“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.” I came across this Tony Robbins quote and thought about how much our lives can change in just one year.
In my case, lots of changes in 2014 – professionally, I went from a crappy job to a free-flowing freelance life to a suddenly challenging and supremely fulfilling new career. Personally, I struggled with home help until I married the mess, learnt cooking, gave up all notions of being the perfect homemaker, and went with the flow, taking each day at a time.
But it’s as a parent that I think the idea of change really takes the mickey out of you.
I consider myself one of the most broadminded mothers of teen girls in Delhi — I am really cool with boyfriends, doing pot, drinking, cigarettes, making out, lesbian fantasies, rocky relationships, obsessive dieting and everything else that teen girls indulge in around the world. (And perhaps due to my complete okay-ness with the above, neither girl has really gotten into major trouble for any of it. Well, maybe just once or twice, and then never again.)
But even so, my daughters actually consider me very conservative. The reason: I do not like them to wear revealing clothing, and I’m a monstrous embodiment of The Nag if they stay out late.
Now, my reasons are to do with how unsafe Delhi is for young women. I constantly tell them, “If we were in San Francisco (where my brother lives), I wouldn’t make such a big deal of it.” But they do not believe me. They think it’s a character flaw. So they manufacture little and big defiances — they carry teeny-tiny skirts in their bags and change in the mall. And they stay out late despite all assurances they will be home by 9 pm. It’s an effective way to get what they want and punish me at the same time, and everyone knows that if there’s one thing a teen girl wants, it’s to punish her mother.
So I spend many hours mulling over the idea of change.
How generations change. How lifestyles change. How fashions and preferences change. And how some things stay the same.
I ask myself if I have truly changed as a mother and as a human being in all these years. I ask myself why, if I can accept so much else, I can’t accept these two attributes of teenhood. I recognise that my resistance is born from fear and insecurity and a desire to protect, but I am unable to fix it. The beast is larger than me.
But when we are finished changing, we are finished.
I suppose my ‘end-of-the-year’ roundup is not really about change but about why we mustn’t resist change because if we do, change will find us in an awkward open-mouth pose like that surprise party photo we all hate.
No matter how far we’ve come, there’s always a long way to go, and that’s the beauty of life after all. It’s nothing to fret about. I have to keep adapting and changing myself as a parent, I have to make peace with the storm. The sooner we accept change, the greater we grow.
And that’s the thing, isn’t it?
Change isn’t a threat. It’s a promise.