“One” connection in millions of conversations

What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined to strengthen each other, to be at one with each other in silent unspeakable memories.

-George Eliot

Day before yesterday was Valentine’s day and like every year, there was nothing special about the day for me. I remember in school, excitedly waiting for Valentine’s day to get roses or chocolates or gifts from my secret admirers. Well, didn’t I think too highly of myself?! I didn’t get as much as a fallen leaf or a chocolate wrapper from my “invisible” admirers. I felt a little empty, at the end of each Valentine’s day and hoped that next year would be better. Well it’s been more than 14 years than when the thought first crossed my mind and I’ve spent each and every one of them, lonely and a tad bit depressed.

Initially I thought that my appearance was the culprit. I was overweight and had no trace of self confidence or self esteem in me. To top that, I was shy and introverted in nature. It was a mammoth task for me to talk to a new person (especially boys) without feeling the need to revisit every conversation thousands of times and mentally murder myself for saying something boring or stupid. Having guy friends was a HUGE step outside my extra comfort zone. It did make me feel less conscious of myself and I started becoming less critical of my appearance. Yet, I didn’t find the one, “MY ONE

Time passed by and I graduated to the “adulting” zone from my teenage phase. There were way too many things on my mind to think about having a meaningful relationship in my life (yet I felt the absence of it on some days, Valentine’s day being the prominent one even when I vehemently denied it to my family and friends). I still was a work in progress on the “love myself” and “personal growth” space. I had an extremely hectic life which I absolutely hated and wanted someone to “save” me from my pitiful existence (yes, that’s how low I thought of myself back then!). None of the knights in shining armor found their way to my place and I was left all alone, to fight the demons of my mind and life.

Things changed eventually and I started hating myself a lot less. I embarked on the path of self discovery and found a lot of love and respect from my inner self along the way. I discovered my hidden talent in “long distance running” and hobbies (blogging, learning Korean language) that I absolutely enjoyed. The gaps in my life were filled up by these new activities. I enjoyed my own company and didn’t find anything amiss in life except the occasional bout of loneliness on certain empty days.

But then I turned 30 and suddenly everyone around me (courtesy : I have relatives-_-) started behaving as if I’m suffering from an illness (courtesy : I am unmarried) which needs a speedy cure. No matter how hard I try to ignore their talks, fears and expectations, it gets to me at times. I feel lost, directionless, lonely and unhappy many a times. Don’t worry, I try my level best to get out of it and always manage to do so. However, I’m seriously wondering how long this phase will last, when will I stop feeling (or made to feel) like an outcast, will there be a “happy ever after” in my life too?

Today is one of those blue & grey days where everything feels like an uphill battle. I’ve become less expressive and more neutral after all the misses & “almostencounters of finding love in my life. I’m exhausted, drained and somehow numb to the constant barrage of “When will you get married?” questions and many many rejections! This phase of my life is totally out of my control and that irks me the most. Can the Universe atleast send me a sign so that I stop hoping for my happy ending and an escape from this painful phase?

I am genuinely tired!

It’s a challenge, alright

“Real difficulties can be overcome; it is the imaginary ones that are unconquerable.”

Theodore Newton Vail

I started working out 2.5 years back. I was never into sports during my childhood days. As I was a chubby kid, I mostly stayed indoors while the kids from my building played outdoors in the evening. I feared not being not being able to compete, not being fast enough, being made fun of! When I started out 2.5 years back, I noticed I had better endurance and stamina than I thought. I was much stronger than I thought. The first month was extremely difficult but things started easing out from the second month onwards.

2.5 years later, I feel much stronger and fitter than when I started out. I am able to attempt most of the new exercises with a day or two’s practice. But there are few exercises that I have never attempted or have failed miserably after trying. One of them is the push-up.

Can you perform a push-up? If yes, then dear friend, you earn my envy. Ever since I started working out, I’ve tried through every possible means to attempt a perfect push-up, failing each time. Yes, I am impatient when it comes to workouts, I go all in and try to achieve perfection as soon as possible. My high energy and determination has worked well for most of the exercises, except the almighty PUSH-UP. I was very dejected yesterday when I couldn’t even perform 1. I almost gave up on this exercise after my mind tried to convince me that it isn’t made for me.

There’s a challenge going on in my runner’s group wherein we have to perform push ups daily and increase the count by the end of this month. Most of my runner’s group members perform a push-up decently well, at least their posture is right. I can’t seem to fix my horrible shoulder posture while performing the push-up after trying every possible trick in the book. I wish there was an easy way around this, I wish someone could help me fix my posture.

