2017 has been an important year of my life. A year when I changed gears to make some of the most-anticipated-yet-most-postponed changes.
Around Christmas, I was ready to publish a long (read 2800 words approximately) post sharing at length all that I had been doing in the one year when I blogged sporadically, almost disappeared from the social media scene and never making enough time to read the many blogs I dearly love.
Still, more than a month later, this is practically my first post in 2018 (barring the two book reviews I did in the past weeks).
This is about to change from this minute on.
Yup! that’s true and there’s an important announcement too. But before that, let’s catch up on the lost time.
Let’s begin with what kept me occupied in 2017.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you would remember my distress over my discord with my strong-willed child. This left me thinking or rather worrying endlessly. The anxiety thus induced made me hop from one parenting article to other on the Internet, dive into the pages of the highly trusted books on parenting.
But at the end of the day, I wasn’t at peace. The tricks and the tips were effective, but only in the short term. This was when I decided that I needed to prioritise and consciously focus on resolving the issues that had been adversely affecting my well-being.
After much speculation and introspection, I realised that I had to work on the many issues, the many grudges I had been unknowingly holding in my heart. Though I was open to the possibility that power struggles between me and my child were more cause of my over-expectations than because of my 5-year-old being defiant to authority, I had never expected the sequence of events that followed.
In the final months of 2016, I started cutting down my work. What started with restricting my work hours which were borderline crazy at that point, ended up to going on a back burner by the time the first quarter of 2017 ended.
I consciously started investing more time and undivided attention to Pari. As a mother, I had imagined making this switch would come rather naturally to me but I was in for a surprise even at this bend. It was tough for me to not let my dedication towards my child waiver given the impending worries of my savings plummeting with each passing day.
Ah! the perils of being a single parent.
I was constantly weighing my need to work more hours against working out what I had been doing to upset the fine balance of my peaceful existence with my child.
If you’re a parent or a caretaker of a feisty child, you’d be well-aware how these little bundles of Sun-like energy crave for an extra dose of attention, quite unlike other children of their age. Though I often try to avoid it, in my mind I can’t help going back to my childhood days for reference to understand what my child might be feeling or expecting of me at times when I fail to understand her tantrums and moods.
While on some occasions my guesses work, at others, our stark personality differences play havoc with my craving-for-peace mind. Another roadblock had been my constant desire to take a break from being a full-time caregiver to my child and elderly parents by binging on social media updates.
(Thankfully) It didn’t take me long to realise that being away from the Internet would actually do me good when I needed to cling on to every ounce of peace and well-being. I desperately needed to live every day like it was the day that would change my relationship with my child forever.
I was hoping for a miracle while toiling to make it happen. I’d be lying if I say, that I never lost hope. There were countless occasions when I’d end up in tears, feeling frustrated, wasted and not being a good enough person to become a mother who could understand her child.
Around the time, somewhere in June last year, when I had almost convinced myself that I was being an emotional fool by giving up my work and working on my mental, emotional well-being while the whole world juggled these two effortlessly something major happened.
Our next-door neighbour’s son, aged barely 43 years committed suicide. We have been neighbours for generations. The blow shook our whole locality for a number of reasons. The prime being, the man in question was much loved by one and all for his loving, friendly nature. But that was only on the surface. He had been suffering from mental health issues for a long time.
Among others, my parents had on many occasions subtly hinted his parents that he needed medical attention. But, as expected those words of advice fell on deaf ears. Today, the world has lost a compassionate young soul only because his family didn’t see his mental illness as anything that needed urgent attention.
Needless to say, I was shaken to the core. I had somehow been thrown face-to-face with the reality of life. The writing was clear on the wall.
We can’t take our lives and well-being for granted.
We simply shouldn’t do it, lest we not fear to lose the ones we love or ourselves.
From then on, I knew, I had my priorities etched in stone. The well-being of my child and my own-self were paramount. I had to make the adjustments that seemed uncomfortable at the time but were definitely achievable with meticulous planning.
Life wasn’t going to be easy thereon.
In the six months ahead, I decided to take the bull by its horns. I chose to take the leap of faith and stand up for myself, even if it meant openly challenging the people and their beliefs that were causing me immense pain and grief.
I gradually but steadily started choosing myself over everything else. My health, my emotional well being, my peace of mind, my sleep started to matter over making others happy by working like a machine. The repercussions of such an approach have been scary, as expected.
Among others (that I shall be sharing in my future posts), the events I mentioned in my Car Story too happened around this time.
Did I falter?
Did I second guess myself?
Did I give up?
Sometimes when we yearn for signs from life to help us know if we’re doing alright they come in the most unexpected forms. This time it came in the form of another unexpected death from a massive heart attack to a 40-year-old man who lives at a stone-throwing distance from our home. It all came down to the unhealthy lifestyle that killed him despite no medical history supporting his cause of death. He was a successful restaurateur and was happily enjoying lunch with his family when in a matter of minutes, all was over.
I’m not sure by when (if ever) will I be able to overcome the shock of the realisation, that the stressful, unhealthy lives we lead in the modern times have only added to its uncertainty.
Around Christmas, the very first signs of progress in my relationship with Pari began to show up (the details of which needs another series of posts). It was the start of a beautiful friendship, I’d only dreamt of until that day. In short, our days were now calmer, loaded with smiles. Pari’s incessant banter was now music to my ears, I wasn’t in a rush to judge or hush her up.
This year, I decided to bring our very first Christmas tree home. I am happy to report that despite its humble nature, it brought along loads of cheer to my family. It somehow gifted us a reason to bond over and return to being the warm, loving, happy beings we had ceased being somewhere in the past 8-10 years.
I was happy that I had managed to live up to my Word of the Year for 2017 ~ transformation.
This was exactly when I thought I was ready to post about the happy turn of events in my life. I even had planned on a Word for the Year 2018. I was pretty sure, I was ready to rock the New Year.
Just when 2018 dawned and so many of my favourite blogs rolled out their New Year goals and Word of the Year announcement, I learnt about the death of another 42-year-old young man. This time, it was a family friend. My elder brother’s best friend from school days. He died from a massive heart attack in the middle of a board meeting.
Since then, I can’t help but believe in the futility of postponing happiness, peace and most importantly our fitness to an unseen day.
Today, I no longer believe in living life on a yearly basis. That appears to be too long a time frame to go lax about what we ought to be doing today.
I’ve realised the fruitlessness of always focussing on the bigger picture. Living my 24 hours laden with uncertainty has taught me to value the goodness of everyday life.
The word of the year that I’d chosen for 2018 doesn’t seem to mean much now.
After all, all we have in our control, is today, just now.
“With the past, I have nothing to do; nor with the future.
I live now.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Today, I am working on adding more meaning, more value to my everyday.
Today, I want to do all that I have been putting off for a very long time.
This is why I am going to be working hard to capture this realization, this new-found peace and my journey of attaining it in words before the motivation fizzles out.
I have also decided to go ahead and put into action the one wish I have had from the first year of this blog.
To write emails to everyone who has touched my life through this blog in one way or the other. To express my gratitude to those with whom I have lost touch owing to them stopping to blog or me not finding enough time to read their blogs. To be in touch with those who’d love a one-on-one personal connect with me through emails.
This whole idea came to me seeing the sheer number of emails I receive from people who have never left a comment on the blog or made their presence felt in any other way.
Every relationship needs time and care but above all, it asks for the people to stay in touch, regularly. That’s exactly what I am going to do via my newsletter.
Besides, I love writing emails and have subscriptions to many newsletters for my love for reading emails.
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The song on my mind: Kal Ho Na Ho (Title track)