Take a break!

I like to look at the bright side…that positive silver lining, however lean, keeps me afloat in the most sinking of the situations. “It could have been worse” I find me re-iterating to myself on numerous occasions when low gets real low. This has definitely kept me going for years now but there’s something so different about this current scenario, that we all are in together. I remind myself of my blessings every day and feel genuinely grateful for everyone and everything I have that makes dealing with this so much smoother. I try to distract myself from ‘what I can’t have’ – such as, the freedom to go watch the Harry Potter show I booked 6 months ago, or Cirque De Soleil, which I had finally convinced the hubby to book after good 8 years of persuading or take the trip to New Zealand which was booked well in advance, being the one and the only thing our tween had asked for, for her birthday – to ‘what I CAN have’- such as, the chance to look after my family and my health, learning new recipes and eating well, time at hand to practice yoga or to go for long walks, smashing tasks at work and earning appreciation, re-connecting with long-lost friends spread all over the globe…there’s definitely so much more on the ‘can’ side.

Even though with all this conscious effort to keep positive, a couple of days ago I found myself drowning in these rapids of life. I realised I was working more and not only physically but mentally as well. I was burning myself out at an extremely fast rate. Personal life, family Life, professional life, household chores, social life – all were merging, the lines were becoming more and more fluid, I was using all my energy to the last bit every single day and that’s when it occurred to me that at this rate, I may not sustain. I read somewhere ‘ When you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit‘. So, I decided to take a well-earned break. For a week! which is quite a difficult thing to do when you are one of those who like to ‘save’ their annual leave to travel & holiday. I took the plunge anyway!

If you know me, you would know how ‘planning’ thrills me. The best thing to gift to me by the way, if anyone’s taking a note, is a list planner and a pen, because one can never have too much stationery. Lists and spreadsheets are my lifeline. Now because it wasn’t easy for me to decide to take some time off to be at home, and not for travelling, I understood that if I don’t use this time-off wisely, I am going to regret it when travels open but I have less of ‘leave’ left to leave (the house). So, I of course leaped onto my notepad to jot down a few goals of this staycation. I wrote down every single thing that I have wanted to do for the last twenty plus weeks but wasn’t able to do because of time, but mostly energy constraints. Then I drew a subset of those which are ‘doable’ given the lockdown situation. Like I can’t fly to Singapore, but I can, most definitely can, fix the chaos in my wardrobe. I can’t go watch a movie at the cinemas, but I CAN have a slumber-party and a night out with my darling daughter. Once the goals were set, I put a reasonable action plan to achieve them, spread over the entire week. Well, three more days to go for me but I am absolutely delighted to inform you that I have smashed each and every goal on my list. And the most important note that I want to share with you is that ‘I feel great’ and that I don’t feel the need to deliberately place positivity enhancing measures around myself –  I feel totally and genuinely at peace with the situation, well-rested and thoroughly rejuvenated to start smashing those rapids when they start coming my way on Monday. I hereby declare this holiday a total ‘success’! Time-off done right!

I was recently speaking at a webinar to a bunch of Uni students where I felt a strong need for me to talk to them about health & mental wellbeing and how that is, truly, one’s most important asset to protect, even though the topic that I was asked to speak to had absolutely nothing to do with it. But then, I guess everything ultimately is related to our health, mental & physical both. We can’t feel truly happy in the happiest of the situations if our head hurts or if we stay anxious about the celebrations, can we now? You can grab the best career opportunity available, you can work hard to the next promotion, put food at the table for your family, live in a beautiful mansion, bring your groceries home in the most luxurious car there is, but it all comes down to your health and well-being when it comes to enjoying all those wins. And so my friend, you may be doing very well in managing every single aspect of your life and most likely (and I hope truly) things aren’t falling part for you, but if they are and if you are struggling to see yourself at the end of this marathon, I put forth a compelling case and urge you to consider taking some time off – for yourself. You’ll find it totally worthwhile; I assure you! And if you are anything like me – plan for it 🙂

Love

R

‘Project’ified!!

We are in house-hunt game, yes, again! This is the part where you laugh at me for having put myself (with hubby dear and a tween in tow) in this very situation, very enthusiastically…one…. more…time!! Having sold our 11th place and now renting the 12th, we are now looking for a last & final one, the 13th one! 13 by the way, if you are worried, is our lucky number. Funnily and a bit unlike my modern looks with all the tatts etc, deep down I am quite traditional and hell ya, a superstitious person. And that’s why, I believe this one will be it, the 13th one <spoken like “the chosen one”>!
And that is exactly why buying this one is such a big deal, knowing that this one “should” be it, no more uprooting will be tolerated, therefore you got be extra cautious of what you commit to. No change of mind returns, or exchanges allowed. The hubby and tween princess are counting on me to finally settle. My best friend even has me on record saying that this one will be it! Granted I was one bottle down (funny tasting wine by the way, wonder if it was the truth serum) but a commitment is a commitment! No pressure though eh!
Renting is, of course, easy, you don’t really need to commit cause it’s not your house, you’ve only borrowed it for a fixed duration of time, so you don’t get too invested emotionally or financially. Buying, actually, has been quite an easy transaction for me up until now given that I always told myself if I don’t like it after living in it, I’ll just sell and bam, move out, no strings attached whatsoever!
So, how do I do this differently this time around? I ask myself, and thanks to all the wisdom gained from experiencing all kinds of places, I now have a plan. It’s a strategic shift in my mind and that always requires an action plan, doesn’t it? This time around I am going to make an informed – decision and stick to it! How do I do that, I hear you ask. First step – treat this as a project! I now have a detailed requirements spreadsheet, and not just any set of requirements, carefully thought through, completely custom and prioritised requirements with weighted scoring mechanism embedded to help identify which available property fits the criteria better. No no don’t be amazed yet, I even did an options analysis in my ‘business case’ which had a “do nothing and continue to rent forever” option. I am now testing (inspecting) each solution (available property) against my requirements and recording my observations, so I don’t regret the Go/No-Go (Buy/No-buy) decision once it’s made. I know once a decision is made, I will have no trouble in implementing the necessary deployment activities (thanks to 12 times the experience).
The only catch, my wise friends, is that my ‘requirements’ are from now, and as you know life happens and our requirements change. What will I do when my requirements adjust to accommodate for life & its ways? Hey I know, a “Change Request”!!

