2024 Q1 Update

My twenty twenty-four had a quiet start. I rang the New Year in by myself in my 400-something sqft apartment on a quiet Sunday night; luckily it was a holiday and I must admit there’s nothing like a year starting on a Monday and there’s nothing like a Monday that’s a day off from work. But then, there’s also something about a year that starts on a Monday - it means business. Being a 20-something and ringing in a new year by myself felt strange but then it has also become acceptable to do so since 2020. Between that Monday and this Monday, April 1st that is, a lot has happened but also not much has happened. This entry is a snapshot of the learnings from the “not much” that has happened. 

1. Days pass by, but there will always be solace in the routine.

Growing up, I would daydream about my life as an adult, and like all teenagers, I would detest the idea of having a routine. See, I HATED the idea of doing the same things over and over day after day, month after month, at the exact same time. I mean really? Every single day? The same thing? On my own, willingly? Without anyone really forcing me to? Yuck. However, after having the same breakfast every day for the past two years and religiously working out every (almost) single day, it is safe to say, that I have fallen prey to the sweet sweet feeling of having a routine. Somewhat. (Side note: Being who I am, I certainly am not someone who has a very strict routine, but I have my moments.)

Like every Friday evening, I religiously have a movie night at home. I have been doing it for a while now. It started when my partner and I would watch movies together during covid and then could only find time on Fridays. Thus began the ritual of ‘Friday Movie Nights’. Or like cleaning up right after wrapping up work on Fridays. I give myself 30 minutes to tidy up my space and vacuum the apartment while listening to whatever music I am hooked to that week. Why am I telling you this? Well, because right now, the world out there is kind of a crazy mess (I will spare you the details). And my mind is a constant sea of thoughts, maybe might be yours. But when I am doing things that are a part of my routine, I can shut it all out. In mundanity, you might find joy. Another one of my favorite ways to relax lately has been to make myself a cup of coffee or tea. Standing in front of the pot of water, waiting for it to boil, measuring the exact amount of tea, and then having the room fill up with the smell of my labor as it brews - the entire process helps me take a break from my day. 

Think of your day as a garden. Then add your favorite flowers that bring you joy. 

2. Change is the only constant, but change is also chaotic. And that’s okay.

It has only been three months, but a lot has happened in those three months - in my life and the world around me. On the personal front, I have been dealing with a ton of unexpected changes and curveballs thrown at me. And it has not been fun. Don’t get me wrong, I am used to change, I welcome it. But I do not enjoy it when it is unexpected and completely out of my control. I am the sort of person who, when traveling, prepares for all different scenarios in which things can go wrong. Losing my luggage? I can handle that. Delayed flights? I can handle that. Falling sick on eating something wrong? Already planned some buffer time to rest. 

So, when the things that happened happened, I had a tough time dealing with it. And you know what I think about that? I think that it is okay. It is okay to hate such change which you cannot prepare for. It is okay to be mad about it and it is okay to not be able to deal with it. I mean, at least for as long as you need for it to be okay. Then when you’re ready, you have two obvious options: 1. Accept and deal with it. 2. Accept and get yourself out of it. Regardless, as long as you keep your head above water, whatever your ‘it’ is, it will pass. 

3. Just like your body, your mind needs a place to rest too.

Confession - I have an issue. I find something to obsess over and then overthink it until it cannot be thought about anymore. My mind probably runs more laps than I do daily. If you were to walk around in my brain, it would look like the space from Monsters Inc. where the monsters keep appearing and disappearing from the kids’ rooms. Except, the monsters are thoughts in my brain, and just as in the movies, my thoughts pop in and out like the monsters in kids' closets. If only my mental doorkeepers did a better job at closing the doors when done! 

Credits - Pixar, Movie - Monsters Inc

Every day, I spend an hour exhausting myself physically so that I can get my daily dose of endorphins and serotonin. (It helps that it also keeps my body healthy.) But for the past few months, dealing with life and being in my mid-twenties has gotten more challenging than usual. Even though my body was tired, the monsters kept popping in and out without any control whatsoever. I tried drowning myself in other worlds by reading books and watching countless movies and TV shows to stop thinking but the screen goes off and the doors swing open! So I decided to sit with it. I dimmed the lights in my apartment, put down a mat, and sat with my eyes closed. I sat there and let the thoughts pour in. Except, I did not let them be monsters and I stopped being the scared kid. I let them pass and observed as they did so. 

Meditation might seem over-glorified but all for the right reasons. You take one breath after another and let the thoughts pass by with it. And of course, I ended up indulging in a thought or two (okay, it was more than two, three even) but as before, I allowed myself to be okay with it. I started reading this book called “Buddha walks into a bar” and it had this method- Every time you start interacting with a thought, you acknowledge it. You tell yourself you are thinking actively and that you should probably return to your breath. If you’re a beginner like me (and I have been a beginner one too many times in this area), this could help. Another piece of advice I got from a mentor was to let the thoughts be thought. Indulge them and then let it go. Eventually, you are bound to exhaust and bore yourself with all the thinking – just try not to become attached to the thought. Thinking and worrying are very different actions indeed. Worrying about the past or the future while meditating will indeed get you nowhere. Breathe. 

4. Sometimes, you don’t have to keep waiting for anyone to come. 

As a hyper-independent person, I live by the age-old saying ‘nobody is coming to rescue you’. But it was only over the past couple of years that I started understanding and experiencing the essence of it. In the past few years, I have moved out of my parent’s house where I basically lived all my life, moved to a new country, and rediscovered my love for freedom (and ability) to do things I want to. 

I recently came across this article by Chanté Joseph titled ‘I Stopped Waiting For A Relationship To Live A Romantic Life — & I Haven’t Looked Back’. It outlines how the author, like most of us, put milestones on hold while waiting for people to show up – so that they could share these experiences. Sharing experiences is a wonderful feeling, to be bound to other humans across our lives is incomparable to most experiences you will have in your life. But (there’s always a but, hon) one thing I observed and picked up on pretty quickly while growing up was that I cannot wait for things to happen to live my life. 

Love, family, friendships are beautiful feelings. But there’s also joy in finding yourself outside of these spaces where you’re something to someone. There’s joy in being yourself to you, with you. Since I've lived on my own for the past two years, I have had the expected share of challenges, but I have gotten comfortable with myself. I have found parts of me that were shoved away, parts of me that were tweaked to please others, parts of me that are soft, and even parts that are weird and awkward. And there has been joy in that experience of discovering myself. One thing that has helped me the most with trusting myself more has been to do things on my own - traveling on my own, going to dinners on my own, going to movies on my own and even showing up to dance classes without a partner! So many of us go through huge chunks of our lives without having anyone to witness it, but that does not mean that we did not live. Movies and social media have created this notion that your life needs to be witnessed (“pics or it didn’t happen”, right?). But being witnessed is not the only thing that makes our lives fulfilling – living it does. 

Those are my 0.02 cents from this quarter. I hope the next one is kinder, gentler, and filled with smiles and joy.
Thanks for being here! 🌸