Wednesday, January 25, 2012

New Year Resolutions (Alternative Title: Foolish Hopes)

As a child, and even as an adolescent, I was wise and mature. As I grow older however, I am becoming more childish and immature with each passing year, and seem to be regressing both emotionally and mentally. Nowhere is this more evident than in the fact that when I was younger, I refused to make New Year resolutions, knowing that I wouldn’t keep them anyway. But all the wisdom of my childhood and teens vanished as I entered into my twenties; and now, even though I’m well on my way to bidding farewell to my twenties, I refuse to learn from the failures of the past years, and continue to doggedly make resolutions.

After much reflection, I decided that there was a woeful lack of discipline in my life, and that it had caused a fair amount of frustration and misery in the past couple of years. Yes, it took me this long to reach that conclusion. Anyway. So I decided that the theme for 2012 was going to be DISCIPLINE. With a capital D. Oh, well, I guess you got that already.

So my resolutions this year are centred on bringing more discipline into various aspects of my life, both personal and professional. And today I’m going to list them out on this blog in the hope that making them public will pressurise me into putting more effort to stick to them.

1.      Eat healthy
I have very unhealthy eating habits and have been working to change it for the last couple of years, with limited success. I’ve decided to keep track of what I eat on a daily basis so that I have a better idea of what is going into my body. Also, I’m going to try to generally eat more of the good foods and less of the bad foods.
·         Eat more of greens, vegetables and fruits. Try to drink milk once a day. Try to drink at least two litres of water every day. Try eating something green at least once a week. Ideally, try to eat something every 2-3 hours. Snack on fruits and nuts instead of junk food.
·         Cut down on the unhealthy foods. Not more than 600ml of cola a week. Not more than two single scoops of ice-cream/one sundae a week. Not more than one visit to a coffee shop in a week. Cut down on biscuits, chocolates, pastries, puffs and other snacks. Replace regular oil with olive oil.

2.      Work out
This is a resolution that I have been struggling to keep up for the last couple of years. The goal is to work out atleast 3 times a week – I could potentially do yoga, badminton, swimming or aerobics. I don’t need to lose weight but I definitely want to be fit and toned, and look good for the beach at the end of the year.

3.      Take better personal care
Now this is the resolution that I have been most successful with in the last couple of years; and through this resolution, I have managed to incorporate a lot of small (and seemingly silly) changes in taking care of myself. For this year, I am going to try to: brush my teeth twice a day, floss every day, take my multi-vitamins daily, oil my hair once a week, moisturise thoroughly, use a face pack/scrub once a week, and visit the salon regularly.

4.      Write regularly
For the longest time, I believed that one either has a flair for writing or one doesn’t, and that’s that. But I’ve come to appreciate that just like any other skill, writing takes time, effort and practice. And that working on your writing is what makes one a better writer, not sitting at the laptop and waiting for inspiration to strike. So my resolution is to write more regularly (at least three times a week) and put more thought and effort into my writing than I currently do.

5.      Learn new things
I have realised that in the last few years I haven’t learnt anything new. Not a single damn thing. And it makes me so ashamed of myself. Especially because there are so many things I want to learn and so do! So this year I am going to make an effort to learn on new thing. So this year I am going to focus on: learning to tie a saree, learning to cook/bake, learning to swim, learning a foreign language and learning to drive on real roads (as opposed to imaginary roads without any traffic). I will be happy to achieve at learn at least two of these skills.  

6.      Function more efficiently
I am quite the Queen of Procrastination. I leave everything till the very last minute, and then scramble to finish things on time. The good part is that I work best under pressure and can always be counted on to meet tight deadlines. At my earlier job, I was the go-to person for last minute work and urgent proposals. The bad part about it is that it leads to stress, tension and general negativity that I can do very well without. Now this procrastination is not limited to my professional life but extends to my personal life as well – I am very lax about responding to calls, emails, doing favours I have promised to do etc.

So this year I am going to work on being more efficient – both professionally and personally. At the beginning of every day, I am going to make a list of things I need to finish on that particular day and I will not leave office till I finish it off – that way, I will be under pressure to finish my work for the day and not take work home. Every weekend, I will make a list of errands to be done for the weekend, and ensure I finish them off that very weekend rather than postpone it for the weekend that never comes. I am also going to make an effort to respond to all personal calls and emails before I hit the bed.