Well, I’m not ready to give up yet. I really wish to conquer this challenge and try my best to clear my mental block around this exercise. Yes, mind gives up way before my body does. In this one month, I have to work hard to bring my mind in sync wit

Well, I’m not ready to give up yet. I really wish to conquer this challenge and try my best to clear my mental block around this exercise. Yes, my mind gives up way before the body does. In this one month, I have to work hard to bring my mind in sync with the body and give my best efforts in breaking the self imposed push-up jinx.

I’ll probably jump with joy and celebrate the day I perform a push-up with correct posture. Yes, this is currently the biggest challenge of my life!!

See you at the end of this month when I’ll share my experience with this challenge!

Earned vacation

Almost everyone who knows me or the one’s who I have met recently are aware of the fact that I have an exam coming up in February (specifically February 21st, 2021). It’s Level 1 exam of the Chartered Financial Analyst program which was initially scheduled to take place in June 2020. The exam has been postponed twice already (from June to December 2020 and finally settling on February 2021). Ever since I have registered for this exam, my anxious mind tricks me into believing that I should be studying instead of doing anything leisurely -_-. After procrastinating on it for a dangerous amount of time, I finally got around to start study diligently as the exam date drew nearer. More than the exam, I’m excited about all the time I’ll have on hand after the exam ends which will be EARNED and totally GUILT FREE.

I’ve prepared a Netflix list of all the movies and shows I’ll drown myself in after the exams. I’ve made plans to meet my friends, go for a trip and every other thing that sounds remotely fun is automatically added to this list. This is what’s motivating me currently to study. I don’t know why I feel the need to earn my leisure time by working hard for it. Nothing can beat the bliss of stress free, guilt free, leisure time that we get post a stressful event, according to me.

Yesterday I got a mail from the CFA institute which essentially meant that there is a chance for the exam to be postponed, yet again! Instead of jumping with joy, my heart sank to the floor. I’m really looking forward to give the exam and start living a normal, “not having the stress of an impending exam loom over my mind 24*7” life! My mind is back to it’s anxious tricks and is forcing me to google “Is CFA Level 1 February 2021 exam postponed/cancelled?” every other minute knowing very well that the answer to this question can only be given by the CFA institute. The mail sent by CFA institute states that they will let us know the final decision by February 2nd. That’s almost 20 days away!

Since I have no other alternative anyways, I’m planning on continuing with my studies, possibly in a more serious and dedicated manner. I’m channeling all my energy to give my BEST EFFORT for this exam and pray that it takes place on 21st February. Heck, I’m even ready to make a manifestation circle for it, no matter how ridiculous it sounds!

Desperate times calls for desperate measures! 😀

Since I feel much better now after venting my anxious thoughts here, I’ll go back to studying and hope that the exam takes place as scheduled!

Curtain call

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

-George Eliot

As this extraordinary year 2020 draws to an end, I am reminded of the uncertainties as well as opportunities showered on us this year. The other day, my colleague called 2020, “a year of self discovery” and I couldn’t agree more. While I am aware of the pain and turbulence caused by this year, I might be one of the few people who is extremely thankful for the existence of 2020.

Before Covid-19 hit my country and a nationwide lockdown was announced in India, my life was pretty much the same. I woke up every weekday, squeezed myself in a local train, spent my time doing work that I absolutely despised in office, came back home, wasted my time on the internet and repeat. The only thing I looked forward to during those times were my runs and any impending running events that I registered myself to. The lockdown brought with it a halt in the mundane daily routine and blessed me with a lot of time on hand. I had never spent such a long time at home before that. Ever since I was in school, I have been running hither and thither throughout the day, each day, for some work or the other. This year, in 2020, I spent close to 3 months at home, with my family, with my thoughts, doing nothing, relaxing and rejuvenating. It was blissful.

I was depressed, disoriented, lacked passion and purpose in my life before the Covid-19 lockdown. The lockdown made me realize the importance of my existence and all the amazing blessings I have in my life. I try my level best not to take my life for granted. I try to find happiness in the small things that make up life. I try to give my 100% in everything I do in life now. This is how 2020 has helped evolve my thoughts and actions. I am eternally grateful for this year as it gave me the much needed break that I had been desperately seeking ever since I started working.

