To say that January has WHIZZED BY in a blink of an eye, is accurate. This month has also been rough. I mean, my wallet is empty, my heart is hurting and emotions are running high. To also say that it took me nearly 30 days to write a blog post though, is no surprise.
I’ve been wanting to write nearly every Tuesday (Tuesday is my designated ‘blog post’ day) but clearly, that has not been happening. True, life has gotten busier, more exhausting and more expensive – doing #adulting tasks and not even wasting it away, sigh – and napping now seems like a better alternative to sitting down to writing a blog post.
Without further ado, here are a list of things I’m grateful for this January:
Writing – man there has been a lot of it. Not here, obviously, duh. But paid writing gigs, woot. Bigger writing projects than anything I have been commissioned before. If by chance it does get published, I’ll leave a link somewhere.
Health – I’ve had some health concerns this month. Nothing too alarming, just expensive. Here’s to staying alive.
Money – an odd thing to be grateful for but money has been very useful in paying for #2.
Reflections – I’ve been doing a lot of this during January. I have begun something what I call a ‘Daily Happens Log’. It’s a bit silly-sounding but it is what it is. It’s a small journaling activity and yes, I have a reminder set for that too everyday.
Loved ones – Didn’t I say that January emotions were running high? It has been and some of those closest to me, even the ones whom I haven’t been speaking to much, have been of help, silently, helping me reflect better and even heal.
January has been a month of healing.
Tell me your list of ‘gratefuls’ for this month we are so glad to close off.
I’ve been writing this post since the start of December. Since December 02nd I’ve been drafting the first bits in my mind and on the 04th I took it to paper/screen. Every blog post that I take 800 days to churn now becomes a work in progress. It no longer is an affair of sitting down and writing a post at a time. It takes a few days to construct. I don’t know if this means that the writing has become more difficult. Or if the writing is getting better and therefore needs time to build, curate and nurture. Or perhaps I’m running out of time to write all the things I have in my head.
December has always been a bit of a difficult month for me. Besides the month being the birthday of Daddy Cool aka Jesus Christ (no offence, my Christian friends), it’s also the family birthday month. But it is also the end of the year. See thankfully I’m not one of those “it’s a new year, new me” types (for those wondering, I believe that change can happen every day). It might have been more dramatic than this. As in the words of Rami Malek in Bohemian Rhapsody, “there is room for only one hysterical queen” and clearly that queen is not me!
But December is difficult. It is the end of the year and since some of are rounding off accounts and some countries present budgets for the incoming financial year (some, except ours) you cannot help but do one of those quick evaluations of yourself. The last quarter of the year always makes me wonder what I had achieved during the year, if I had done anything productive if not substantive or if my existence was simply a replica/continuation of what was written in last year’s blog post.
But amidst these questions and in trying to keep with one of the very few traditions I attempt at abiding by, here are 28 takeaways (in no particular order) from 2018 and hopefully ones that help make 2019 better than it should be.
I learnt how to deal with grief. I realised through videos, talking to others who’ve dealt with grief and generic readings on the Internet on the importance of not letting grief manifest within me but to instead embody it and allow it to be with you as you move on in life. Because for me, I’ve learnt (even in my 2017 post) that I not only heal best alone but I cannot truly let go or forget of all things. Instead, it’s best that I don’t fight and attempt (and fail at forgetting it) and take it along with me and maybe even plonk it in my handbag.
I learnt to let go of some things (not grief necessarily), having realised that regretting and pondering on things you couldn’t do at a time or you could’ve done better doesn’t really matter now. It doesn’t also make a difference for the damage or the lack of initiative has already been made. Instead of beating myself up about it, I’ve learnt to accept it for what it is. This has been a work in progress for over ten years and I think I’ve finally managed to master it. hurray me.
Speaking of regret, I enhanced (haha!) my insight on regret and learnt how I best I could work towards keeping it away from me or allowing myself anywhere near it. It’s usually best kept all the way in the back of the bus.
While putting people and memories away, I also renewed relationships this year. Some I have pushed away from my life, to the back of the bus while others have taken the front seat. I’ve become aware of the importance of shifting priorities so that it becomes the best fit for my mental and physical wellbeing.
Continuing my bus story, I have grown to accept that those sulking at me from the back of my bus do not matter to me and neither do their opinions. In fact, I couldn’t care less. I not only realised that I already have too many problems in my life to deal with (as we all do) and too much self-doubt to overcome, that I couldn’t care less about someone else’s negativity or opinion of me. Their baggage of me is not my baggage and therefore, it does not belong in my conveyor belt (I hope all my travel symbols are foresight into amazing adventures in 2019 haha!).
