointed with myself because I imagine the world's eyes glaring at me in judgment. I'm tired of obsessing over what the next course of action should be so that I can stand out, instead of simply choosing to do what I enjoy and makes me happy, no matter how ordinary it might seem to others. And you know what dawned on me?There is absolutely nothing wrong with being ordinary! And if being ordinary is my ticket to happiness, then I will choose it any day over wanting to be special yet staying miserable and depleted. 

We always say life is too short, and it really is. Make the most of it by focusing on seeing the abundance in you. I know now this is what I need to do. 


  1. I struggle with (almost) the same thing. I think what's "worse" is that I don't have any human children. Albeit I do have a fur child, which, of course, certainly does not equate to the level of care required of human beings.

    I also have a Master's Degree, have had a decent career in advertising, but now am struggling in my return to the workforce. It is by choice and necessity. But I do have days when I wish did some things differently in the past or just feel plain worthless. I think it also has something to do with the upbringing that when you get the opportunity to come here, you have to make it. You have to be "better" than what you've had back home. There's some unconscious, passive pressure to be that also.

    1. The pressure is most certainly there. Culturally too, I think there's very few SAHMS in my family. My mom always balanced work and family life, although of course we had house help and my Aunt lived so close that it was far easier for my mom to leave us in trusted hands. Haaay, it's always difficult. But truly, the realization that being happy should be the priority instead of wanting to stand out and be 'special' has been a sanity saver. THANKS, Didi! Let me know how it goes for you! Many blessings! XOXOX

  2. Brava, Joy! It's often hard to accept the fact that we are 'enough'. It's also hard to step back and give ourselves some time and space. You have a wonderful young family, enjoy that while you can. It slips by so quickly you will be beating yourself up in a few years because you didn't focus enough on that. Mind you, that's not true but, in hindsight it will feel that way. We set ourselves up for so much disappointment as our lives progress. You are absolutely correct about living in the moment and taking the time to breath and drink it in.

    1. It's always a challenge for us to be in the moment and just enjoy, be grateful and be at peace. I'm certainly a work in progress. I'm just really grateful I'm in great company. ;-) THANK YOU, Barbara! xoxo

  3. I am slow clapping here! You are exactly perfect the way you are. I was a stay at home until my youngest went to high school. I wanted to be there. I wanted to go on field trips and bring sweets to school (before it was banned) just being there when they came home from school. That was always important. I was what they called a latch key kid and it was so overwhelmingly lonely. I never wanted my children to feel like that.

    1. Thanks for giving me a wider, deeper perspective, Rena. I appreciate your support. We are always faced with difficult choices and am always second-guessing myself. I'm happy that people like you who have been there, done that, and have acquired the wisdom, are in my life. Thank you, my friend! It means a LOT. XOXO

  4. I love this post. Your new mantra is wonderful. I totally relate except for having a family
    Thanks for writing this

    1. And thank you so much for letting me know your thoughts. I'm very happy you enjoyed the post, Pia. XOXO


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