I have planned to blog every single day till 31st December to document my emotions till the end of the most special year of my life. I want to usher in the new year with a clear mind, positivity and unending self love. I aim to create a wish list for the next year, a detailed one, with a rock solid will to achieve every single goal I set for myself going ahead. I want to transform into the person my childhood self would be proud off. I am proud of myself now but I truly wish to challenge my skills, willpower and determination to become the best version of myself. LET’S DO THIS!

Gratitude for “Abundance”

“Gratitude is one of the strongest and most transformative states of being. It shifts your perspective from lack to abundance and allows you to focus on the good in your life, which in turn pulls more goodness into your reality.”

-Jen Sincero

If someone would have told me to count my blessings and be happy in the present 2 years back, I would have fumed at that person. Here I am in the middle of discussing my life’s problems, every single one of them felt life threatening back then and the reply I get is to “be grateful for what you have!”. This advice sounded simple and extremely useless to me.

Fast forward to the present moment, I am the one preaching the importance of having a deep sense of gratitude in our lives. How does being grateful help in transforming our life? When we shift the focus from our problems (lack) to our blessings (abundance), there is an instant change in our mindset to look at the brighter aspect of every situation. I agree, technically this doesn’t help us solve our problems, but does being anxious about it serve the purpose? It doesn’t, it aggravates the core issue and multiplies the severity by 100 or even more. Technically being scared, fearful, anxious, stressed also isn’t a big help. On the other hand, it makes the situation look much more dangerous than it already is.

Our mind is a powerful tool, maybe the most powerful element of human existence. The biggest battles in our life are fought in our mind in a much more grandiose manner than in the reality. It is extremely beneficial and useful to keep the mind in our favor so that it helps us when we need it the most. Dwelling on negativity hampers our growth and forces us to lead a life of mediocrity when we are capable of doing much more than we can ever imagine. Developing a grateful mindset requires consistent practice and constant effort. Once we develop a habit of practicing gratitude daily, our mind slowly learns to focus on the positive aspects of our life and every situation that we go through on a daily basis. Doing this consistently converts our mind into a magnet to attract abundance in our life. We are truly gifted with a lot of blessings in our life, being aware of them opens the doors to abundance and happiness.

Simple ways in which we can develop a gratitude practice

  • Morning routine : Write down 3 things that you are grateful for each day. This could be anything from the food you really enjoyed last night to the presence of your friends and family in your life. This would hardly take 5 minutes but is the best way to set the tone for each new day.
  • Night routine : Before the end of each day, write down 3 biggest highlights of the day, something that really made you happy, excited or simply made you feel better. This is an incredible way to focus on the present and live each day mindfully than just pass it by.

That’s it. It’s this simple. Since we have reached the last month of this extraordinary year, I’ve made a pledge to follow this routine daily to welcome the new year with an “abundance mindset“. I would love for you guys to also develop this practice and let me know if it helped make your life a little better, each day!

Would I be any different?

“There is no paycheck that can equal the feeling of contentment that comes from being the person you are meant to be.”

-Oprah Winfrey

I’ve had a tough childhood and have always considered this as a good excuse for all of my failures in life. For the longest time, I have blamed my father for not giving the rest of our family the means to do well in life. I still do this at times when I feel frustrated or stressed for not having things under my control. There is a nagging thought I have every single day and that’s my lack of efforts in living life to my full potential.

I always believed that my childhood experiences have shaped my personality, the good, bad and ugly. While I’m proud of all of my accomplishments, I’m fairly unsatisfied with the importance of career in my life. While growing up my family faced a lot of financial crunch, I took up my current profession and job to give a comfortable life to my family. I never wanted to experience financial trouble ever in my life. That was my sole motivation to earn a degree and look out for a job. As soon as I achieved this purpose, my life felt empty and directionless. I started hating my profession, job and everything related to one of the biggest aspect every human’s life, my career.

I have spent a lot of time blaming my father, my childhood, our family circumstances for not being able to achieve better things in life. I have also conveniently BELIEVED that my life would have been a lot different if I had the privilege of experiencing a comfortable childhood. That was far more easy for me than taking responsibility for my life.

Come to think of it, I don’t think my life would have been any different with a better childhood. I would still be the same person, with the same level of motivation and ambition in life, maybe even less as I wouldn’t have a solid purpose to dream big. I probably would have ended up doing nothing great in my career and led a comfortable life handed over to me by my wealthy father. WOW! This realization just hit me hard! My inability to achieve my full potential cannot be attributed to my childhood! It’s because of my half hearted attempts, my laziness to plan and chase my goals, it’s all ME!