I realised that you can pick up hobbies as an adult. Or at least new interests.
I learnt that fitness and wellness don’t come to you easy. Only fat and calories that won’t leave you will allow themselves to be easily absorbed like the negative people in your life. It’s your decision on how you choose to control them.
Speaking of which, I learnt that being fit and well is a choice. If you really want to be your healthiest self, you can do it so as long as you put your mind to it.
Such as cooking! I enjoyed cooking more than I did last year and have some serious gains with speed.
I learnt that sharing knowledge will only bring you more knowledge. Or let you absorb and learn new things.
I also learnt to set financial goals and become more aware of spending and saving habits. I realised that having such goals will also help with aspirations to look forward to in life, such as travel.
While becoming more aware of money, I also learnt that money is a good motivator to get things done.
Important family became closer to me while I put the remainder of them to the back of the bus.
I realised that I can not only write wedding speeches on behalf of the groom but my writing skills have also expanded to writing eulogies.
In 2018, I learnt that it was important to run behind what you wanted. No good comes to those who wait around for it.
I’ve also learnt in 2018 to enjoy solitude, peace, the quiet and my awesome company.
I also learnt something which I call “positive guilt”. To continuously articulate something so much so that you finally end up doing it. It worked for me with travel and to some extent with my savings.
I also found out that (some) women and small groups of people will always motivate one another and have each other’s best interests.
I also learnt that competition is not bad. Not only are you expected to work better, harder and smarter but there is more often than not enough to go around (and share even with your competition).
I learnt that kindness towards others will never get you in trouble. Even if it does at that moment, your kindness will reflect back when you perhaps least expect it.
I learnt that you can be more useful than you think you might be.
I embraced the joy of trying to sleep before midnight and waking up with the sun rising.
With this new morning routine, I also began to appreciate sunrises better.
Speaking of the sun, I was fortunate enough to see multiple sunsets from different parts of the world.
Speaking of travel, I learnt so much from travelling while on work and for fun (mostly on my own) and I also realised that travelling doesn’t have to always involve a visa stamp.
In 2018, I reaffirmed (to myself) that happiness is a non-permanent state of being. I also if you are unhappy and find yourself in the pits, to always remember that there is nowhere to go but up.
Speaking of happiness, the year also taught me to not miss things. I learnt that if you never had something you not only never knew what it would have felt like but you also wouldn’t miss anyway.
Finally, I learnt that regardless of what happens, the show must and will always continue to go on.
It’s been over a year (and more!) since I visited this side of town and I’m just going to continue from the last week because no one has time to be setting up new processes.
It has been a long time and a lot has happened, duh. But let’s not try to get too ambitious and call this a weekly practice, but a frequent practice of being thankful to what’s around me.
The (newish) construction of our daily use by-road – first things first, I’m in my late 20s and I get super excited about new shortcuts and homeware purchases. Having said that, this particular road, while may not necessarily be a ‘shortcut’ in the traditional sense, does help us avoid a fuck tonne of traffic. It’s always been a really bad road and I silently (always) apologise to my tires and the misery I put it through. But recently they had reconstructed it and also added the much-needed speed breakers to avoid us getting too fast and too furious on it. But yay, for new roads!
My mum and I finally went to the homeware-some-clothes-type discount store in my area. True enough we shopped quite a bit but these included some birthday presents and many 2019 Eid presents too. Woohoo.
I’m thankful for mad productivity levels and the shitty days too. I’ve realised that my productivity is not consistent. I’m pretty sure that I’m not burning out and I take extra-precaution not to but somehow, Monday and Tuesday work out great and then Wednesday turns out to be an utter-fucking-flop. But still, I manage to bounce back on Thursday so all’s well.
Speaking of bouncing (I love that epic transition though), I began a rebounding class! It looks a little like this. Or at least I look a little like this.
It’s balls of fun. It’s not HIIT and in fact is a low-intensity workout that works well for me. I do these classes with Playmore and I’m quite thrilled with myself for having gone for a few classes, yay.
My sister is back! I know all of you must think that I complain about Akki a lot, lol, I do. But then I realise that I do that a lot about the people closest to me. I analyse and justify my reasons for doing so as being me being able to show that I can live without anyone when in actuality I probably can’t. Haha.
To Bhagya – who reflects along with me, even from a distance.
This was supposed to come in as a birthday post but that didn’t happen. New Year’s resolutions aren’t really my thing but most of 2017 has been spent a lot with a good deal of self reflection that has obviously resulted in the following. Here’s how I intend to make 2018 the Year of “Now”.