 

Break-free & Be!

The chains are heavy, the cage suffocating

I would know, I built them myself.

In my desire to please others,

to be perceived as worthy & caring,

I never realised, all this while,

little at a time, my wings were breaking.

My heart hurt, legs were shaking

Every second,

I found my energy draining, away.

Why? I ask

Why did I choose this for myself?

Why am I not who I am?

As they emerge, not one but many reasons

that have led me here, over not one, but many years

I tell myself, clear and aloud

I can do this, I can break-free 

and Break, I will

every stereotype, every label

and be, only me, the true me!

Not, who I am supposed to be!

Non-apologetic, guilt free

Just me, the true me!

Not afraid to be me!

Just me, the true me!

Love

R~

Tomorrow!

Tomorrow will be here sooner than you know

Skies will clear up and spring would show

The storms, inside and out, would settle down and 

Calmer the thoughts would grow…

Nobody ever said it’s easy to let go

The comfort, the ease or the memories of it all

Even the pain it left from head to toe

Oh no, it’s not easy to let go, No!

Tomorrow will be here sooner than you know

Go persevere, higher you’ll rise, nothing could pull you low

You’re powerful than you ever thought you are…

The flight only depends on the determination you show!

Much Love

R~

Don’t be stressed, you are blessed!

I’ve realised that the single-most effective way to keep the happiness quotient up in one’s life is Gratitude. Over the last few months, there were mornings where I found myself sinking, God knows under what; and in Rachel Green’s wise words – I felt like there was rock-bottom, 50 feet of crap and then me! I found myself lost in a jungle of soaring high trees with branches made of my goals and tasks that I had to do or was responsible for and however much I tried, I couldn’t reach those branches, whenever I did I fell right back into a deeper trench. I thought of myself as a sole struggling being.

Until one day, it occurred to me that I am not alone, I am so fortunate to not be alone. I am blessed with the world’s most loving & caring husband and a daughter who would forget her own interests to be kind to others. I have a good job and a chance every day to work with some wonderful colleagues, some of whom are my very good friends. I am regularly able to connect with my besties living all over the world. I have a supporting family back in India. I am totally not alone, I am in fact, the opposite of alone!

These days, it is very easy to get sucked into the cyclone of information – there truly is an information overload dumped on us every single day, but no one is managing expectations. There’s tonnes of pressure on every single one of us to be the most awesome human being there ever was – a good child to your parents, an even better parent to you children, an excellent employee, a motivating boss, a caring friend, an eco-friendly citizen and at the same time a flawless, good looking person – in short, the perfect human being, and obviously the non-existent kind!

Even while we sit in our homes during the current lockdown, there’s pressure on most of us, to keep working while we have a job so that we can put food on the table, and not just any food, healthy home-made food of course, oh and while we are saving time on commute, invest time to learn more skills to improve your ‘market value’ (to be able to keep your job, recession is upon us they say!), help the kids with homework and school because you do not want them to lag behind while other parent’s seem to working so hard with their kids to keep up with the curriculum. And while all of that is non-negotiable, keep exercising because everyone will make fun of you on becoming fat ‘by choice’ even when you had ‘loads of time’ at hand to keep fit. Oh, and this is a virus pandemic, keep your house, your infinite stuff and yourself germ-free 24 hours of the day!

If you were nodding your head on the ridiculousness of it all, trust me my friend you are not alone. These are totally unreasonable expectations, that have been imposed on us by none other than ourselves as a society. We need to stop doing that and get real here. Let’s all acknowledge that we are doing our best not only during these lockdown times but all the darn time. I have not met a single person who deliberately wants to fail at any of the roles they play in life. Take a moment to praise the momentous effort all of us put into being a good human being, and that we ARE a perfect version of who we are, in our own little way! I know not who I am but who I am supposed to be – is the root of all stress. Let it go! Instead, count your blessings!

Yes, counting your blessings every single morning helps you see the bigger picture. Gratitude elevates you, on a cloud made of your will-power with wings powered by your blessings and you soar higher and higher to not only touch the branches of those trees but make your own little tree-house up there, so you are no more lost in the jungle but enjoy a rather gorgeous bird’s eye view of this world every single time you open your eyes.

(Virtual) Hugs

R