Today morning as I went in to get myself a cup of milo at the office pantry, I was asked by a couple of colleagues of mine to take a survey from the day’s newspaper. It was to measure how satisfied a person was with his life. There were just 5 questions, to be answered in terms of 7 choices, each of which had points associated with them. The total of all the points you scored would determine how satisfied you were with your life. It was just like the scores of surveys which appear everyday in TOI.
As I looked at the questions and gave my answers I found that I fell into the group of people who were ‘slightly satisfied’ with lives. The survey said that these were the people who’d want more from life than what they currently have and work towards achieving that little extra which would give them satisfaction. Amongst the two colleagues, one was in the same bracket while the other was in the ‘very satisfied’ range.
As an explanation I ventured to say that the difference was because the third person was yet to get married and the real trials would begin after marriage. I did not mean it as a derogatory comment on marriage, like how the guys generally joke about marriage being like the alarm clock that wakes you out of the deep peaceful sleep of bachelor-hood. I don’t know if my colleagues got the point I was trying to make, but it definitely set me thinking.
I believe marriage is like the beginning of a journey where you know the path is long and winding, strewn with several thorns and hurdles, but it is also the way where small surprises like a beautiful view beyond a bend or a pretty flower by the road-side, lights one up with heartfelt happiness. But what makes the journey exciting is the partner who helps you tackle the obstacles and is by your side to share the joys and sorrows.
As I get on with life now and think back to the days of my girlhood, I feel I can realize the difference between the two. The trials and difficulties and dilemmas were there, then too, but in comparison they feel much less of a dilemma and more of a natural decision that I had to take, which would largely affect my life in whatever way. And there were one’s parents always to fall back upon. The pleasures and the responsibility-free world that one lived in more-than-made-up for the few tough times one had.
Now one is more on one’s own and though the spouse is there at all times, there are always certain decisions and dilemmas that need to be handled alone. And while the fun times are still around, the load of the responsibilities increases manifold, which needs one to be far more accountable. As one enters into matrimony and in the process includes scores of new people into one’s life’s folds, the duties and rights – said and unsaid, automatically take a leap. You realize that a simple decision of yours could affect more lives than what you’d expect or anticipate; which is what probably makes the process – of finding the right way and taking the right turn in your quest for the journey’s end, interesting and important.
Post marriage, I’d say, is also the time when one plans more carefully, with more than an eye on the future. Though one could claim otherwise, the pre-wedding planning would be more complacent, with the feeling being that one could always plan when one got ‘settled’ and the present time was to enjoy, while the care-free days still lasted. Probably this could be a generalization and not true always, but I’d still feel that the seriousness and the time that goes into planning post marriage needs to be of a higher level than before.
Probably it all gets driven by the fact that it is no longer just one life that you gotta think about. It is also because you know you have someone whose pains and pleasures matter to you more than yours, and you’d go to any lengths to make that person’s life a little more comfortable. And that is may be why you don’t mind being less satisfied with what you have, and want to work harder to bring that little extra into your lives, which you know would make the moments sweeter and the journey a lot more gratifying 🙂