1. Be grateful
It’s not as though I was not grateful for 2017, but it’s fair to say that gratitude din’t come easy. I’ll hopefully be giving thanks once a day, I don’t know. I usually have a problem with…
2. Be(ing) ambitious.
It’s funny why this is a problem because I consider myself to be mildly narcissistic anyway, haha. But it doesn’t hurt to think a little more, dream a little bigger and know that if I aim for the stars that I will land somewhere on a coconut tree.
3. Take time off
I’ve been doing a lot of this already in 2017 be it when driving alone, eating alone or not doing anything significant. Hopefully there will be more of this in the year ahead.
4. Spend time with family
I would like to nail it down to age but family has become an integral part of my being. I can’t imagine life without family. While part of me lives in my fragmented memories of India a greater part of me is able to find roots here thanks to the time I’ve spent with my family. Here’s to being rooted for longer.
5. Spend time alone
I heal best when alone. There’s no harm in having a little extra healing as backup either.
6. Travel Sri Lanka more
Despite the shit state the country is in, I have love for this island. Work has been fortunate enough to take me around and here’s to seeing more of it.
7. Travel India more
2017 was glorious. Work once again took me to India a few times and Nepal, once. These travels have helped me find home in places I think I find myself.
8. Be at peace with myself
It’s still a work in progress.
9. Embrace myself
Because self-criticism comes easier. Here’s hoping that 2018 will not be rough.
10. Take each day as it comes
Because life is so fickle and we never know what the future has in store for us.
11. Save more
To help yourself, to help others and to see the world.
12. Take care of more people
Because altruism saves the world that helps save yourself.
13. Take care of myself
I’ve been falling sick more than I would have liked to. The last quarter of 2017 was rough. I’ve made friends with more hospital staff than I would’ve liked to. Here’s to healing and looking after my old soul.
14. Write more To heal and to reflect. I’ve not been doing this as much as I should’ve. Hopefully giving thanks every night should set things right.
15. Connect more with colleagues
I like to compartmentalise my relationships. Never let one see what the side another would. Colleagues would always remain at work and friends at the bar. But 2017 has taught me that blurring the lines between the two can bring about changes, good changes. Here’s to opening up and making friends out of colleagues.
16. Appreciate nature
By being one with nature. Not seeing the world through a screen in 2017 has helped me be more in awe with everything around us, like sunrises.
17. Look forward to things
Yes, the very things I put down in my planner.
18. Compliment more
Especially women. I am unsure how men feel about complimenting each other but women feel great when other women compliment them and what better way than to uplift spirits of your sisters?
19. Say NO
To things I don’t want to do. The world has evolved, I’ve matured and I can say no when I want to.
20. Write more letters
Because letters heal. It heals those who write letters and it heals those who read them.
21. Try harder
Without giving up easily. While I do believe that good things take time, I can also be impatient in seeing results. Here’s to trying harder and not giving up easily.
In myself, in something.
23. Forgive myself
If not it would be difficult to believe in myself.
Because if have not healed, I will not be able to take care of myself.
25. Breathe deeply more often
Use the app or just practice it in traffic while driving. Breathing calms me down and brings clarity when things are blurry.
A little bit everyday. Yes, I fail. Drift off to sleep. Deviate. Think of things I have to do tomorrow but it doesn’t matter.
At the end of the year to see how far I’ve come. There’s no turning back now.
Picture – Sunrise at around 0614h in Puri, Orissa.
It’s March in 2017 and not only have I neglected this space but have also not been blogging. Sigh. There has been too much going on really. But then when I think about it, there hasn’t really been a lot going on. You know like when you are really busy but then it’s difficult to explain as to why you’ve been busy at the same time? Yes, that.
But it’s at times like these that I remember more than ever the things I am thankful for. To me, it’s that sort of motivation to keep going, keep fighting and pulling that Kelly Clarkson whenever possible.
I know it’s Thursday (and not Tuesday) but here is my current list of thankfuls in no particular order:
The amazing people whom I have met and embraced to my life recently. I’m not one to make new friends, let alone fast friends but I have learnt that it isn’t too bad after all.
Doctors, hospitals and similar (medicinal) healers for taking care of and lessening the burdens of a lot of my favourite people.
The nice people at the Sampath Bank Thimbirigassaya branch who made my Monday (and Tuesday). Good service goes a long way.
My family for making me food when I don’t ask them to and folding my clothes when I ask them not to (specifically my Mother, haha).
Sleep and kottu roti – sometimes the best way to get away from problems and life alone is to find yourself a really nice kottu and go sleep on life itself.
Where do I even start. I actually just took a break from writing to scroll through my Instagram that I believe has some of my key highlights and also because scrolling through my planner right now doesn’t sound too appealing. psht.
