As I sit here, trying to summarize the whole year in a write-up, I am going through a vivid nostalgia, a myriad of bitter-sweet emotions. If you told me last year that I would be where I am today with all the good, bad and ugly experiences I have survived through, I honestly would not have believed you. But here I am, taking stock of it all, alone in my apartment on New Year’s Eve.
2019 has to be one of the most significant years in my life. Its a year full of “firsts” for me. I learned to live outside the protective shelter of my family and discovered what adulting truly means. I secured my first job in Toronto in the sector I want to be in. I became the only earning member in the family and learned to budget and pay the bills. I managed and maintained a household. I meal-prepped like a boss and became best friends with days old, home-cooked, refrigerated food. I lived alone for the first time in my life in what is still a foreign land to me, and learned to enjoy my own company (still a work in progress). I marked my first anniversary of immigrant life. I survived the painstakingly long Canadian winter, was awed by the crisp blue-green summer and fell in love with the colors (but not flavors!) of fall.
All these experiences have been very rewarding to say the least but it was far from easy. I have been tested in ways I have never been tested in my life. My marriage struggled under the weight of a immigrant life. Adjusting to our new roles -Hubster as a full time student and me as the only earning member of the family- was quite the challenge. He is a man of few words but his face spoke thousands on days when he saw me struggle. We were made acutely aware of our opposite personalities when it came to living by ourselves. Our polarizing opinions on housekeeping were reasons for much grief and anger. To put it in a nutshell, there was a lot of tears and indignation, mixed with arguments and monologues (monologues is my middle name 😛 !), sprinkled with active listening and served with a generous dollop of patience and adjustment. Our relationship dynamics has evolved and that has changed the kind of person we are and how we treat each other as spouses now. We are respectful of our personal routines and how we function as individuals. Our roles as husband and wife is not defined by the traditional South-Asian ways anymore-we share responsibilities of everything together. I can honestly say that instead of being dependents, we are now in the process of becoming true equal partners, Alhamdulliah.
As obnoxious as it sounds, let me put it out there- back in Dhaka, I worked because I wanted to, not because my livelihood depended on it. I Alhamdulliah had the option to pick and choose, join or leave a job if I did not like it, because I could always fall back on my family to provide for me. That is not to say I did not have a career. I have been working ever since my graduation with a break in-between for my postgraduate degree. However, in my experience, when you are working for the payslip, your outlook towards job changes drastically. It was also a difficult adjustment to work full-time job while maintaining a household. It was a true test of my strength, endurance and patience. Most times, I felt I was barely managing it, but Hubster helped me navigate through it. For all the disappointments I listed, he would list back my achievements and soon enough I was cycling without my training wheels. In a different and diverse workplace, I learned the old things in a new way. I worked very hard to earn the trust and respect of my coworkers and my supervisor and now I feel I am an integral part of the team, Alhamdulliah. My father is a workaholic and I get that a little too “dedicated to my work” trait from him; but now I am also learning to be invested on my personal growth and development at the work place.
On a Personal Level
I am not the same person I use to be last year or even who I have been most of my life. A move across the world, a life away from family, a job in a multicultural setting and a complete lifestyle change, leaves an indelible impression on one’s personality. I have questioned my ability many times this year. I had more anxiety attacks than years combined. All my life in Bangladesh, after multiple doctor visits, various tests and the general prescription of “you should stress less”, I was never told that I was having panic attacks to begin with! Thanks to my girlfriends here, who not only taught me to recognize my triggers and signs of an anxiety attack, but are also helping me to develop ways to deal with them as they come. There are times I have felt inadequate, weak and vulnerable but now I feel like I am stronger than I have ever been. I have endured. I am more patient, open-minded and I like to think, a tad bit relaxed. Above all, I am more accepting and forgiving of myself and my flaws. I am also very conscious about my time and effort and what or whom I spend them on/with. My parents have instilled a strong sense of duties and responsibilities in me and I am very grateful for that. I have just learned not to feel obligated at my own expense now.
2020 will be filled with uncertainties for sure and as the planner I am, I know there is no amount of planning that can help me prepare for that. But I am better equipped to handle life as it comes now; in my true style, I am falling back to enjoy the journey, instead of waiting to live my life until I reach the destination.
Thank you for reading ❤