New year greetings!

2020 turned out to be a milestone year in my blogging repertoire – I published the maximum posts this year! Yay! So happy to share this with all of you and I owe huge thanks to you lovely bunch for following my blog and continuously motivating me to write more and better.

The highlight of the year as far as my blog goes was the launch of the 5word5 series (if you’ve just landed on my blog and don’t know what this is about, head over to this post to know more)! Thanks for accepting it wholeheartedly and contributing your beautiful bytes on the 8 themes we had this year. I look forward to many more in 2021.

That said, I thought it’s only fitting that my new year wishes for you this year should also be 55 word bytes! So here are my new year wishes for you in 6 crisp 5word5 shorts.

Health

If you and your loved ones have been healthy through 2020, consider yourself blessed. I do! 2020 reiterated to me, loud and clear, never to take my health for granted again or that of the people I love. I pray 2021 blesses you and your folks with the best of health – physical, mental and spiritual!

Strength

It hasn’t been easy, this past year. And all of us have had our own set of challenges to deal with. But amidst all of that, we’ve all had silver linings – People, things and events that have kept us strong and perhaps, even made us stronger! Strong enough to ace whatever 2021 has in store!

Hope

Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst, says ancient wisdom. 2020 knocked this lesson into our brains hard and deep – through everything, hope’s one thing that never left our side. I hope 2021 gives wings to all your hopes, aspirations and dreams; and you, the courage to see them through to fruition!

Choices

Every now and then, life throws us a curveball. We can choose to duck and miss for sure or dive and stand a chance! In the darkest times, the smallest actions can make the biggest difference! I hope in 2021, you make the right choices that make your and your folks’ lives happier and richer!

Change

The only things that’s predictable about life is that it’s unpredictable! We saw that in 2020. I pray that you’re able to embrace any change that comes your way in 2021 or in the years ahead with positivity! I hope you see the opportunity in every setback, because let’s face it – life’s full of them!

Joy

Above all, if there’s anything 2020 has taught us repeatedly, it’s to be grateful! I hope you find joy in everything – big or small – in your life! Trust that the future will be better than the past but don’t forget to enjoy the present in the process! Count your blessings, spread smiles and be kind!!

Here’s wishing every one of my lovely readers a sparkling new year full of good health, happiness and fun! Happy 2021!!

Do keep following my blog, contributing to 5word5, commenting on my posts and spreading love 🙂 I look forward to engage better and more in 2021!

Things desired….– (My favourite poems mini series – instalment 6)

The last post in this mini-series is not strictly a poem; it’s a prose-poem. This poem, “Desiderata” (which is a Latin word that loosely translates as ‘something that is desired or wanted’) is touted in various poetry circles as a manual for life.

The poem is steeped in spirituality and stresses the importance of living a life based on high ideals, having faith and trust in a higher power. Though there are some myths around its origins, it is believed to have been written by Max Ehrmann in 1920. But the poem was not really known during his lifetime and only started becoming famous after his death. His widowed wife published a collection of his poems (including this one) after his death under the title “The Desiderata of Happiness: a collection of philosophical poems by Max Ehrmann” in 1948 after which Desiderata‘s use in devotional and spiritual discourses and recordings picked up rapidly because of its universal messaging.

This poem has deep meaning for me. I was acquainted to it pretty late in life and was introduced to it by a senior colleague at work. Ever since, it has been a go-to for me whenever I need some lifting up. This poem also helps me introspect on my actions and my thoughts. Different lines have given me solace at different points of time in life.

Here’s the poem for you to read!

Desiderata_max ehrmann

I really can’t choose a favourite line in this poem because as I mentioned earlier, I have related to different parts of it at different times in life!

Although this poem is written in rather colloquial terms, for today’s post, I want to break it up further to spell out my interpretation of these deeply inspiring lines that have resonated with me in so many ways. At the cost of making this a rather long-ish post, I hope you will find some value in my elaborate thoughts!

I’ve also linked up my earlier posts wherever they relate to the lines of the poem – I was surprised to find that so many posts of mine have been subconsciously influenced by a thought process so similar to the essence of the poem! Probably the reason why this one’s the last in this series – it’s one that I relate to the most in the list and ties up all the earlier poems in this series (and some more!) together in a dramatic way!

So here we go!

GO PLACIDLY amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

Find your peace even amidst all the chaos you may be experiencing in your life. Silence is golden – You don’t have to speak only to break it.

I wrote recently in my post on Daffodils about ‘the bliss of solitude’. I truly find that when nothing else works, silence is the best therapy because in silence, you can hear and connect with your inner voice. Here’s a link to an earlier post on the ‘The bliss of silence’ that I wrote long back!