Now wish me luck for this one!

7.      De-clutter
This has been one of my resolutions for 2011 as well, and I did rather well on this front. Last year, the aim of de-cluttering my life was to not store/buy things I did not need in my life. The move to Hyderabad was very helpful because I gave away a lot of things I did not use before packing up and moving. And since then, I ask myself ‘do I need this?” before making even the simplest of purchases. Except books; they have been my only indulgence this year, and quite frankly, I don’t care to cut down on that.

This year, my resolution is to simply continue with the de-clutter mantra and question myself before making any purchase. I am also going to give away clothes, books and other things that I don’t need anymore. Most importantly, I am going to work on building a lifestyle where I simply don’t need so many things anymore.

So those are my resolutions for 2012. Wish me luck in keeping them. Oh, and what are your resolutions for this year?

Friday, January 06, 2012

Happy Happy 2012

Happy New Year Everyone!
So the last week of 2011 has been very interesting. We did a road trip along the Konkan coast in a beat up old car; and it turned out to be a trip that neither and Nike will ever forget. We experienced secluded beaches, soft golden sands, clear waters, charming little fishing villages, delicious seafood, imposing forts in the middle of the sea, and unbelievably scenic views. We also had many misadventures – getting lost, running out of fuel, car breaking down, leaving our ID cards behind and driving an extra 80kms to retrieve them, being refused a hotel room because we didn’t have proof of being married, our car engine sending out crazy fumes in the middle of a traffic ham, driving to what we thought was the hill station Khandala, only to find out it was some random little village of the same name!
We landed up in Goa two days before New Years Eve. This is my fourth NYE in Goa in 7 years – every other year, I end up there. Every time I go there, I am turned off by the crowds and the traffic jams and tell myself I won’t do this again – and promptly land up in time for NYE. Clearly, I am not growing up. Goa this year was alright – we spent our mornings lying on the beach and playing in the water, and the evenings going wild. By the end of our 3 days there, we were all bruised and battered, quite literally. I still have my battle scars from Goa.
New Years Eve itself was like any other in Goa. We went hopping from one beach to another, in search of the perfect party (hint: there is no perfect party). In the course of the night, we played Taboo, spent some time at a pick-up joint, participated in a fire ritual, passed off as a Russian from Vladivostok and fell into a ditch while running away from some hens (which were locked up in a big cage). And to top it all, we reached the car and found out it was punctured! What can I say? A crazy end to a crazy year.
2011 started on a good note. We spent all of January traveling across South East Asia. In February, I saw many of my friends and cousins get married, turned 27, and had a lovely time at home in Vizag with family and friends. In March, I went on a lovely holiday to Rajasthan, and then made the most of my last month in Bangalore. In April, I moved to Hyderabad and joined an exciting new job and fell headlong into a hectic social life. In May, I spent a lovely week in Mussoorie, started learning the ropes at my new job and continued to have a busy social life.
But things started going downhill from then on. The last 7 months of the year were quite awful. There were 6 deaths in my family. Two of my closest friends are headed for a divorce. Three other very close friends are involved in messy relationships which are causing them a lot of grief and pain. Some people very close to me have been facing health issues.
Personally too, it hasn’t been a great year for me. I took on way more than I could handle, what with the distance learning course, and my many personal projects, and ended up feeling stressed and pressurised all the time. I slipped often in the process, and then beat myself up endlessly for it. I didn’t really spend much time with family and friends either because I was just so busy all the time.  My social life came to a complete standstill – no movies, no reading, no dinners, no clubbing, nothing.
At work, things simply weren’t going the way I had planned so that was also another major source of stress. And none of the holidays helped! I was sick throughout the time we were in Siem Reap. Nike didn’t enjoy our weekend in Pondicherry. Our three days in Kerala were a massive disappointment. And our year-end road trip was not smooth sailing either.
So yes, I’m happy to see the end of 2011. And I’m really looking forward to 2012. I want this to be a year of big changes and much excitement; a year during which I work to be a better person; but also a fun and happy year. And for you and yousr too, I wish for a year filled with health, happiness, love and laughter. Happy New Year!