The Story

I constantly wonder. Isn’t there more to life than this? A full time job, completely busy life and busy mind. Every minute of my awake time occupied with work thoughts or worries. Asleep time, subconsciously worrying about work or something else. Is this it? Is it how it’s supposed to be for the rest of our lives? We work all the hours, put some money in bank, spend what little time we can with kids, wait for weekends, dream of finding that balance. Is this really all how it’s going to be?

Now, please don’t get me wrong. I am already feeling guilty typing these words and I know lots of people in the world have it way worse.

I mean, yes. I am grateful I have a good paying job. That I am healthy. So are my family. And kids. That I have a roof over our my head. I am grateful. But it’s been years that I have been feeling overwhelmed, anxious and unhappy every single time. The wait for weekends and sunday night troubles are 100% real.

The only time I have probably felt good about my work is when I am away from it for a considerable amount of time ( which is once or twice in few years) or when something worse has happened and it finally ended.

That’s my question. Is this how it’s supposed to be? Should I be just grateful and not ask for more? Should I think that as humans we are all just supposed to be living these many hours of our life at work and retire one day. Too deep, I know.

Am I not supposed to invest more time and quality into my kids? Aren’t they the best investment of my time and effort? Or if I do that am I going to regret not having enough money and stability in future? Well based on how I felt the last couple of years, I am going to worry then anyway.

I had thoughts of quitting my job. Everyone around me thought I was crazy. Everyone. I couldn’t find a single soul who thought that was a good idea. Even my parents didn’t support that. So I gave up on my idea of quitting, freeing my mind and spending better quality time with kids.

I wasn’t happy where I was, so I moved to a different team. Even if I didn’t want to work, I can’t be not good at what I do. In fact that’s what bothers me that I am not great. That I could be better. But I don’t have the energy. Atleast that’s what I think it is.

Even with the new job, me being in a good space in my career, there is no end to my anxiety and stress. Everything that I am causing myself. The worry that takes away my ability to spend quality time with the kids. That meeting, that problem, that live site. It’s all there is in my head.

See what I mean. Is it better that I get my kids full attention and fun childhood or be stressed and give them money. How do I do both?

Mediation helps, if I can focus and let myself relax. Few moments of time with kids also helps, if I can train my brain to stop thinking about expectations and worries.

I realized recently quitting isn’t an option. Finally did. My best friends and family ask me to take it easy at work. I can’t. I have to be more than good or it won’t matter. I also realized that I need to tell myself a different story about how I approach work every day. If I think it’s a battle everyday, I can’t survive anymore. I like designing software but is it my true lifelong passion? No, it’s not. So how do I stop getting into that , ‘oh god, it’s another work day’ mode? How do I go into work thinking I am going to do something I enjoy and not be anxious about everyday? How many more Ted talks do I watch before something actually changes and I behave different ly. How do I tell myself a different story in my mind about work? How?

Names

It’s been 8 years and what I feared would happen did not.  I thought somewhere along we will stop using Abhi and Achu’s pet names and start using their real names. To be honest, I still fear that. I don’t know why. Maybe I think kids will grow up so fast and they won’t be Abhi and Achu anymore. Maybe I see it as a sign that my babies won’t be babies anymore.

Right now, some of their friends, who have been their friends for 3+ years now all call them Abhi and Achu. Sometimes real names but they haven’t transitioned yet fully. I hope it stays that way. All our family members still use pet names too. Of course no one in school knows their pet names. And that’s fine.

Along the way, we didn’t lose the pet names, but we picked up a lot of new names for them. Murali always had different names from them, mostly funny ones like Lalli, Sweety, Bhabinder. Abhi and Achu respond to all these names like it’s normal.

Sometime ago we were visiting Murali’s family and one of their cousins started calling Abhi, Fluffy. She really wanted a little brother I think, even though she is exactly the same age, she lovingly started calling him Fluffy.

That name stuck for the trip, but I don’t know what Achu was thinking about someone giving her brother a new nickname, she decided to give him another one. Abhi became Babi.

From then on, the whole thing took many variations. She called him Bub for couple of days, so we started using that too. Recently it was Cub. Bubs. My favorite Blabmazig.