Silence – in personal and in professional interactions – can really help you perceive things differently and achieve results that many a time, words can’t!

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

This one’s easy – don’t pick petty fights with people. Don’t compromise on your values in doing so, but try to be the bigger person whenever you can. You can be friendly without being friends with someone!

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Don’t be afraid of the consequences as long as you have done nothing wrong. Be honest and true to yourself.

We are all on our own life path and no matter how much we try, we can never really, completely understand another person because we’ll never go through what they are going through or experience it in exactly the same way. Being nice and showing some empathy goes a long way, as I have also written about in the posts linked here. The golden rule of ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you‘ applies here. In fact, go one step further and ‘Do unto others as they would like you to do unto them‘ – read more on this in my earlier post on the Platinum rule of relationships.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

This one’s a bit hard seeing as we don’t always get to choose our company! But as far as possible, keep joyful and civil company – people who bring out the best in you! This circles back to the first stanza of the poem – don’t let the noise outside of you drown out the voice inside your head!

One can’t help compare – whether its lifestyles, wealth, opportunities and/or fortune. Yet, it’s important to train the mind to not compare – To be able to be happy for others without being jealous of them.

Something I HAVE to mention here – Social media and TV today serve as constant reminders to us about the imperfect lives we are leading – imperfect only because they are stacked up against picture perfect instagram posts, travel feeds and a digital idyll that some people seem to be living in. It’s these comparisons that we need to be wary of!

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Enjoy the journey as much as the destination. Take time to make merry and soak in the joys of the present moment because you’ll never get it back! As I mentioned in an earlier post in this series, you may have miles to go before you sleep but you won’t cross this abundant forest again.

It’s interesting that the poet talks about career specifically in the midst of the other generic life advice that the poem offers because it just emphasizes how much our life really depends on it. Choose your career well and resist comparing it with others. As I mentioned in my previous post, life is a decision tree and we are defined by the choices we make. Have faith that you will have your time to shine and when you do, no one will be able to stop you. Remember that while you’re cribbing about a lost promotion, someone else is desperate for a job! So have patience and take pride in your work.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Don’t let the 5% of negative and treacherous people make you lose faith in the 95% of humanity that’s leading their life on the basis of goodness and strong values. Be careful but not paranoid.

Be happy for the little niceties that you see around you – that honest cabbie who returned your mobile because of his own integrity, a delivery-boy who got you your Subway amidst pouring rain because he was committed to his job, a co-worker who stayed back at work to help you finish yours because she genuinely cared – there are scores of people out there who are still being nice for no reason and with no ulterior motive. Don’t be blind to the possibility of being cheated, but don’t let your suspicion come in the way of creating valuable, positive and lasting relationships.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Don’t be apologetic for who you are! Be yourself and take pride in it. My first post in this mini-series was about ‘being YOU’ which you can read here. Another of my posts that you should go check out is this one – Being authentic. In a world that’s constantly trying to pigeonhole you into some some kind of boxed up definition, don’t lose yourself and your free spirit! And remember, part of being yourself is allowing yourself to change! So don’t stick yourself up against some past “ideal” that you set if it’s holding you back from being the best version of yourself today.

Love is all-encompassing. Love truly, widely and freely. And when you are loved, receive that gift with open arms because it’s nature’s way of telling you that you’re special and worthy and deserving of every iota of that love coming your way! But most of all, love yourself – the most – and not in a selfish way but in a caring, forgiving and accepting way!

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Don’t be afraid of growing up. It’s not something you can control. Instead, enjoy the process. As you grow, a lot of things will change – the things you enjoy may not hold your attention anymore, the things you once found annoying may start becoming more bearable or even important to you. Being young in the mind does not mean not accepting the wisdom of the years. So you can still keep your spirit childlike while accepting gracefully, the changes that age brings.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

In simple terms, this translates as ‘hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst’. Steel yourself to fight anything that comes your way so that when misfortune strikes, you don’t cower down. But don’t let that stop you from being positive and cheerful. Don’t ever come under pressure to sell yourself out. Meditate on the good things in your life. Surround yourself with the people who matter to you, communicate effectively and try to uplift the people around you whenever you can.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

Irrespective of everything, love yourself and be kind to yourself. It’s ok to make mistakes. It’s ok to falter along the way. Ask for help when you need it.

You are special and one of a kind – there’s no one else quite like you!! So own your place under the sun!

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

You may or may not believe in God. But know that there is a higher power that is keeping the cosmic checks and balances in order. Follow the principle – ‘Change what you can, accept and let go what you can’t and most importantly, know the difference’! Be positive, cheerful and kind, spread love and be honest to yourself. Everything will pass and what will eventually matter is not HOW you got through it, but that you DID!