Now that I know this well, I want to know what I’m truly capable of. I want to realize my full potential. I want to be the BEST in what I do and keep learning new things in life till the end of my existence on this planet. I’m truly pumped up and excited to start this new chapter in my life. I will share my journey, learning experiences and achievements here. Eagerly looking forward to see how life looks like on the other side of regrets, self sabotaging thoughts and all things that bog me down. I promise to utilize every ounce of my strength to fight the demons of my mind.

Am I losing control?

“Control what you can control. Don’t lose sleep worrying about things that you don’t have control over because, at the end of the day, you still won’t have any control over them”

Cam Newton

I’m back after a brief hiatus. The last time I posted here about a week back, I had undergone my RT-PCR test for detection of corona virus and was awaiting it’s results. Thankfully, I tested negative and could carry on with my normal life. My parents heaved a sigh of relief as they were a million times more worried and scared than me. Over the weekend, I got the opportunity (blessed as I got tested negative right before it) to go on a short getaway with my friends. This was a long awaited trip and we enjoyed every bit of it.

Back home, I was forced to dive straight into reality. Going on vacations rejuvenates me yet I’m never pumped up to get back to my normal routine after the end of the trip. On the other hand I’m left with an intense feeling of doom and gloom which takes a while to get over with.

In the past week, I underwent a roller coaster of emotions. It started off from feeling extremely happy about myself and the results of my fitness routine to pitying my existence. I get extremely worked up even at the mention of my marriage at home. It is something my mother is really looking forward to, but this might be one of the most difficult things I have to undergo in life. I truly believe now that I had a slight bit of control over all my earlier problems in life.

I read a TV actor’s love confession on Instagram yesterday, she said that every person deserves a partner who understands us, believes in us, inspires us, helps us grow and truly cares for us. These are simple personality traits of a decent human being yet it feels like an impossible task to find such a person. An unmarried girl who has crossed the age of 30 is directly or indirectly made to feel like a burden in the eyes of the society. Even though she is completely happy and content with the manner in which she has led her life, all of her achievements fall short before the mention of her unmarried status. My relatives and most of the people who are dearly concerned about my marriage today were missing when my family led a difficult life throughout my childhood. No one offered to help us with the expenses on our education yet these people are willing to pay money (huge sum to the tune of Rs.35,000) to a marriage broker to find a prospective groom for me. Few of the marriage broker’s requirements were a pictures of me in traditional attire and answers to questions such as, “Does the girl know how to cook food?” or rather “Is the girl comfortable in cooking food for the family after coming back from work?“. While cooking is a necessary life skill which I wish to posses, my male counterparts are never asked such questions even when they lead the exact same life as us!!!

In the midst of this I gave an interview for a job which I couldn’t prepare for, owing to my own carelessness and blamed it on my anxiety. I never felt this before but after I gave a shoddy attempt at this interview, I realized that I suppress myself. I deliberately sabotage my attempts to excel at my work for reasons unknown to me. I know I am capable of doing much better at my workplace and my career yet I never try my best. There is something that holds me back and I will try to find out what it is to the best of my ability. As of now, this realization is a great starting point to work on improving myself in this extremely important aspect of life.

Pouring my thoughts and feelings here have made me feel better already. Here’s to finding those tiny little things that help us cope with the inconsistencies in life, a little better each day!

A close call

Today has been adventurous to another level. I travelled all the way to my office in the morning hoping to have a normal work day today. When I reached office, I had to go through the normal workplace protocol of showing my identity proof and the status on a government based mobile app (Aarogya Setu) which tracks the coronavirus infection of users who have downloaded the app on their phone. This app collects details of infection of everyone who uses it makes it easy to conduct contact tracing process. When I checked the status today, it showed I had a “high risk” of infection as I had come in contact with an infected person about a week back. I was surprisingly calm throughout as I had experienced no symptoms till then. I was asked to go back home and check with the helpline on the app for further process.

Once I reached home and told my parents about it, they freaked out. My parents are complete opposites of each other and their reaction to this news was also poles apart. My mother was very scared but kept it within herself and showed a brave front. My father called a friend, brought me medicines which I had no clue about and asked me 10000 questions within a span of 10 seconds. Mind you, they went through all this stress only with the news of me coming in contact with an infected person. I hadn’t even tested positive by this time. After talking to my friends and contemplating on the situation for a long time, I decided to get myself tested. I went to a diagnostic center near my house and my swabs samples were taken for the tests. Let me give a heads up here, the process of taking the nasal swab samples is extremely creepy and weird. The swab is inserted deep inside the nose and for a moment I felt that it had reached my brain!!

