Many a times when I reflect on my life, I realize that, like many folks out there, as a kid, the decisions I made were usually because I had a friend or a family members party to it. Be it choosing a game to play, eating at a restaurant, singing a particular song on a trip, going for a movie, enrolling for a summer class and even filling out college forms.. It seemed like all these years I made group decisions. I guess we all are brought up like that.. with the same notion that ” If it is popular it is right”.. “If all are doing it then it is the way to go”, “Man is a social animal and needs to be in a society or a group to survive”.
As I grew older I realised that “It’s all in the Mind”. You are as dependant or independent as you think you are. I have had a good share of movies with friends, shopping and dining with my besties, had an awesome gang of friends who I still completely adore. But I also had my ample share of eating alone at restaurants and enjoying food.. I have watched umpteen number of movies on my own.. shopped right from Thane to VT solo throughout the day and trust me, till date they have been my best times, my best moments of self discovery, Introspection, self growth, confidence boost and sheer satisfaction of doing just what I want.. without any influence or any suggestion.. just following my heart.
I have had people staring at me when I was alone in a restaurant or at the movies as if I was crazy to come by myself. Like it was a taboo to go to these places alone. Those days when I was SINGLE (In every sense of the word) have kept me strong and ready to go solo following my heart, not worrying how I will be judged, doing anything I want to do, even today. Now I am married, have kids of my own.. so of course I prioritize them but I know that being able to function “Single” is helping me bring up my kids as stronger individuals.
Many of us lead a compromised life where we are constantly sacrificing our desires to make others happy or just to keep peace but if it comes at the cost of sacrificing your true spirit then is it worth it? Not for me!
As far as possible I encourage my children to follow their heart. When we go out I make sure they pick up their own clothes.. even my 3-year-old chooses what to wear and no matter how weird I find the combination l tell them that if they like it they can go ahead.. and in that moment I am a proud mom. I encourage them to go solo if they want to do something that no one else wants to do and also refuse to do something that all are doing but they don’t have the heart to do.
There are times when my 8-year-old wants to wear flip-flops under a beautiful dress and honestly I let her, once she went for a doctors visit all dressed liked a doctor herself with white coat and stethoscope and her doctor bag.. I had 100s of people staring along the way but I was so happy that she decided to go solo.. without being conscious.. just doing what her heart desired. My younger one goes single all the time.. her solo singing in public is my favourite. There are times when we sit on the side walks when we are tired of walking and just look at the passersby. I enjoy playing the “Ginger game” while walking with my daughters, hand in hand on the streets. People stare but we don’t care. I guess my girls have found their strength in going solo. I try taking these small initiatives to keep my children’s social baggage as light as possible. As they grow up of course they will have to learn to follow some social norms but more importantly I want them to learn to follow their heart.
As parents we need to encourage our little ones to make decisions on their own.. we need to empower them and make them confident to go solo if needed and not hesitate to stand against the crowd when their hearts feel differently. If they think red pairs with yellow then so be it.. If they want to go out with 3 pony tails let them. Let their choices come from their heart.. make them strong enough to bypass social norms and choose being their own true self than making compromises to fit it. Let them know its OK to be different and being different does not make them wrong.
I got my first braces at 35 and boy! what a wonderful decision that was. It gave me such a great opportunity to show my girls that live is not all about looking pretty.. it is about having fun! Any one who has had braces would know the hesitations which came with it but glad that I had already surpassed all that stage of embarrassment and hesitations.. you know..being 35 and mother of two (lol)… So I am having a great time with my braces.. Choosing the colors for my braces power strings.. have tried most of them (thanks to my elder one)… she made sure my journey with braces was super colorful.
Sometimes in life you need to catch up on things that you left out as a kid.. we don’t have to miss out on those just because we grow older. If possible we should bridge that gap of the age and doing what your hearts desire.
We all eventually become social animals but somewhere it is extremely important that a part of us always stays Single to do justice to our dreams and hopes and to keep us true to who we really are. As long as our heart is in the right place the lesser the social baggage the happier our lives will be.