No matter how broken or flawed it may seem, the world is still a beautiful place with lots to cheer about.

Focus on the sparkle in your life – The happiness you desire is within you. Allow yourself to feel it and spread it!

———–

Phew – I did say it was going to be a long-ish one. Maybe we can take the ‘ish’ out now!!

But if you got to the end of this post, you’ll agree with me on how this poem really covers EVERYTHING there really is to finding your sunshine!

Let me know if there’s a specific part of the poem that resonated with you the most!

That brings me to the end of this mini-series. I’ll be back with something new soon. Keep reading, keep following and keep commenting on my blog!

Take care you guys, and stay safe!

“If” – (My favourite poems mini series – instalment 2)

If I had to credit one poem as my greatest draw to the world of poetry, it would be this one.

Not just poetry but this poem also sums up for me, how one should lead his/her life with dignity, stoicism and poise. It is to me, a philosophy that I keep going back to as a guide to my actions whenever I’m in doubt.

In all of four stanzas, it covers all of the following elements of human personality –

    • Trust
    • Patience
    • Honesty
    • Ambition
    • Resilience
    • Forgiveness
    • Hope
    • Courage
    • Strength
    • Humility
    • Persistence
    • and last but in no way the least, Passion for life

“If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

These lines sum up “good living” for me.

Rudyard Kipling was a prolific writer and I love many of his works – who can forget ‘Jungle Book’?! But this poem for me, is at the top of the heap when it comes to his best works!

Without further ado, here’s the poem for all of you read (or re-read – as I’m sure many of you would have undoubtedly read this before).

If_Rudyard Kipling

Let me know which part of this poem resonates most with you in the comments below. And do let me know your favourite poems – I’d love to go check them out if I haven’t read them!

Till next time, tally-ho!

Forming a new habit – Day 27 of 30 – #30daysblogmarathon

Change is always difficult at first. There’s no denying that. And when it comes to changing a habit, whether it’s forming a new one or kicking an old one, the key is to stick with it until it becomes a part of your regular routine.

Experts say it takes 21 days for an action to become a habit. So technically, if you do something continuously for 21 days, it is likely to become a routine part of your life (by this logic, blogging should have become a part of mine by now!! Let’s see after this marathon period!). Any back-outs or slip-ups are usually most common in this period because it’s not yet a natural tendency for you.

This is why gym memberships are highest in January. So are enrollments at various hobby classes, visitors at libraries or consultations at nutritionists/dieticians. We are conditioned to believe that the new year is a good time to start something new because you’re likelier to continue it throughout the year. In reality, this doesn’t happen automatically. There is no perfect time to start a new habit. The only perfect time is when you decide to stick with it! Today is as good a day as any so if you’re thinking about starting a new habit, here are some of my tips. Get cracking today!!

1) Consistency – This is very important. It is necessary that you indulge in the action that you want to make a habit at the same time every day, as far as possible. If you have decided to read more books this year, try to read every morning or every night instead of just reading at random times everyday. You’re likelier to make it a part of your routine if you do this.

2) Keep your goals specific – ‘I’ll try to read 3 books a month’ is a much better goal than ‘I’ll read more books this year’. Likewise, ‘I’ll get fitter this year’ is far less effective than ‘I must lose 15 kilos this year’ or I’ll quit sugar in all forms this year’. How you frame your goals is very important because that’s the message your brain processes and it treats specific instructions very differently from general statements.

3) Make bit-by-bit changes – Instead of making extreme changes too suddenly, try following some form of gradation that’ll make the transition easier. For instance, if you wake up usually at 8am, deciding that you are going to wake up at 4am from tomorrow is never going to work because that’s just such a large mountain for your resolve to climb! That may be your ultimate goal but it helps to have sub-goals or milestones that help you make this change slightly more easily, even if takes a little longer initially. If you want to improve your fitness over a period of time and decide that starting tomorrow, you will exercise 1 hour, give up all forms of sugar and get 7 hours of sleep everyday, there’s no way you will achieve this. While this goal is specific, it is too much for your body and mind to adapt to instantly if you haven’t already made some progress in that direction. It might be better to start for a couple of months with the exercise routine and then gradually working on your sleep and then on your diet or in any other order that works but preferably not all together.

4) Start over – If you happen to give in to temptation or don’t meet your target, don’t chide yourself too much about it. Just move on and start over. Being too rigid or harsh on yourself can often be counter-productive. Instead of motivating you, it may end up seeming like such an impossible goal that you are more wont to give up. At the same time, don’t be too lax on yourself. It is necessary that you strike a fine balance between being motivated enough to repeat the activity everyday and at the same not feeling like you’re being punished or forced to do it! Read my post on ‘Never give up‘ if you need some added inspiration!