Of course this spread to Achu’s names also. We call her Bachu. Ach, Bach. All acceptable. My favorite name Abhi gave Achu is Acheska.

And the naming didn’t stop there either. Now Achu has pet names for us too. Murali is Neene. She always starts with Hey Neene. Right now, nanna is Bean. I didn’t get that cool of a name. Somehow Amma got shortlisted to Bum. On my request to be not called Bum, she is considering Bomma ( like the doll).

I used to call Abhi, Abhi Kanna and I used to get a very loving Amma Kanna in return. So much better than being called a Bum 😂. I am looking forward to seeing what else the names evolve into.

Pranks

One day I decided to TP Abhi and Achu’s bedroom in the middle of the night. They went to bed and woke up with their room looking like this.

It’s one of the many pranks I have been playing. So they knew it was a prank.

They must have a good laugh. I was still asleep and hoping they would come to my room in the morning and ask me what happened. But these kiddos decided to take it to the next level.

I was woken up to this instead. They moved all the TP into my room and office room and pretended like I got TP’d. Hmm. 😊

And this morning i woke up and felt a toilet roll at my feet on the bed and realized I bought this on myself. 😊😊 This one is going to continue, we are going to waste a lot of toilet paper and cleanup.

Outdoors

I have honestly forgotten what it is like to go out. As a family we spent every weekend planning and doing “something” out of the house before. Now a small trip to a local place and seeing the views we have seen a thousand times, seems pretty fantastic. There are other reasons for staying home, other than the pandemic. But I hope we will get back to that little more outdoors time balance soon.

Future plans

We watched a documentary tonight. It’s LEGO Brick documentary on HBO. It’s pretty good and I would recommend watching it with kiddos. We definitely got inspired and set out to build new LEGO models after the show. Abhi wants to be a LEGO engineer when he grows up. He has said that couple of times now.

It’s disappointing to see not many girls who do legos. Achu doesn’t show as much interest as Abhi, but is now getting into it. Both their birthday gifts each year include a LEGO set. They both usually build the sets away in an hour or so and use the pieces to build other things. I don’t want to post a pic of this room but here it is. We literally use pillows to cross the room. 😃

One of achu’s LEGO sets is a place she built for herself and her two friends. Speaking of friends Achu still has the same two friends who are girls and abhi has the same friend who is a boy. The group is still on. Especially abhi’s friend. That friendship is now in its 5th year. That’s an accomplishment for 8 year olds. 😃

Here is the conversation tonight while building legos.

Me: I could only build this ferriswheel with the pieces I found.

Abhi: don’t be disappointed amma. I am also pushing myself to set higher expectations for myself.

Achu: wow, that’s deep Abhi.

We all laugh.

Abhi: when I grow up I am going to show that documentary to my kids.

Achu: I thought you don’t want to have kids. You have to get married to have kids you know.

Abhi: maybe I will adopt a child.

I laugh out loud and tell them they are too small to be thinking about adoption.

Achu: but amma, we are making our future plans. And that’s good.

Abhi: Yeah.

Achu: like when I grow up, I don’t want to have kids. I am going to live in my LEGO real house with my two friends and eat cupcakes every Friday.

So these are current hopes for the future. Abhi will be a LEGO engineer. Achu a pop star. Both will continue to live with their friends in their own places. And no kids. I don’t know where the no kids plans comes from, but that’s been consistent for a while too.

So those are the future plans for now. 😊

That one picture post

… to say this blog is still alive. Even if I post once a year, I still think about writing. But yes I am 200% occupied with life happening. 💃🏽💃🏽💃🏽

This month kiddos turned eight.

We dared to go on a trip despite the scary situation.

We went to Olympic National Park.

This is us hiking and saying yay that we are at 5400 ft elevation (only because I bribed them with ice cream 🙃)

And now I am praying we don’t get sick. 🙏🏽😂

2020

Few years ago, I was at a place where I felt stuck, wanted to get out so very badly, but I couldn’t. I counted days before I left the place, told myself it was only a phase. But it was so tough to hang in there. It took forever but time did pass and I could get out of that place.

