One of the things that changed the most after I got married, is my perspective on family time.
All those 22 years of living under the same roof with my family, I viewed family time as our time spent together...in proximity. "Being" at home was what my parents always said we never did enough, so I did as they requested. I spent time at home, so that I could gather enough "credit hours" to earn myself time outside with Boon or my friends. So that whenever they complained that I was spending too much time outside, I could tell them, "No...I spent the whole morning at home."
Tho I was "at home", I was in my own world, in my own room, doing my own things. Even when I was in our common living area, I was always facing my phone, laptop, watching TV and not actually spending quality time with my parents or sisters. Other times, I would be busy with attending classes, school work, and out working part-time here and there to earn some pocket money. My parents used to always complain that I treated my house as a hotel, and so because of that, I just stayed at home...to please them.
Until I got married, and things started to change.
Perhaps it's because I have grown and matured over time, or perhaps it's as the saying goes, "Absence makes the heart fonder". When I stayed apart from my family and moved in with Boon after our wedding, the first two weeks was so tough. I started to miss my parents' cooking, their reassuring presence, and even their nags. I suddenly realised that I hadn't spent enough time with my parents before moving out, and now that I'm married, there will be less time that I can spend with them from then on. That made me regret not being a good daughter and prioritise spending quality time with them previously.
Ever since that realisation, I started to really make it a point to plan and schedule time to spend with my parents and sisters. We plan dinners at least once a week with my family and Boon's family, and when we spend time with them over meals, we really focus on spending quality time, look into each other's eyes, engaging in conversations away from distractions like our phones or TV.
Family time had since become one of my most anticipated time of the week, and not seeing them after a week always feels like forever.
Furthermore, I have young sisters who are growing up fast by the day, and every time I see them, they have grown bigger and taller! That made me want to spend time with them even more.
And these days, every chance I get, I'll try to bring my parents out for some parents-daughter dating time. Now that I'm older, the conversations that we have revolve around relationship and marriage, pregnancy and parenthood, finances and life in general. And instead of pure a mentor-mentee, parents-child communication, our relationship has evolved to very much like friend-to-friend, and we can really chat about anything and everything.
Yours truly who used to be this rebellious teenager is now good friends with her parents. Miracle!
But really, time does change someone. And I'm glad it wasn't too late until I realised that I had been neglecting my family, especially my parents when I was younger. Now it’s becoming more and more apparent to me that as we’re growing up, they’re growing old. So every moment is precious.
"When was the last time you created a new memory with your family?"
That's something that I feel we ought to ask ourselves every now and then as a reminder.
AIG recognises this pressing need- the lack of quality family time in our society today, and hopes to encourage the general public to spend more quality time with their family.
As such, AIG is running a 'Pledge for Tomorrow' campaign to encourage us to make a pledge to spend more time with our parents and create lasting memories with them.
Here's how the contest works:
7th October – 30th November 2015
Participants will need to make a pledge at www.pledgefortomorrow.com to spend time with their parents, and fulfil it. Take a picture of yourself fulfilling the pledge - and upon fulfilling the pledge, participants will need to post it on their Instagram account with the hashtag #pledgefortomorrow in order to be eligible.
This is my pledge! Made at:
5x winners will be selected after the contest is closed.
Winners will be able to have a lovely day with 9 other family members at one of the 3x family outings:
(1) High Tea Session at Majestic Hotel (OMG droolsss)
(2) A Family Day-Trip to Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary
(3) A Family Cooking Session with Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef Rohani Jelani
Transportation will be arranged for the winners,
and the entire event will be photographed by a professional photographer.
I personally feel that this is a very meaningful initiative to encourage and remind the general public to spend time with their families. In our busy, hectic world, it's easy to forget those around us and take their presence and love for granted.
Now that you're reminded, and now that there's a chance for you to win a special (and complimentary) outing with your family, make your pledge now!! Your family will be so pleased if you won the contest, and even if you didn't, they'll be happy that you made the pledge.
Go to www.pledgefortomorrow.com now, and start pledging!
All the best!