5) Assign a ‘motivator’ – Tell atleast one and upto 4 people about your goal and ask them to keep checking in with you on how you’re progressing. Give them some free rein to push you to achieve your goal. Its remarkable sometimes what you can achieve when you make yourself answerable to someone! At the same time, telling too many people is not advisable because it can get overwhelming if all of them were to constantly nag you about it.

6) Reward yourself – Give yourself tiny rewards even when you achieve your sub-goals. It’s so helpful to dangle the carrot of a reward and make sure it’s something you feel motivated enough to work for. For example if you are planning to give up sugar, every 10 times that you deny yourself sugar, reward yourself with something you like – could be a new book or a new dress. Doesn’t matter. In fact, it doesn’t have to be expensive. You could reward yourself with an additional episode of your current favourite TV show that day!

7) Stay cheerful – Most importantly, don’t hesitate to revisit, restate or revise your goals if it is making you unhappy. If, instead of motivating you to do better, it seems like a burden on your back or it is depressing you no end, you’ve probably been over-ambitious either in defining your goal or the timeline you’ve set yourself. Go back to the drawing board and find a combination that doesn’t kill you!

Bonus tip – A lot of people will tell you to be result-oriented when you evaluate your progress towards your goals. But what has worked for me has been to enjoy the process or the journey rather than focusing exclusively on the result. As long as you are in the right direction, take your time and don’t rush with that habit. Small, gradual changes everyday will make you a whole new person 5 years from now! So don’t fret about not seeing results early in your journey to a new you.

Whether it’s that fitness goal you set yourself or a diet plan, if you don’t see any significant weight loss in the initial period, do not get disheartened and/or give up. It’s maintaining these actions over a longer period of time that deliver results anyway. Similarly, if you manage to meet that goal of getting up at 5am daily but don’t end up getting anything done, don’t beat yourself over it – at the very least, enjoy your morning cuppa of tea! Over time, you’ll become more productive as your mind acclimatizes to the new schedule.

The key thing like I said at the start of this post is to keep at it – vigorously, sincerely and passionately, but also in a forgiving manner and showing yourself some love along the way!

If you have any tips that worked for you, do share them in the comments!

Never give up! – Day 25 of 30 – #30daysblogmarathon

One of my favourite quotes is this one by an American author and motivational speaker by the name of Regina Brett – “No matter how I feel, I get up, dress up and show up for life. When I do, the day always serves up more than I could have hoped for. Each day truly is a slice of heaven!”

This is so true and I couldn’t sum it up better.Get up – There are days when I feel so low and sapped that I can’t get out of bed. But I do. And once I do, I don’t feel so bad any more. It’s usually the first step that’s the hardest.

Dress up – Spend some effort on looking and feeling good. Looking good has got less to do with being a fashionista or in tune with the latest trends and more to do with being comfortable in one’s own skin and carrying oneself like a pro! If feeling good means using a good perfume or applying lipstick, go right ahead and do that. But if it’s scruffing your hair in a loose bun or going make-up free, then that’s really dressing up for you!

Show up – This is most important. No matter what, show up! If you promised, show up – whether you promised yourself or someone else. If you told someone you’d meet them, don’t cancel last minute no matter how terrible you feel (unless you have a genuine situation that requires you to cancel). If you promised yourself that you’d wake up and go to the gym, then show up at the gym. There’s really no exaggeration on how good this can make you feel!

So today’s post is dedicated to this awesome quote that I try my best to follow in life and would strongly recommend all of you to follow too!

Late last night,
Puffy, tired eyes,
can only hold you back,
until you decide,
to get up from bed and greet the day,
announcing like a boss, ‘Surprise’!

Brush your teeth,
get in the shower,
Scour your wardrobe,
for something comfy and nice,
And as you dress up,
Don’t forget your smile!

Carry that spirit,
with you through the day;
Pass it on to those,
you meet along the way,
as you show up no matter what,
‘Coz that’s what you do when you’re down and out!

Never give up!



New post tomorrow!

*****************

P.S. None of the content on this blog to be reproduced or lifted without permission

Life on the other side of 30! – Day 24 of 30 – #30daysblogmarathon

30 is the new 40! It has been for a few years now. So what’s it really like to cross that hurdle and live life on the other side?

I’ve be in my thirties for a couple of years now and honestly, the change is so subtle and gradual that you don’t even realise it. Heard of the adage, ‘Day by day nothing changes, but when you look back every thing’s different!”? That’s what it feels like! A lot of it is just psychological but some of it is physical too.

