13 August, 2008

Challenge of life

Life always brings forth challenges which we sometimes refer to as problems. Even I have faced my share of them. Problems may arise in all spheres of life. It is not specific to a certain area or subject. The biggest problem I faced in my life was to adapt to a new environment when I relocated to the UK. This might not sound very serious but it was not an easy task for me. ‘Research on the relationship between life stress and illness has focused largely on stress caused by change.’(Burks N., Martin B. P27-35) Life was different back home but here I was in a very new set-up, culture and people. Adapting to this new set-up has been the biggest challenge till now.

The initial days were spent trying to know about the new place. My partner was busy with his job as his work had brought him abroad. His career was the most important aspect for both of us. I was left alone to discover the ways of living in this new country. Food, clothing, weather, people, everything was new and unknown. It was so difficult getting a rented accommodation, a phone connection, a bank account in this new country as we had no credit history. I was left alone to fend for myself and my husband. He was the only one whom I knew here. Getting a job was not a cake walk. Discrimination was subtle but did exist. Neighbours were busy and aloof. I used to feel lonely and depressed. I used to feel stressed out most of the times. Slowly, it started taking its toll on my health. ‘Recently, several investigators have hypothesized that the individual’s social support system may help moderate, or buffer the effects of life events upon his or her psychological state’.(Thoits.A.Peggy, p145-149)

But after a while I decided that I have to find my way out. I couldn’t let my problems over- power my life. Therefore, I chalked out an action plan to face the current life challenges in the most positive manner. My first priority was to get my physical and psychological health in a good shape. For this, I started going out to local parks and leisure centres. I used to befriend all the like-minded people. Those who were aloof and busy were just greeted with a smile. Later they started returning my smile and chit-chatting once in a while. And those who wanted to interact were welcomed whole heartedly. I made a few good friends who visit my home often. One of them is my next door neighbour who is very much interested in Hinduism. I joined my local library where I started reading a lot of books. Books gave a new dimension to my way of thinking and expression. Books were a hobby before but at present they have become my passion. At library, I met a lot of people from my native place. Socialising in the form of going to library was unknown to me but I benefited from library in all possible ways. I joined a local book club where critically examining the books, characters, authors and their style gave a new thrust to my own ideas and skill of writing.

I started spending a lot of time over the internet. Internet is a world of knowledge. And over there, I joined local groups and social activity partners. I met a lot of new people who were keen to meet people from their own community and background. I joined a dance class along with activity partners which helped me to keep fit and distress. I started arranging for trips and planning for holidays along with social groups. I started socialising and meeting new people. This benefited me as a person and my health started improving. I started working over the internet which helped me get my financial freedom.

Meeting new people filled me with new ideas and subjects for my writing. I started writing blogs and shared my short stories with my friends and got feedback from them. This encouraged me to take up writing professionally. But writing is not about just story telling. There are a lot of aspects, styles and requirements to become a good writer. Gradually, I started adapting to the new styles and directions. I believe that learning is a process which goes on till the end of life. So, each day I learn something new and try to improve in that direction.

The basic idea to solve any problem is to keep a positive outlook. A can-do attitude can help in more than one ways. Planning and organising to achieve your goal makes the hurdles of life less painful. Hard work and efforts never go waste. The focus to live and not just survive makes our problems seem very small. Today, I look back and see that my initial struggle, disappointment and loneliness have proved to be an opportunity in the long run. Now, I am a much happier person who knows how to keep herself busy and occupied. I have a lot of friends who are my greatest strength and support. I have started working towards my ambition to become a good writer. I have an aim and a purpose in life. Minor problems don’t deter me anymore. The approach to solve a specific problem may be different by different people but the process which I applied was to go out and explore new opportunities and avenues. I wanted to face life with full determination and zest. I plan to do the same with the rest of my problems as well. Problems are nothing but opportunities in disguise.

Burks N., Martin B. ‘Everyday problems and life change events: ongoing versus acute sources of stress.’ Journal of Human Stress, 1985 spring; 11(1):27-35, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3843104
Thoits.A. Peggy ‘Conceptual, Methodological, and Theoretical Problems in Studying Social Support as a Buffer Against Life Stress’ American Sociological Association, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Vol. 23, No. 2 (Jun., 1982), pp. 145-159
Parimita Chakravorty

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