For many reasons, whether in my control or not at all, I don’t have a job yet. For all intents and purposes, I am a housewife. There, I said it and maybe it’s time I accepted that. However much I detest the term, everything that comes with it and after months of fighting it, I’ve given in. That’s who I am at the moment and no, it wasn’t what I’d dreamed or aspired to be. I realize now how much work this is. I don’t intend to disrespect anyone, but this is not what I wanted for myself.
Being in High school all through to college has taught me to be fiercely independent and moreover to fend for myself. That means that having a purpose is everything and that purpose is work, a job. No, not necessarily a nine to five kind of job, but something that helps me become financially independent. Call it what you want but I still believe this.
The situation is such that it feels a lot like I’ve gone into power saving mode. I don’t spend any money unless I feel I really have to. And right now, I’m waiting for something to come along to make me feel like I have that purpose, to make me feel like I’m genuinely contributing to this household, financially! While I want to feel that sense of purpose, I also think how sick it is that we live in a world that finds productivity only when money is involved.
Cooking and cleaning is not something I want to do, like most people, but it’s something that has to be done. Ever since my parents visited, I get up every morning and do it without feeling completely useless.
This lift in my mood made me feel like I was ready to return to my social self, my old life and have a proper conversation with my friends back in Bangalore. Having had a Skype call with a couple of them a few weeks back, I somehow had an idea of how it would go, and I was disappointed that it turned out to be exactly how I’d imagined. Don’t get me wrong. It was nice to see their faces but it quickly turned awkward and uncomfortable. Allow me to explain how:
The three of us went to college together. Remember what I said about high school and college? Yes, that.
Having to hear things like, “jobless German housewife”, “What do you do other than vacuuming, dude?”, “You didn’t think this through, did you?” is not ideal or appealing to say the least. It’s unhelpful, hurtful and full of condescension and it just pushes me three steps backwards.
Yes, I cook, clean and get the laundry seen to. I buy the groceries and make sure there’s toilet paper. I keep track of how much money we’re spending on food. I take our dog Sophie out for walks. I watch a lot of BBC and CNN. I stream at least one movie after catching up with the TV shows, and Skype with my parents every day. I go to dance classes once a week and In spite of the many rejections, I still apply for at least 5 jobs every week, although I do have an interview coming up and I know how important that one phone call is going to be.
What makes it harder is living in an unfamiliar country where people speak a language I don’t even understand fully. I live away from the comfort of my parents’ home, my mother’s lap, the live-in domestic help, my favorite coffee shop/ restaurant and the 350 Rupee (6 Euro) cinema ticket.
The positives that I can take away from all of this is that I live with the love of my life, and we have a gorgeous little four-legged cutie who depends on us and at 24, I am living away from home and making my own with the husband. This feels like serious adulting. I have a second mother who (even if we can’t have long conversations, I can tell) loves me to bits! And we have a handful of friends who are kind and treat us like family.
Most importantly, it is spring and even though April has a mind of its own, the sunlit parts of the days are so soothing!
These are the hardest lessons I’ve ever had to learn and I’m still learning. This was never the plan. But from my experience, very little ever does go according to plan. This is my Murphy’s Law interference. I haven’t figured out how to fix it yet, but the fact that I’m not sitting inside our house and complaining about it all the time is progress. All I know is this- it is easy to sit on a high horse and judge others, but still easier to be kind and empathetic.
The world can be cruel, but having strong pillars is the difference between hope and hopelessness. It’s not worth pondering over the negative and that’s exactly what I’m not going to do after hitting ‘Publish’.