Also, now may be a good time to add that not everyone feels the same. It definitely is all in the mind. We all know that seventy-year old who can put a teen to shame in both vivacity and tenacity. At the same time, we also know that 30-year old who starts talking as if their life is over. True, some things do really change once you’re 30 and you start taking a long-term view of most things. But how you perceive these changes and how you allow it to impact your lifestyle, thought-process and attitude is entirely up to you. In other words, how old or young you are depends on your age but how old or young you feel depends entirely on your attitude!

Having said that, I will now launch into a monologue about what being on this side of 30 means to me. Along the way, I’ll also maybe slip in some snippets and thoughts that my fellow thirties-pals have shared!

The 30s effect on:

Friendships

I think all of that stuff you do to be ‘in with the crowd’ or ‘fit in’ becomes meaningless. You simply stop trying too hard. You realise that your true friends will stick with you no matter what and accept you for who you are. And that they are the only ones that matter.

A lot of your work colleagues become your best friends, given how much time you spend with them during the week. You may see less of your other friends in the bargain but the best ones will stay!

Outings with friends become more sophisticated!! You move one from the CCDs and Baristas to better places that you can now (usually) afford! Better still, you may start preferring house parties because you either learn to be a good host who wants to try out different things or have friends that do!

Career

You start thinking more seriously about the longer run – what you want to do, where you want to be, are you really enjoying what you’re doing and whether what you’re doing now will be sustainable, relevant and rewarding in future as well. You also start thinking about where you want to be physically – whether you want to move countries or be where you are.

You start evaluating potential opportunities from a cost-benefit perspective – opportunities in terms of different work profiles, different organisations and even educational opportunities. You definitely put more thought into whether you want to get that Executive MBA or supplement your professional degrees with some additional domain-specific degrees or diplomas.

There are a lot of questions that plague your mind at this time and lot of crucial decisions that seem like now-or-never opportunities although, in reality, they are not so. It’s never too late really. However, one must accept that though there is no real restriction on doing an MBA at 40 even, or changing jobs at that age, such exciting or life-changing opportunities do start thinning out as you get older.

An important question that you need to answer at this point is how do you stay relevant in your career as you likely move from being among the junior strata of your team to more responsible, mentoring roles. You start evaluating CVs of people born two decades ahead of you and that really drives home the point that you are now a senior team member who needs to have some domain expertise. You also start looking at what you can do to upskill yourself – whether it is by attending training programs at work or picking up courses on online platforms like Udemy/Coursera or by talking to your seniors to evaluate what areas you should specialise in so that you can become the go-to person for something! Continuous learning is key as is developing your juniors because if you don’t groom people to get into your shoes, you will not be considered ready to step into the shoes of your seniors!

Productivity and habits

You learn to make better use of your time. Meeting friends, family and extended family or making it to social commitments and finding time for yourself require you to strike a delicate balance. You begin to choose your commitments accordingly.

Also, I believe that you tend to be a tad more productive at work for a couple of reasons –

– It is likely that some of the people who joined the organisation along with you have moved out now. So you tend to be caught in a time warp where your peerset is changing but you are constant!

– You likely take fewer breaks because you want to get home to family. Or to your me-time which may entail binge-watching a series on Netflix, catching up a PS4 game or finishing that book. You start making an effort to switch on and off and work as far as possible. (In my experience, this has been very hard to achieve because if you’re in a consulting role or a job that demand you to be ‘available’ all the time, then you struggle with this. But you start wanting to make the effort)

– Because you are likely to have shown some growth at work, you are in a position to delegate some of the tasks and therefore able to focus on work that is more challenging and/or satisfying. This automatically makes you more productive

You also start consciously forming habits based on people, books and/or videos that inspire you. Like sleeping early, eating on time, being more organised, drinking more water (yes, this one helps too!), exercising regularly. All of these things makes you more active and productive throughout the day.

 

Health

You start taking your health more seriously. You realise that fitness decisions you do not make at this stage may cause irreversible damage to your health in later years. Many of my friends made lasting diet changes such as going Vegan or switching to a completely Paleo diet. Or more recently, practicing intermittent fasting.

At this point is when some of them went back to a sport that they were good at in school or picked up a new one altogether.

Yoga, Zumba, aerobics and gymming are all fitness activities that you tend to dabble in before finally settling on one or two that are sustainable on a regular basis.

Important to mention here that in addition to physical health, mental health is of equal significance as well. Getting back to your hobbies to keep you mentally happier and content is also a great way to stay spirited and one that quite a few people I know have done exceedingly well……me getting back to blogging is also one such effort. Hopefully I’ll take to music again as well!

Financial decisions

If you haven’t already, 30s is definitely when you should start making sound financial decisions and long-term investments. By this time you’ve probably paid off or close to paying off any student loans that you’d taken. With a little more disposable income, the tendency to splurge is high so it’s best to start investing early and wisely.

