Reflection

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As the year dawns to a close and the media drowns you in the innumerable “Best of 2015” listicles; here is my wish for you. A wish that you find time and the guts to stop, look back and then look ahead:

Stop

You have been running like crazy and working your ass off the entire year making people happy and satisfying their needs. You deserve this. Take sometime off just for yourself, no one else, just yourself. An hour probably. Not much. Just some minutes.

Look back

I mean it, really look back. Look at how your year went. For each month, what were the highlights? Between you, the people around you and the experiences you had, what all stands out. Was it someone you met, a job you took, a project you released or a heart to heart with your child. Did you learn something new, made a new friend, helped someone out or had a bad fight?

For each one of these events, take a few moments and look at all the people involved, those that were somehow part of the this experience that’s etched in your memory. Were they nice to you? Were they the reason for that experience? Did they make it beautiful or worse?

Take another few moments and for each of these, try to recall all those seredipitous events, that lead to these events. Was it that somehow you and your client were together in the lift at the very same time and you took that chance on a making the first impression. Or that somehow you and your partner both found time to make that weekend trip at the last minute. And even those silly arguments that accumulated and led to the bitter breakup. There always are a lot of pieces that fall into place to make those paths collide and to resonate those feelings. Figure those out and admire the workings here. Frankly, there are no miracles and angels don’t exist. But if we really look, I think they are all around us.

Look ahead

Now that we have all this nostalgia bubbling over, can we sift and keep all the beautiful ones on one side and rest on the other.

Let’s start with YOU: what are you proud of achieving, creating, learning, providing and being this year. From helping an old lady understand subway maps to deploying your new website, everything counts. Appreciate yourself and feel good about all that you changed for the better this year. You did it! Wow! And while we are at it, lets also list down the things that we want to change soon about yourself say quit smoking, being more patient and relaxing a little more?

Now we come to the People around us: From the boss to the housekeeper, the irritating neighbours to the morose friend with whom you end up drinking all your weekends off, each one of those are a part of your world. Let’s start with the ones that matter the most, family and friends. How have they changed, grown over the year. Have you spent as much time and effort with them as their importance in your life. Did you hear all they said or didn’t. Can you recount all the small and big ways they made your life interesting this year. Is there someone who has gone far or a dear friend you haven’t talked for long? Do we need to make amends? Or is there someone who is just using you for some ulterior benefit? Do you feel better off being away from that incorrigibly bitter friend or that spit-fire ex-girlfriend. Is there something we can do to get rid of or bring peace to the energy and mood suckers. At the very least, lets spend more time and energy with those who bring love, honesty and trust. And keep the others where they belong.

Lastly, the Experiences we gained: Can we list out all the things we loved doing, the ones that made us alive and connected? Was it managing the team through that crisis, learning how to paint that mural or teaching a bunch of school kids the fundamentals of app design. Or may be it was the serene break you took when everything was falling apart to clear your mind, came back and won the world. What is it that shook your core and what is it that brought you peace. Let’s list out all those that we want to do over and over again and also those that were mistakes, never to be repeated.

Why are we doing this? Because if we can’t appreciate what we have and accept what we need to change, what’s the point of it all? A happy new year starts with a clean and sorted slate.

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Single and in love

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<edit: this post was originally written and published sometime in Apr 2015. Republishing it now.>

So it all started when this brilliant girl I met, asks me the question “Why are you single?”. Wow!! What a question and coming from a girl whom I met just a couple of days ago, this was a deal-maker. I love people who are frank and upfront, no complications at all, lovely, I have a new friend.

Well anyways,  I gave her an answer, one of the many correct answers, but the gears started rolling at the back of my brain. I have been single for almost seven years now.. before that I was in a extremely complicated relationship for a couple of years (actually I am not even sure if I can call it a relationship)… and before that I was a nerdy kid.  And I have a long list of dear friends, who feel that I am a lonely sad soul in desperate need of help, because I am single. People who really love me and care for me, are the ones who are really sad about me, when I am the anything but sad. They just can’t comprehend that I absolutely and totally live in the present and I love life.. every single minute or it, and I really am happy doing it. It teaches, it loves, it shows itself and then hides, it’s beautiful. Not sure, how many of them can really say that for theirs, though I hope they all do. It took my parents a long time to understand this but then I am blessed with the sweetest and the most understanding parents one could ever get. They just want me to be happy with whoever, whatever and however I find happiness.

Don’t get me wrong, I am no ascetic who is beyond the trivial worldly emotions, and I am not heart-broken either. I keep falling in love every now and then, and with every interesting character I have come across. It’s just that with my luck, it’s either not reciprocated or the guys were bound with some or the other ties, they couldn’t break. Being fair, I have also hurt some really good folks on the way, people whom I just couldn’t make myself fall for. If reading this made you sad, please don’t read further, coz I am nothing but sad, unhappy or anything like that, and you won’t get it. Whether or not, the love is reciprocated, it really doesn’t matter much to me, doesn’t affect my happiness quotient either. I just love being in love and I do everything to be in love as much as i can 😉

Happiness and love, they go hand in hand for a long way. But love is more than just happiness. Love is equal parts ecstasy and agony. It swings among the extremes or emotions and makes everything worthwhile. It blisses us out like a drunkard yet enhances our perception to every single detail/movement/presence of our beloved. It’s like a psychic parasite and when it hits, every single experience of life is enhanced to an extreme scale and it is this which makes us come back to it over and over again… like an addiction. It’s wonderful and it’s beautiful, so much so that the however agonising, the intended or unintended actions of the beloved are, it doesn’t matter. It’s still sweet. You may say, I am only talking about infatuation, but I would say look at any married couple in love, you would find equal parts ecstasy (times when they are together) and agony (when way too much time is spent on work and other things and not really together).

So let me ask you a question here: How much difference does it make, whether the love is reciprocated or unrequited? It barely does, yes barely, 5% at the max. Love will still remain equally ecstatic and agonising. If unrequited, you are blissed out with the object of your affection and agonised by the fact that the person may/does not feel the same way for you. Even with couples madly in love, neither of them can ever live up to the expectations, imaginations and wants of the other.. the agony still exists in big and small ways. So does it really matter? I leave a margin of 5% coz may be the bliss is compounded a little… or may be it’s just different.. I don’t know. But I know that it’s really not worth stopping myself from going madly infected with a delirious state of bliss.

Does my happiness or well-being rely only on my relationship status. No!! not at all. Would I like to be in a relationship? Hell yeah.. who wouldn’t? I am the biggest, hopeless and most foolish romantic you would ever meet… someone who loses any sense of self when in love. But I don’t really need to claim ownership of time or importance from the other person and it doesn’t affect my feelings of bliss or agony either (they will be there for one or the other reasons). So if it’s mutual, Great!! nothing like it; if not, I still had the best possible time. Win-win, I say. And at the very least, I am not hurting someone else. “If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are — if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.” I am so much in love with life, with every drop, every sparkle and every chirp of it… good or bad, wonderful or trying… and anything that could expand my perception of it, I am giving it my best.