Then came the somewhat long wait. The antigen test results are quiet rapid and come out within a span of 15 mins. The results for the antigen test are inaccurate at times and hence I got myself swabbed for the RT-PCR test as well which is the most accurately used testing method. Within few minutes of taking my swab samples, my antigen test results were out. Fortunately it was “Negative“. The RT-PCR test results will be out tomorrow. My life changed within a span of few minutes after I came to know about the status on my Aarogya Setu app. Most of the times the stress of the actual situation is more troublesome and frustrating than the situation itself.

I’m glad I decided to take test after all and find out about my condition today itself. My initial plan was to self quarantine for a week or so before getting tested. I am extremely grateful for my meditation habit which helped me be calm in this situation. I’m really glad that I worked on making it a habit and spent 20 mins everyday on healing my mental health. It came a lot handy in today’s situation.

Fingers crossed for my RT-PCR test results tomorrow!

Small wins

Do you have a bad habit which you’ve been trying to quit since a long time without any success? For me, it has been my addiction to sugar. I’ve been heavily dependent on sugar for my constant source of happiness ever since I was a kid. I didn’t understand the repercussions of having such a dangerous addiction back then. More than the health hazards, I wanted to quit sugar to gain more control over my decisions. I have a tendency to indulge in sugar and sugary foods whenever I am sad or low in life. The cravings I get during such phases are massive and I have absolutely no control over the amount of sugary food I dump inside my body. I ate (rather gobbled up) sweet food for the sake of it, sometimes to feel better, many a times to punish myself for not working hard enough.

I spent many months and years into controlling my sugar cravings. Initially I restricted myself which backfired as I ended consuming double the quantity later on. As restricting completely didn’t work I decided to allow myself a cheat day. This also was counter productive as I consumed large portions even during my cheat days. Then I started learning about the ill effects of sugar consumption. The facts connected to this topic blew my mind yet it wasn’t enough to gain control back from sugar which wholly controlled my cravings. What I didn’t know was that all my efforts were getting counted even if the visible progress seemed slow. I would call “meditation” a breakthrough in my struggle to quit my sugar addiction. I gained more clarity and have been feeling a slight decrease in my sugar cravings.

26 days of continued mediation streak later, I finally had my eureka moment today. I ordered a bunch of sugary foods as I was feeling a bit dejected due to my office work. I picked up one pastry with the intention of eating another one after it. Halfway through eating the cake I realized I found it too sweet for my liking and couldn’t finish. This has never happened before. I could never control my mind when it comes to sugary food but I did it today and it felt extremely empowering. I will test few more times to be completely sure of it. As of now I am celebrating as this incident made me extremely happy!

If you believe something, you can make it happen. That’s all you need.  

Franklin A. Ohiozebau

Shit happens!

Image source : https://www.pinterest.com/pin/282037995391689852/

Today was sort of an important day. I had an important professional commitment call in the evening that I had been mentally preparing for a while now. Needless to say, I had to be in my element for it. But my body and the universe had another plans. Aunt Flo decided to strike today at the most unwanted time. I was in pain throughout the day, the cramps were somewhat severe (according to my threshold).

Coming to the professional commitment, I’m really glad that it’s over! I don’t know how I performed as I was unsure of the other person’s reaction. I felt like I did the best I could yet my reviewer seemed unimpressed. I leave it to the Universe to decide, if it’s meant to be it’ll happen. For now, I feel like a huge burden has been lifted off my shoulders. It feels so good, my mind is in a celebration mode. I want to read a book, watch a movie, eat good food and do absolutely nothing all at the same time. It feels so good to be anxiety free. I wish I can work hard to have better control over my anxiety in future. When I look at extremely confident people, I have complete admiration and respect for them. It is unimaginable for me to be bold and confident at occasions that demand the best out of me. I feel jittery and nervous to the extent of giving up. There are people who live up to the challenge and do really well under stress and I’m in awe of such individuals. They are the real rockstars.

All I can do is try till the time I can imbibe at least some portion of such confidence. I am in a much better phase now compared to my teenage and young adult years. There has been a noticeable change in my personality and I would love to grow further even if it’s at a snail pace. Some change is better than no change after all!