There is a right way to save. Do you know how? Save first, spend later…and not the other way around. In initial days when you’ve just started earning, the tendency is to spend all you want, and whatever is left at the end of the month goes into savings. 30s is the time to reverse that, if you haven’t already.

It’s also a good idea to split your savings by objectives – higher or continuing education fund, marriage and honeymoon fund, children’s education fund (if you already have kids), travel fund, so on and so forth. Absolutely essential to create at this point (again, if not already done) is an emergency fund. This fund should ideally be worth six months of your salary at least so that should you suddenly find yourself in dire need, either without a job or facing a health issue, you have something to fall back on. (Also helps if you finally decide to take that sabbatical you’ve always been wanting to!)

Love and relationships

If you’re single, then you start looking at potential relationships, thinking of marriage or evaluate whether you want to get married or stay single. If you’re married, you start thinking about whether or not you want to have babies and planning in that direction. This is also the time when there are hormonal changes in the body and you become aware of your body clock (or your constantly reminded of it by people around you)! There is suddenly a lot more seriousness in your relationships – in a positive way!

You start looking love slightly differently and desperate bubblegum romance gives way to more mature pragmatic expressions of love that manifest in the little-little daily actions – like saving the last bit of your partner’s favourite ice cream for him/her, giving him/her a spontaneous back rub when they’ve had a bad day or finding that being together in silence is also comfortable and does not require great activities or regular ‘going-out’ to keep the relationship alive and well.

Don’t get me wrong – you still need to ‘invest’ in the relationship. But instead of investing in terms of gifts or expensive dates, investment in terms of time and thoughtfulness mean so much more.

Attitude

This is the one thing that differs maximum from person to person. In my case, 30s made me a lot more pensive, even cynical maybe. But it’s also made me want to get a lot more out of life – travel more, invest in experiences rather than things and make efforts to connect and stay in touch with  people who mean something to me.  It’s also made me more environmentally and socially conscious. I always fancied myself as a thinker, but I think the 30s have made me an overthinker!

But honestly, this has nothing to do with age and everything to do with our experiences, interactions and inspiration.

What has changed definitively due to age is the fact that I am now in a position to actually influence people – there are younger people who look up to me for advice, opinions or mentorship and I feel hugely responsible indulging in such roles.

Priorities

There’s no denying that there’s a gentle yet definite shift in priorities. There’s more self-awareness and consciousness for decisions taken and these are evaluated in detail in terms of cost, benefit, long vs short term impact, people and places involved, financial consequences and most importantly, the question of ‘what do I choose today?’.

Every morning, I wake and need to decide whether today I’m going to prioritise my work or my family needs me more; whether that social commitment is more important than my me-time today (when I’ll indulge in my hobbies…..like writing this blog post!)! I am able to prioritise these without compromising on what I want because the 30s have made me feel less guilty about making myself a priority!

That’s my life today and it’s on this side of 30, no longer the ‘other side’ for me!! What does your age mean to you, if anything at all? And if you’re in your thirties or more, feel free to let me know if you relate to the above changes and have anything to add.

Come back for a new post tomorrow!

P.S. Interesting that I write about being in 30s as part of a #30daysblogmarathon! The thought struck me so I simply had to put it here!

Platinum rule of relationships – Day 21 of 30 – #30daysblogmarathon

I was introduced to the Platinum rule of relationships at a milestone program in my workplace and I have tried to follow it sincerely ever since. Up until then, I was only familiar with the Golden rule of relationships. For the rest of this post, I will refer to these as PRoR and GRoR. Are you familiar with these?

GRoR says – ‘Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you’
PRoR says – ‘Do unto others as they would like you to do unto them’

So subtle and yet so powerful!! The difference between these two rules is all about perspective. We believe that the same things that make us happy are bound to make others happy as well. In assuming so, we couldn’t be further from the truth. We are all different people at our core and have different motivations in life. Our happiness is driven by different things and our belief systems are not identical.  So take some time to understand other people, particularly when they matter enough to you.

Here’s a little rhyme to remind you of this rule!

You’re a fish, I’m a monkey;
I revel in the trees, you bring life to the sea!
You need water and so do I,
Though we use it differently!

You can’t live on land, 
I can’t survive in the sea;
That doesn’t make you right or me wrong,
We’re just different, you and me!

Yet if we were friends,
I’m sure we’d do just fine,
‘Coz we could just party on the banks,
You in your comfort zone, me in mine!