A lot of bad things has happened this year, the most significant of which is the flood that will probably be engraved in one to a side of my brain for a very long time. Today though, I am going to narrow it down to ten good things that happened this year because it’s important that we focus on the positives. So in no order whatsoever, here are my list of thankfuls for 2016.
The Month of December
December is always stressful., which is also probably why it is first on my list. There is not only the end of the year rush, but also all of our special (and expensive) days. This December was even more stressful because of work, a troublesome shoulder and back and lots of other little struggles that I continued to battle;
because end of the year = birthdays = end of expectations, loss of hope and basically cause for mental tantrums
I don’t get too personal in here because as a writer, this blog not only becomes a representation of some of the shitty work that I may do but also a space where a lot of the people I know refer to, lol. But career wise, there has been changes. Good changes I feel, or at least hope. Like many things in life, I try to continuously find stability within myself and my career as a writer (and whatever else that comes out of it) is an area I like to work on as well.
My sister has been fortunate enough to fly down almost every month since the middle of the year and we hope that she will permanently be here in Colombo very soon. My extended family suffered from the devastating flood but besides the house and some other material possessions, they are safe and good.
My Mum made a stellar presentation at the Human Rights Commission on the work she does and I was lucky enough to go see it. Akki and I are really fortunate to have a mother who believes and is truly passionate about the work she does.
Letter Earthlings Grew Closer to my Heart
My favourite past time is not only writing letters, but to inspire people to write letters. Letter Earthlings has become one of my most looked forward to activities every month and this year in particular has truly help bring the initiative really close to my heart. I sincerely thank my friend Nivendra for letting me be a part of it.
Discovered a New Coffee Place
Or my favourite coffee place! It’s a pity that I don’t grace coffee shops as much any more but if I were to, I know where to go and might have a bit of a tough time knowing what I want.
Travelled a bit more
Across Sri Lanka and to East Asia. Some trips were on work while the rest were adventures with those I adore the most. I am grateful for being able to do what I do and the opportunities I get.
Made New Friends, Grew Distant from Some Old Ones
It makes me a little sad to talk about this but the realisation has simultaneously helped me learn and grow closer to old and new friends who have come into my life in the most unexpected of ways. For those who I may have distanced myself from, I’m sorry but I guess it worked out for the best. You will always be in my heart and I will always remember your birthday.
Those who came into my life and for those who have been here with me, thank you. You mean more to me than I will ever verbally let you know.
Wrapped more gifts!
Gifted grew slowly on the side.
We took on orders we could execute and didn’t for those of which we knew that we either didn’t have enough time or enough resources for. Thank you for all those who ordered with us and believed in us to add some magic to your loved ones special day.
Fell in love, again
With the same man of course, haha. But this year has been one of truly understanding him (and I hope vice versa, lol), knowing that he will be there for a very long time. If he chooses not to, I will buy him back with all the confectionary, speakers and car parts left in the world. Muhaha.
But thank you once again for all those who have been a part of my life and given me everything that you have. It’s been a rushed year, but a good one, I like to think, despite all that has happened. We are older, not necessarily wiser but have grown to become more content with what we have, the people in our lives and most importantly, the little time we have.
It’s been a chaotic week, to say the least and I cannot help but feel sorry for my unlucky self everyday. Of course I am quite aware that there are people out there who are having it worse, so I only needed have that thought down on paper (or screen) to remind myself that things aren’t as shitty as I thought they were.
It’s at times like these that I feel that immense sense of gratitude towards especially the little things and good things that come my way because let’s face it, we all need some good news after continuous waves of shitstorms that have come at you. I’m also quite aware that waves and storms are two inherently different things but I’m not too worried about it. So here are the good things that I am grateful for this week:
My ability to get things done by not raising my voice (and hopefully channeling whatever sense of assertiveness there in me) – basically on how I made Anim8 allow me to have the payment option I wanted because they messed up the quotation.
My online delivery packages that came in yesterday – well ahead of time, yay! Also taught me to maybe plan shopping purchases ahead of time and save the not-very important bits for Black Friday deals.
My PickMe tuk guy today. Such a gem of a man, who agreed to come back and get me after I got done with my stuff.
The roll and hot dog from Cafe Ama – I might be bias because the venture is run by a friend, but the place is clean, a little slow (but that’s only because they are trying to maintain excessive levels of hygiene that is great!) and has great value for money. I paid only LKR 205 for three rolls and a hot dog (two rolls was for my good old tuk guy)
My most recent vendors and service providers – they’ve been kind and nice to me and most importantly, answered my calls.