Growing Up

Just gonna skip over the back-after-a-long-time spiel. I am shameless now.

The last couple of months have been pretty whirlwind. First work, then some travel and then chicken pox. I am one of those freaks who never had CP as a child. Even when forced to live under the same roof as a sibling who had a full blown case of it a decade and a half back. And boy, has it had its way with me! Not going to relive the horror of it all, but damn, it was pretty scary and nasty and I’m just glad that I’m back to health. 99%. Most of the rest of that 1% is coping with the deafening sound of my crashing ego regarding the I-never-get-sick “thing” I have had. Just never mention it to me again, bro.

So I’ve been under house arrest for over half a month now. That’s meant a lot of TV viewing and Temple Run and other mindless stuff, and basically nothing productive. I also like to wallow in self-loathing and say things like “why me? why now? why this? why like this?” and demand extra care. All in all, I am the fussiest person you could ever have to care for – just short of that awful Sheldon Cooper making Penny sing him that ridiculous poem. Not proud but not embarrassed either, because I know that’s how it is and I can’t change it 😀 The only good thing that came out of this sickness, therefore, is the fact that my husband sort of gave up having to do all the fussing alone and sought my mom’s help and I got to spend 10 days with her after a very long time. On another note, I don’t think she is ever visiting me again when I am sick. Well, win some lose some, right? Right.

I have realized that some times we are put in situations coming out of which makes us feel grown up in a very short time. Thinking back, it always happens like this. One of the realizations of this growing up has been knowing that even though we pretend otherwise, we are not really in charge of our lives. In our script of our next few days or weeks or months, “this” is always going to be “such a bad time to be sick”, but what’re you gonna do because it’s not up to you. You’re always going to be dying to get back to whatever it is you think you ought to be doing, but viruses don’t play by rule-books. In a funny, heavily medicated and poxy state, all this seemed rather humbling. We make it look like going with the flow is a choice we make, when it’s the only way everything is actually happening.

Some of the telling signs of having grown up is that I missed only all the boring things in the last few days. Y’know – work, workouts and shopping. Work because I was feeling really good about it just when I fell ill, and I do think that I am going to take some time getting back in the groove. Workouts because I am terribly disappointed about how much this will have set me back in the gym. I am really really slow at any progress with my cardio, and I just know that it’s not going to be easy even getting where I already was. Shopping because I am out of so many things that I need and because I have missed out on some of the good sales and well, because I had my eye on so many things that are likely gone by now 😦

There’s another thing I wanted to write about, today. In all this staying home and not  being able to do much, I have subjected myself to an inordinate amount of social networking in the last few days. No, not excessive tweeting or blogging or facebooking, but just observing trends and discussions and virtual personalities. Let me just say that without the commensurate amount of alcohol in your system, it is not a very healthy exercise. It could be my disillusionment with the world at large, but I’m starting to feel that the online world is a bit of a two-dimensional matrix. The black-and-white opinions, the hyperbole, the lack of decency and space for debate, the presumed ownership of platforms, crass jokes making people short-term celebs and many other things have made it tiresome. I feel no inclination to engage in conversations beyond emails these days. I do not mean to seem holier than thou when I say this, because I’m sure someone could be finding me equally tiresome on the internet. But I do believe that the time has come for me to step back from it. I just need to decide between all these various media and stick with one that allows me to air my anyway-infrequent thoughts. Will decide on that soon.

In other news, it’s less than a month to my 29th birthday. Or, as I am starting to look at it, less than 13 months to my 30th 😀 I’m strangely looking forward to it. Yay!

Occupying 2012

Update: The post below has been in making for several weeks now. I never realized how big it was getting, till today when I’m sick and at home, and decided that I didn’t feel inclined to edit it. Apologies for the self-indulgence. The vacation pictures, I’m happy to report, are finally on my hard disk and while  the travelogue is going to take some time, those on my FB can see the pics at least.

