Are You Ambitious Too?

Ambition. It’s something that isn’t inherently in all of us. Well, at least, not in the same way. Some of us are ambitious about our careers, some of us are ambitious about our hobbies, some of us are ambitious about something else entirely. So how do it work when two people aren’t ambitious about the same thing?

Being a first generation raised in America Indian, most of us are taught to be ambitious about our careers. After all, most of our parents came over here and worked extremely hard so that we would get the opportunities to achieve whatever we wanted. So, of course, we should be taking advantage of that and do the best we can to take their successes a step further. Most of the people I have been raised with all have that same mindset.

Here’s the interesting part for me: not EVERYONE believes that as well. There are a few people I do know who haven’t achieved as much as they are capable of. I don’t know why they haven’t. I don’t know if it’s a lack of ambition or if there are other reasons. I don’t know if it’s something that’s inherited or if it’s just a personality thing.

I’ll be honest. I do judge people based on what is perceived as a lack of ambition. I can’t understand it because most of the people I know do have some sort of drive. And when I say ambition, I don’t just mean education-wise. It could be ambition in that person’s career or the way they raise their kids or their hobbies. I see interests that don’t just involve being social but to better themselves and the people around them in some way. But if I meet someone who doesn’t seem to want to do anything, I have a hard time understanding that person. I don’t think that too many people like this do exist though. Most people do have interests and want to accomplish something in life.

I think what’s important to understand is that two people won’t necessarily have the same ambitions. My husband knows I like to be involved in a lot of things. In the past, I have simultaneously worked, gone to school, and been involved in dance. But now, as a stay at home mom, that isn’t all possible. When we talked yesterday, he apologized to me for not being able to pursue my ambitions. The thing is that I can’t have the same goals when my role in life has changed. But what I can do is change my goals. While he follows his ambition to grow his career and business, I am following mine to raise my daughter and to develop other parts of my life (such as this blog) so that I feel fulfilled. And we both support each other. In the end, both of us should be able to positively influence my daughter’s life because she can see that even though we don’t necessarily share the same ambitions, we both will work hard to achieve something regardless of what it is. As long as we can figure out what we want to accomplish together as a couple and as parents, we can figure out how to get there with the other as support.

The Wedding Day

I keep seeing some patterns on Facebook with the wedding pictures posted that I wanted to address. It might be judgmental of me or maybe I’m wrong in interpreting the meaning or the situation behind the pictures. I don’t necessarily know the couples beyond an acquaintance and maybe there is something there that I’m not seeing. But here are my thoughts and I wanted to share them.

1) On your wedding day, your smile should be real. Note that I said “should be”. The posed smiles are really easy to tell especially if you aren’t an actor. And maybe you have a great posed smile but the smiles I want to see are the ones that reach your eyes. The ones that really look like there’s nowhere else you’d rather be than in that spot with that person you’re marrying. A lot of times, the first pictures that go up on Facebook are not the professional posed pictures but the ones that your friends and family take at the event randomly. My question is: When the pros aren’t looking and it’s not a posed moment, do you still look happy?

2) My next question is: Is the person you’re marrying your best friend? If that person is, then what’s the need to ditch that person on your wedding day to hang out with anyone and everyone else? I understand that there are family and friends that you haven’t probably seen in years and you want to spend time with them but is it necessary to do it in a way that abandons your partner? Isn’t it possible for both of you to hang out with your friends? Besides, if you ditch your significant other, aren’t you ditching your best friend? Would you do that to your other best friends?

3) A wedding day is just that. A wedding day. I keep seeing people who are so concerned about the wedding itself that they forget to have fun themselves. You plan for a year for this one day (or in the case of an Indian wedding, this one week) and then what? It’s over. But guess what? Marriage is for life. So what if your flowers aren’t the exact colors that you chose or everything didn’t run in the order that you wanted? In the end, you married the person you are in love with. As long as that happened, who cares what else happened? It’s just a small piece of a marriage. There will be many more challenges in life than your wedding day. Get ready for those.