I came home. I got busy with life. With kids and work. Life moved on. Then after a long time, I took a month long break to go to India. Visit my mom and dad, my home town, stay in my childhood place, meet my sister and her family. Kids had a gala time. I cherished every moment of it, now knowing how precious all of it was.

Good times always come to an end. So here I am back to my home after the trip, and into feeling stuck in a place where I don’t want to be, again. I thought those few months back then were hard to pass. But coming back home today, walking right out of the airport, on the bridge right there, I was telling myself, welcome back to lonely life; Welcome back stress, busy life, sleepless nights, worrying out life, unbearable leg pain etc. Mainly a life where I am by myself.

I didn’t realize all these years but I am stuck in that phase again where I can’t leave. Only this time I can’t leave it like I did last time. That is not an available option. I recently read this book – Alias Grace. It has a line in it about what it means to be stuck somewhere. It’s like hanging from a bridge. You haven’t fallen yet so that’s good but it takes every ounce of energy to stay hanging from that bridge. And you have to do it every single minute.

I have made many right and wrong choices in my life but the worst one is leaving my family. I did that in hopes of finding the same kind of affection and love that I had with them, but no other achievement in life has filled the gap of not having it. I got carried away with ambitions and goals and dreams of having a better life that I didn’t realize I had a better life already. Even if it was possible it didn’t get better.

Why I am writing this today when the pain is so heavy? Surely I could give it few days, choose to get busy with work, and distract myself. Because no matter what goes on in life, how many years have passed, this is what it comes down to. I am not able to get over my need for affection. My need for love. To be specific, it comes down to people vs place. You can be in the worst place and have best people with you, you will be okay. It doesn’t work vice-versa.

There were many instances in my month long vacation where I considered, even imagined living in Hyderabad with my parents. Surely I won’t be as pampered as I was. Life will be different and difficult there too, but I will have part of what I need; what I can’t get over.

New year began with me leaving my loved ones behind, reminding me again what I need from life, what i can’t get over. That’s why I need to write this down today. Before I get busy and distract myself, this is what I really wanted my life as 2020 began.

Time

I took a good look at myself today. In the mirror. Not too long but longer than I usually look. Not too long because I couldn’t look any longer. But I was looking – at myself, wondering how and when I started looking like this.

We had an almost-one-year old little guest for dinner today. Looking at her, how she walked non-stop, I dug up old pictures and videos of Abhi and Achu. Kids and I watched little toddler Abhi and Achu in diapers, walking for the first time, crawling over each other, in their cribs, reading, walking for the first time, etc. etc…. And it occurred to me.

How is it that I dont remember much of those times? Where these 7 year old’s ever that small? I couldn’t believe what I was looking at. How come my head is full of so much crap now and I cannot recall that in this very house, in this room, once these two kids slept in their cribs. That they learnt to talk here. I recalled, how they moved from their cribs in our room, to their own twin beds in their room, to bunk beds now. Before I know it, will they be in their own rooms, with separate beds?

Why is everything slipping away so fast? Back to the long look at myself in the mirror tonight, I also found very few pictures of me in those archives. I didn’t look anything like what I look now. Its not the grey hair, its not the dresses I wore then. I know I was going through rough times then too, I know how I felt, but I didn’t look like this. I am not sure its the age.

I think forgetting all of that life, looking like this, they are both connected. I look stressed. Years of stress, surviving, worrying about future, my relationship, feeling that kids are growing up. All the busy-ness. Its surprising that I think often about seasons passing and me still not spending enough time with kids, I still couldn’t recollect those days until I looked at the pictures.

I read the blogs..or globs as they call it… kiddos wrote months ago, and I couldn’t remember writing that. My head is so full of what is going on now.. Work and my relationships.. my biggest worries, that I cant recall living those moments few months ago? Am I that busy? Is life really moving that fast? What else am I missing?

I wish I could post a picture here for you to see. I cant believe I looked like that.. EVER. Its hard to get over how life is overtaken by the two big worries in my life. I am going to be forty in three years. When I am going to live my life? When I am going to be loved? When am I going to pause and remember what is going on now?