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Well alright, since I’m now done sulking over issues I was sulking over, I thought “Hey, now that all this sulking time has been freed up, what ELSE can I do?” (Wow! I can say so much in every sentence even while using one word thrice in it and my posts are so informative – NOT.) And then the blog came to the mind. You should all be glad you’re the ones I chose over the million possibilities that arose in the aforementioned event (Collective rolling of three sets of eyes being steadfastly ignored now).

Since that blasted travelogue is taking way too long to get written, because of the photographs not getting transferred and me not being able to go “Oh yeah! That was the picture taken on that mountain on that day.. I forgot about writing anything about that day in the travelogue” (I’m forgetting stuff, man, and names of places in Spain were not easy. My brain, it hurts!), I decided to return with something even more self-obsessed than a travelogue of epic micro-detailing. Correcto – my resolutions for the year 2012! Please don’t go all “resolutions? That shit is so 1990s” on me now, because I never made resolutions in the 90s and such statements make me feel like I’ve always been behind the curve, not just now.

One thing I did realize while thinking through my resolutions was this: It’s addictive. You start with one good thing you want to do, one bad habit you want to change and suddenly, you’re hit with this truckload of all the angelic things one can do to become the next incarnation of one’s favourite deity (never mind, none of it is original) and you take on too much. Not that this realization stopped me from promising myself sainthood, but I did try to filter out those that didn’t have very sound logic for me as a person/ me at this stage of my life/ had other practical limitations I could not control. For example: As a person, I cannot go on an Atkins diet. At this stage of my life, I would not want to quit my job and be the vagabond I was a year ago. World domination has practical limitations I can’t control. 😀

Without much ado (too late for that though), here goes:

Cut the guilt: If there’s anybody in the world who could make Feeling Guilty the passion and enterprise of their lives, I dare them to better me at this! But don’t jump to conclusions just yet. All of this guilt is not unfounded or resulting from things beyond my control – some of it is a very complicated mix of regret and procrastination and/or attitude. It’s the latter that sends me spiralling down the rabbit-hole, for all the “if only I had”s I think up. I’ve only recently begun realizing (headway!) that little solves itself after I’m done wallowing in my guilt. But the worst part? I underplay the things that I did do right because I’m so busy beating myself over things I didn’t. The resolution for the year is to remind myself: What is the worst that could happen?, even if it takes asking myself that ten times a day. I also think these things help me balance my guilt:

    1. Praying:  I don’t do this often enough. In fact, I pray only when something bad happens. Or when I am truly scared because of something I see or imagine. In those 15 seconds of prayer, I feel like I’ve placed my fear aside and it won’t come back. Maybe it’s conditioning, but it really doesn’t come back. It’s hard to explain but in times of crisis, I feel like my left brain kicks in only when my right brain is done praying. God knows I could do with some more such magic in my life. If I can ship out my worries in advance and pay my thanks before I’m reminded to, why hoard them right?
    2. Giving:  I have been horrible at this. Which means, I may want to sound or feel like a compassionate person, but I’ve wasted a long time not doing anything concrete for the less fortunate around me. In time, money, material, help – something.  I have tried to fix this earlier, but sadly never made the right effort to do my research and make up my mind. I’ve taken the first small step to correct this, in 2012, and am keeping my ears and eyes open for other opportunities. And can I say it already makes me feel lighter!
    3. Forgiving:  I know I’ve written before how I’ve learnt to get bothered less and less by things that previously annoyed me. Guess what? I may have learnt to stay shut when annoyed, but that doesn’t teach me to either snap at someone totally uninvolved later or nurse a grudge for months. If it’s something hurtful someone has said or done, more often than not, they can kiss my friendship a very permanent goodbye. Here’s a small problem. No matter who you are, and no matter who your friends/ acquaintances/ relatives are, you’re bound to have someone do something that’s hurtful to you but completely normal (EVEN “CARING”) to them. In such cases, my policy falls flat on its face and cries for its mommy. It really doesn’t help that I never forget something that happened between us – not just the words, but how they said it, when, where, how I reacted – everything. While I can’t help with the trying-to-forget part, I think it’s only the adult thing to do to forgive and move on. Not that I don’t move on any which way, but I never genuinely forgive, and when I meet other unforgiving people like me, I notice how rigid and petulant it makes them come across as. Also, there’s the tiny bit of finally understanding how *surprise surprise* despite my treading very carefully with many people, I could also be hurting someone unknowingly and I would hate it if they decided to throw me out of their lives unceremoniously.