I was always good at perceiving the feelings and preferences of others but ever since I have heard of this rule, I try more consciously to apply it to all my relationships – personal and professional. Of course I’m only human so I do falter sometimes, but in most cases, where I have paid attention to the likes, dislikes, idiosyncracies, fetishes, preferences, thought process, belief systems and feelings of others, I have found that they genuinely appreciate the attention to these details. It has only strengthened my relationships.

If you have heard of this rule for the first time, do try it out. And if it resonates with you as something you anyway do, then kudos to you on your interpersonal skills!! 🙂

**********
P.S. None of the content on this blog to be reproduced or lifted without permission

20 for 2020 – Day 20 of 30 – #30daysblogmarathon

I mentioned yesterday that I was excited for today’s post. It’s about 20 things that I wish to do in 2020. I don’t see these as resolutions since I’ve kept them more fluid rather than as rigid goals. They are mostly either things I was doing earlier but have stopped in the recent past due to some reason, or things I’ve always wanted to do but never gathered motivation enough or things that I know explicitly will make me a better person.

I’ve been thinking about this list for a while now and it’s taken some time to come up with these. I’ll be happy if any of you want to jump in with me on one or more of these action areas. It’ll be good motivation to work on some of these as a club. Write to me via email, text or Whatsapp if you’re interested.

I have also intentionally kept most of these very generic so I’m sure a lot of you would be able to relate to them or make them your own with little or no modifications. If any of them resonate with you, go for it!

Image result for 20 for 2020

1. Read atleast one book per month. (The perfect candidate for a club – it’ll be great to read something together and get discussing about it)

2. Learn atleast one new skill during the year

3. Practice mindfulness and learn mindfulness meditation – this has been known to help in improving productivity and interpersonal relations and I’ve wanted to pick this up for the longest time

4. Give back to society in a meaningful way – work back with an NGO or help a needy person. To really make this meaningful, try to give in terms of your time rather than your money.

5. Work towards a fitter and healthier you – because the importance of this can never be over-emphasized

6. Identify one character flaw or bad habit that you have and work on correcting it – admit it, none of us are perfect!

7. In relationships, give more than people expect and expect less than people are likely to give. This works magically in maintaining and improving relationships!

8. Reach out to one person in your family or friends network every month for no specific reason other than to catch up and do this in rotation so that you keep in touch with different people. An interesting way to do this is if you find a book, video, article, song or movie that you think someone in your circle will like or reminds you of them, take the opportunity to share it with them to initiate a conversation. And then take it from there.

9.  Do something new every once in a while – take a new route to a regular destination, sleep on the other side of your bed, visit a new restaurant or try a new cuisine, try listening to a song that is not in your typical genre – anything that will break routine for you. Change always gives an adrenaline rush which releases happiness hormones in the body. See this link for some ideas.

10. Pick one topic every fortnight and read up / watch everything on it

11. Appreciate someone genuinely and if you can, not only appreciate them directly but also tell others about their talent or actions. Complain less, if possible not at all and definitely not about one person to another. If you have something nice to say, say it and spread the word. If you have something not-so-nice to say, say it only if you must and don’t spread the word.

12. Become environmentally conscious – watch what you’re eating, how you’re disposing things and what impact your actions have on the environment around you.

13. Regularly practice compassion and gratitude; Keep someone in your prayers and wish them well; be thankful for what you have and generous in sharing your blessings.

14. Listen more than you speak.

15. Help someone learn something new, teach someone or help them grow in any way you can – whether it is by sharing your knowledge, teaching them a new skill, helping them hone their skills or giving them constructive feedback.

16. Learn to say no when required, especially when you don’t want to say yes. Here’s a book that can help with this

17. When caught in any situation, respond rather than react. Stop to think, evaluate if you really need to say or do what you’re thinking and what impact your words and actions will have on others. If it won’t help the situation, or worse – if it’ll aggravate it, then take a step back.

18. If you’re anything like me and find cooking therepeutic (or eating, for that matter!), try cooking a new dish once every month. Follow the recipe to the T, be diligent and conscientious in your measurements and soak in the aroma and taste of your handiwork!

19. Find some ‘me’ time everyday. Indulge in your hobbies and pick one to hone this year. Pay attention to your personal grooming and revel in looking, and more importantly, feeling good!

20. Make at least one person smile everyday by your thoughts, words and/or deeds. Tip the Swiggy delivery boy, smile at a child in your building, help an old or differently-abled person cross the road, feed the pigeons or crows that come to your window, surprise someone – there are so many ways to do this! Never miss an opportunity to spread some love, whenever you can – whether it is to your family, friends, a stranger, an animal or a plant!

Some of there are truly club-worthy or doable in groups. Do reach out to me if you’d like to exchange notes or need some motivation to pick any of these or indeed, need help making your own 20 for 2020 list!

