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The challenge of finding yourself

The challenge of finding yourself

– Haima Deshpande

Some years ago I found myself in a quandary. I had just been offered the top job
by a leading newspaper, a job journalists would give their eye for. It was also a
time when I was walking down the motherhood route, trying to enjoy the trials
and tribulations that came with it. Then I was working for a national magazine
where deadlines were staggered. Overall, it was a comfortable life veering
towards complacency.

When this job offer came out of the blue, I had settled into a routine where
being mother came first. Any other time I would have grabbed it without ever
debating the decision in my head. The life of a newspaper editor is never theirs
alone. Though it navigates through many lanes and by-lanes, the fact remains
that stops being just about you. At the time when the job was offered to me, the
academic needs of my child were of paramount importance. If I took up the job
I would have to give up on the homework time. By the time I reached home, my
child would have been put to bed. The picture did not seem so rosy.

I was caught in the mental tussle of “should I or should I not”. Finally, my
child’s homework needs scored and I declined the job offer. Years later there
are times when I let my thoughts meander to that decision.

For us, the women of this world, every day is a Catch22 situation. Decisions
cannot be made without giving due weight to the consequences. Since
complacency never sat well as a crown on my head, I decided to work around
my situation where the growing needs of my child dominated. Now in
hindsight, I feel that it was a good decision for it helped me find ME.
There is nothing like a fresh start. But the challenge is not about finding
yourself. It is about creating a new you. Never postpone your life, understand
that it has to co-exist with your situation. Self-pity cannot be a friend. It has to
be left behind if you have to embark on a new journey. Reinvention is a magic
like no other.

The first step to reinventing yourself is to remember that growth starts with that
important decision to move beyond your present circumstances. Challenge
yourself every day. Look within yourself and find out the buried dreams.
Whether you are married or single, reinventing yourself can be fun, it can be
magical as the possibilities are endless.

For a majority of women, familial circumstances dictate the course of their
careers. A sizeable majority are forced to or have to give up their jobs. During
the course of my reporting assignments I have met numerous women who regret
the choices they made. They are seething inside and are plagued with health
problems. Self-worth becomes the biggest casualty in the next level of their

Reinventing yourself is not as complicated as the sound of the word, nor is
learning a new trade. It can be a new language, navigating the complexities of
the digital media, painting, sculpture, trading in equities, publishing your own
cookbook, being a part of a NGO, starting a catering service, the possibilities
are endless.

Reinventing yourself fires a new enthusiasm and changes your outlook towards
life. Enthusiasm releases the “happy” hormones in the body which is central to
raising your self-worth. The way you sow the seeds of your creativity will
decide on the results you create. If you limit your choices to only what is within
your reasonable reach, you will be compromising your choices. You will
disconnect yourself from your buried dreams.

The response you get from the world is the image you have presented before it.
As you build your repertoire and the personality moves into positive gear, you
will notice a perceptible shift in the way people see you. Unless you learn to
rewire your thinking it will be difficult to find who you want to be.
In my experience I have learnt that the second innings of your career is more
exciting than the first, because you have made your mistakes, lived your
complacency and reared new wings. Reinvention is like a cocoon and when the
butterfly flies out it is with stronger wings.

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