Make that call: I’ve read countless cheesy things about how it takes little to stay in touch with friends, and making that one call can give you real happiness and I agree. But this is not about that. This is about the calls I never make to my mother. Here’s the hard truth: I cannot think of any one person besides my mother who waits eagerly to talk to me over the phone. Sure there are many people who will be happy to hear from me, and many whom I can effortlessly chat for hours with, but none of them – I know – tap their fingers impatiently if I don’t call back. And the evil in me skimps with time on only her calls. My most hurried “I’ll just call you back”s are reserved for her. The most phone fights I have had that end with hanging up without warning have been with her. The only phone calls on which I leave the phone ringing and make a half-hearted note to call later are hers, even if I’m just out somewhere doing nothing earth-shattering. Recent events around me, however, have shaken me out of this sense of entitlement or eternity or whatever, and I have been re-acquainted with not just the need to communicate with her (both listen and confess, understand and convince) but also to learn from her and be like her (I never thought I’d say this :D). In fact, let me put it this way: Nobody I know has had a life made up of as many quirks and unimaginable courage as my mother’s, and I’ll just be a fool to not learn from it. Even if she can seldom never word her advice politely. (One day, when I can do better with words, I should try and explain our relationship on this blog.)

 Be fearless: To say this in slightly less a roundabout way, it means that I’d like to say what I want to, once again. I’m sick of being politically correct. I’m sick of trying to protect feelings, more so in cases where the favour is not returned. I’ll be very selfish and say that it only serves my purpose of feeling lesser guilt if I don’t impose on myself the need to be “proper” and “loved by everyone”. Not that anybody thinks I’m very proper anyway :D. Sometimes, because of my choice to remain non-confrontational, I later feel like a tragic hero whose glory is behind him now (how filmy!) and the rage takes over, but I really want to stop feeling that. But please stay with me, because I’m not done yet. In saying this, while I do want to fight with all my might for what I think is right, I really need to choose my battles better.Being fearless will also mean that I am no longer obliged to align with anybody else’s opinion or pop culture. So here goes: When I work out, I don’t listen to any kind of meaningful or soulful or even respectable music. My favourite number to work out to is – brace yourselves – Party Rock Anthem (LMFAO). Judge me all you want, but everyday I’m shufflin’ 😀

Live the beautiful past: I think this blog is the perfect embodiment of what I will be saying now. I neither write enough, nor look at old photographs enough (though many are clicked on every occasion and vacation). I have hardly bothered to hang or frame our pictures around the house. I reckon it’s time to correct all of this.

Give me back some of my 2011: Though the latter part of 2011 saw me feeling like a TV junkie and a zombie, there were a few days in the earlier half of the year when I was completely without a purpose and any commitments (for anyone who’s forgotten/ not read this blog back then, I was unemployed for 10 months of 2011). Going to a deserted coffee shop on a weekday afternoon and reading? I could do it. Hauling my ass to three different stores over the space of a week to collect ingredients for one recipe I decided to try? I had all the time for it. Now? I’m constantly running to keep up with what I just have to do. I’ll probably never get that glorious phase back, but I learnt that how sometimes pretending or committing to live a day or a week without any purpose whatsoever can be profoundly liberating. I want to learn languages or skills I never plan to use or just bum around on a weekend without being the responsible adult who has to “put the house together” for another whirlwind week. In fact, I can’t even put my kind of purposelessness into words right now J

The obligatory resolutions: Now of course, for the customary resolution. Yes, I do want to read more, travel more, watch more movies, and lose weight. I just didn’t want to leave anything out.