Ta-da!

Ten commandments for the 2020s – Day 19 of 30 – #30daysblogmarathon

For the uninitiated, the traditional 10 commandments are housed in the Holy Bible. They are basically ten tenets that Moses supposedly received from God around 1300 BC which were then recorded in the Book of Moses.

They are as below.

Image result for the ten commandments

Some of these are not even understandable without googling their meaning. Also, have you noticed that some of these are criminal offences (Although the Indian judiciary recently ruled that adultery is no longer a criminal offence)? Why do we need a commandment to tell us not to do something that is severely punishable by law anyway?

Given the above redundancies and having just set foot into a new decade, now seems like a good time to revisit and revise these to make them more relevant to our modern lives!

So here’s me taking a shot a this!

1. Thou shalt not judge people for their choices and habits
2. Thou shalt inculcate habits of an environmentally conscious and responsible homo sapien (examples include not wasting food, avoiding use of plastics, respecting nature, not littering)
3. Thou shalt value the time and money of other people as much as your own, if not more
4. Thou shalt be ethical and responsible when posting on social media; example, not spreading false rumours or insinuating unnecessary agitation. In other words, thou shalt be woke but not whiny.
5. Thou shalt not abuse free office stationery or get drunk on free booze
6. Thou shall maintain good personal hygiene and habits including not belching or farting in public
7. Thou shall leave cabs clean after using them (not stuffing tissue paper or chocolate wrappers in the seat handles)
8. Thou shalt earn respect and not walk around with a false sense of entitlement. Thou shalt especially not impose said sense of entitlement on others in your dealings with them
9. Thou shalt not say ‘let’s meet up’ or ‘let’s plan something’ if thou hath no intention of doing so
10. Thou shalt not be a ‘blue tick stalker’ – If thou sent a message on whatsapp, thou shalt wait for thy neighbour to respond and not call, text, email and WhatsApp all at once unless thou art inflicted with a dire situation

Go follow these stat!!

Major inspiration for this post came from my dear friend Mudra’s ten commandments post in her monthly newsletter. You can read her commandments on Sniggers from the Sidelines – Issue # 6. You can also check out her blog here. I’m a fan of her writings and I’m sure you’ll greatly enjoy them too!

New post tomorrow – one that I am quite excited about! So do come back 🙂

Having enough! – Day 15 of 30 – #30daysblogmarathon

As humans, we are always looking to pack the most amount of life into every breath! Make the most of your time; make every moment count; YOLO, FOMO – all different ways of saying the same thing!

Remember that scene from the movie Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (one of my all-time favourites) where Naina so candidly explains to Bunny on how being thankful for what you have can bring more joy than chasing behind and trying to achieve everything. Below is a snippet.

Click here for other awesome dialogues from the movie

So today, I’m thankful for the present – exactly as it has manifested before me, no questions asked! I’m thankful for a good enough life that I can’t really ask more of. We are basically creatures of desire that can never really be satisfied. But today, I want to consciously appreciate my life and be contented with what I have, conscious that I am more blessed than many and fortunate for what I have. Of course, I could have a very different life, a much better life, if you will. Or I could have much more in this life. But today, I’m thankful for just this.

I am thankful for this life, this day, this moment where I am blessed with –

  • enough food in my stomach and fridge that I don’t have to worry about going to sleep hungry
  • enough good health to stay active, mobile and independent
  • enough money in the bank that I don’t have to worry about sacrificing today to secure my tomorrows; that I don’t have to spare a thought before spending on my needs or even my wants
  • enough love in my relationships to keep me stable, happy and make me feel cherished
  • enough clothes in my wardrobe to keep me comfortable, warm and modest
  • enough people and places to call home that I never have to worry about having nowhere to go
  • enough joy in every moment that I don’t have to regret not living my life or worry about the future
  • And importantly, enough that I can maybe bring a smile to someone else’s face, enough that I can also give to others and maybe make their day a tad bit better.

I hope you can look at your life and be thankful for all that you have as well.

I’m reminded of this old quote which is actually for happiness but I think it works well for gratitude too. Happiness is like a butterfly – if you chase it, it eludes you but if you don’t covet it, it’ll quietly come and sit on your shoulder! Gratitude, according to me, is strangely similar. Human tendency is to want more, the more you have. But if you sit back and appreciate what you have, it’s quite like this – the more you have, the less you need. The less you need, the richer you are.

‘I wish you enough’ is a beautiful anecdote from Chicken Soup for the Grieving Soul. It really touched me when I first read it and I keep going back to it whenever I feel disgruntled with life. It never fails to lift my spirits. If you haven’t read it, you can read it here.
And I wish you enough, today and always!