4) If you are more concerned about the wedding than what comes after, maybe getting married at this time or to this person isn’t the right path for you. I can’t necessarily see this in photos but again, you can see the connection between people. And you can see when someone is more in tune with the planning than they are with the fact that they are committing themselves to one person for the rest of their lives.

It frustrates me to see this. Again, I know I don’t have the full story always and there are always things behind the pictures that I will never know. But I definitely hope that I see wedding pictures where the bride and groom look so joyously happy that I can feel it when I see those pictures.

Culture and Women

I had to deal with someone a few days ago that ended up sending me a very demeaning email. I’m not sure what this person’s perspective was for writing it other than his ego was hurt. After talking to a few people about it, the general consensus was that he had a hard time with women who were in a position of authority over him. Now, this person wasn’t the same culture as I am but he was from another culture with a similar background. 

I wanted to touch on this for a second because I still see this. I can see where the women are treated as an accessory and not as a partner. 

I went to an engagement party quite a few months ago. It was interesting because all the men that I saw left their wives by themselves and hung out with their friends and you didn’t really see them talk more than the required amount of social interaction. I remember specifically that one of the wives was talking to me and said “I lose my husband to his boys at these events”. And then she watched my husband come over and check on me and be with me whenever he wasn’t required somewhere else. I felt bad for her. It must suck to feel like you’re not important enough for your husband to pay attention to you at all when you’re at a public event. I understand that some couples have their understanding and that’s how they are but I saw the look on this girl’s face (a really nice girl, by the way, since she really did make me feel welcome as an outsider) when my husband didn’t abandon me. 

One time, my sisters and I had an Indian astrologer tell us if we had been men, we would have ruled the world. I don’t know what he was thinking but I wasn’t planning on my gender dictate what I did with my life. 

So what is this about? Why aren’t women considered equals? The guy from my first example called me stupid in the email. On one hand, he said that I was trying to control everything and, on the other hand, I wasn’t smart enough. 

I’m not going to lie. It’s nice to be taken care of. But it’s also nice to know that you don’t have to ask anyone for permission to do something, to spend something. The women I am lucky to be friends with are strong and independent and really know how to handle the world. They haven’t taken their gender into consideration for anything they have wanted to do. 

My personal opinion is that the weakest guys are the ones who need to keep women weaker than them. If a man is strong, he isn’t intimidated by a strong woman. Instead, he finds that this person matches him in everything and really knows how to use this to progress in life. 

To all my strong, independent women out there. Don’t ever let someone else tell you who you are. 

Love Who We Want

Yesterday, I wrote about a teacher who was fired from my Catholic high school for marrying his partner of 10 years. 

Today, I want to hit a little bit closer to home with my culture regarding a similar issue. How free are we, as Indians, to love who we want? Is it possible to be with or even marry the person we want if they don’t fit into what our culture dictates is right for us? How much pressure do we even put on ourselves to fit into what we think is right? 

I’ve learned the hard way that what is right on paper isn’t what is right for me. But I had to go through a pretty big self-inflicted struggle to understand this. 

Even if we never hear anything from our parents or family about who we should end up marrying, there is this idea that we should end up with someone who is the same ethnicity and religion as we are. They should be equally matched in every way: looks, education, financially. And even if the pressure isn’t directly put onto us by someone else, we put that same pressure on ourselves. We want the approval of our community. And to get that approval, we have to fit into the mold that was shaped out for us and has been shaped out for us for decades or maybe even centuries. 

So what happens when we fall in love with someone outside of this mold? What happens when we realize that a relationship goes past the education and the looks and the families getting along? What happens when we realize that there is so many other aspects to consider that have nothing to do with what we have been taught? 

I have seen it go both ways. I have seen couples split up because one or the other isn’t approved by their family. Instead of fighting for their love, they choose their family and sacrifice their relationship. I have seen couples stay together and try to make their families understand their relationship.

So it’s a choice. It’s always a choice. Unfortunately, we can’t control the idea of what the perfect relationship looks like. But we can control how we react to the opinions of our relationship. There are still going to be times when the world won’t agree with a relationship. Is it worth it to fight for it? Or is it something that should be given up because it’s not “right”?

Should we love who we want? Or should we love who the world says we should?