When I was asked to write about my life in America, I got excited. I thought I had so much to say and talk about, surely, this was a piece of cake. Well, it wasn’t. Yet, here I am trying to share my story.
I want to start with a little background about me. I was born in Kolkata, India in a very conservative family. When I say conservative I mean old fashioned and idealistic kind of family. Even as a young girl education was given high importance. Yet, I had limitations I could not go any where. Whatever I did and learned had to be from home or school.
I think of it now as a gilded cage. I was given wings but could not fly. I could not experience life as I wanted to. I am not complaining. I never asked for the freedom, I was unaware of my feelings. My solution was to live in a world of my own, where everything was always hunky dory. I grew up in that bubble, where nothing supposedly touched me or mattered.
I was fortunate, I went to a school where I made good friends and learned a lot. After 12th grade I decided to move to Gujarat, India hoping to be able to experience a different life. Unfortunately for some stupid reason, a typo on my certificate , which not get fixed on time as I was in another state. I was unable to get admission in college. Unwittingly, I was now a dropout.
Family decided that I should get married. I had no say here except if I liked the prospective groom or not. We met. I was charmed, found nothing wrong with him in the few meetings we had. Soon I got married and then followed him to America. So that is how I came to live in America.
It did not take me long to adapt to the American lifestyle. I started chasing the dollar like everyone else and within six months was in management position at my first job. I worked and kept my home and did my best to be the ideal wife and once again started living in my bubble. 13 years just flew by where I faced all the routine trials and tribulations the average American faces. Life was finally getting to a place where everything would be fine or so I thought. My dear husband had other ideas and there went my bubble. Splat!
Reality can be harsh. I was divorced without a penny to my name. Thank God for my loving and supportive family I survived. I started chasing the dollar again out to prove to myself and the world I was somebody. This time there were no bubbles to hide in; this was the real living/surviving or so I thought.
All I did was work, even 7 days a week at times, not realizing I was throwing away something precious along the way. My health got affected. All that work and I still had to go through bankruptcy. Medical expanses and cost of living were taking its toll -- we all understand this I am sure.
I got better and went back to work managing a fast food restaurant, then becoming an assistant manager in one the worlds largest retail stores. I had achieved some success but paid for it with my health. Today, I am sitting at home trying to get better, after having pushed my body till it hit the brakes and said “No more!”
I now had nothing to do but think -- and think I did. I began to realize what is happening to this world, and its people. We are so busy chasing after success and money that we have forgotten to live. We have forgotten about making friends and cultivating lasting relationships. We are so far gone now, that we are stripping mother nature and earth off their resources, all for our short lived comforts. We have forgotten long term gratification and try to find instant gratification with the help of drugs and other means. We are fulfilling Wants instead of focusing on our Needs.
We are so busy fulfilling our ambitions or chasing the dollar that our kids our growing up in front of TVs or playing video games instead of reading a good book or otherwise engaging in healthy activities that will benefit their body and minds for years to come. The American teen has no self respect today, judging by their manner of dress or perhaps the state of undress in some cases, as well as the relationships they have.
Why? What can we do about this? How do we make a change? I don’t think these issues are limited to us Americans; these issues are Global. There is no respect for the individual.
There is more, look at this world all you see is violence and war and hatred. A lot of us blame American politics for what’s wrong with America and the world. I say it takes two to tango. We as individuals are equally to be blamed.
We have become so self-involved and focused on our wants that we are not doing anything to put a stop to corruption or doing anything to save earth before it is stripped off its riches. Nor are we actively doing something so we have a voice in our politics and stop war, spread peace and love. This is the least we can do, something, for the future generations. It’s called paying it forward.
I know I complained about inflation, cost of living this that and the other. But, what was I doing to help myself and others? I learned I needed to be active in some way or the other and here is my start. Today, I still struggle to find what it is I should do and I know I have a long way to go. But, for what it is worth, I am putting in my two cents worth of effort.
I am not looking back because I know change begins with me. So, before we complain I think its time to educate ourselves and start acting on the changes we want to make happen in America and in this world.
Join me with your two cents worth and let's start making changes little at a time. For all it's worth, I say, Wake up America! Wake up World! Before it is too late. Peace.
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