Oh, this feeling of nothingness.
And the state of being numb.
Oh, this feeling of nothingness.
And the state of being numb.
While sitting by the window on this cold winter morning in a very different part of the world, I can’t help myself but notice the changes that have happened in my life in the last couple of years.
It’s dark outside but about to be bright soon. The surroundings are so new and unknown but the view is oh so breathtakingly gorgeous.
What is it that’s keeping me awake at this hour? Is it Xenophobia? No, but definitely a bit of anxiety.
Anxiety for the unknown, anxiety for the new journey, anxiety for the change.
And this time a post beyond work :-). No digital, no product or marketing, just something straight from heart, something that I have been thinking to share for the last few months but haven’t been able to.
Life has interesting ways to teach you some lessons. Sometimes it’s about learning new things and sometimes it’s about unlearning the old ones. If you are like me who thought that learning new things with age gets more difficult, then trust me you haven’t tried unlearning :-).
To me, unlearning has been far more challenging than imagined. And some of these were deep-rooted values or long-practiced habits that required much more effort & deliberate practice than learning new things.
Have I been successful in my effort? Well, not completely but at least I tried and I am still trying. Why am I doing it? Life being life has never been easy for me, especially the last few years that have been nothing less than a crazy roller coaster ride. Earlier this year, I reached a point where I felt that if I will not consciously work on my own life design, things will become more unmanageable and go out of my hand.
I needed to be rewired or let’s say repositioned in my marketing lingo :-).
To be honest, this is the first time ever that I have spent thinking, rethinking and working on myself. And now that I have spent the last six months doing this, I wonder why didn’t I do it earlier?
As we enter the last month of this year, I thought it’s time to sit back and reflect on some of the critical learnings I had this year. A separate post on repositioning myself into the professional world from being an employee to an entrepreneur will follow soon. For now, let me share some thoughts on recent life learnings, errrrr… unlearning 🙂
• The importance of the word NO. One of the biggest things that I have been trying to work on these days is learning the word no and unlearning all the cynical perceptions attached to this word. No is not a negative word and saying NO doesn’t mean you are disrespecting others. It simply means you are respecting yourself, your own views, your priorities, and your own life. I have no idea why since childhood we have been taught so much against this word no, “don’t say no to elders, teachers, boss, etc, etc. In fact, with time I have learned that saying NO is perhaps the ultimate form of self-care. Oh this word self-care reminds me of my second point which is –
• Self Care ≠ Selfish – Self-care is a necessity and it is not equal to selfish. These are two different things altogether. If you are like me who has always prioritized others’ happiness, their likes, dislikes, etc above you, then trust me someday you will crumble, break down completely. Self-care is powerful and only makes you stronger to take care of others. Breakdown reminds me of my third point which is –
• Sleep is precious – We live in an age where sleeplessness is equated to hard work and mantra for success. Compromising on sleep continuously to accomplish things eventually will lead to burn out. For me sleeping disorder has been a childhood issue, there are many reasons for the same, a lot of which cant be shared in a blog post on a public forum. With time, sleeping less became a habit chronic to the extent of being considered insomniac medically. In the last few years, I can’t tell you how many problems in our lives have come due to erratic sleeping patterns of me and my spouse. We learned this lesson very hard way that sleeping less is not something to flaunt, rather be worried about and paid attention to on priority.
• Being “sensible” always is not necessarily good – I can’t tell you how much I have started to hate being the “sensible”, “matured” or “samajhdaar” one in my life. This one has created more problems in my personal life than in professional because on the work front we still learn how to put our foot down with time. But when it comes to family, damn to this trait of being the sensible one that only and only burdens you with more expectations, more responsibilities and more load of managing it all, bearing the brunt of idiosyncrasies of everyone. I think with time I have learned that it’s better to be not so sensible that you are always expected to tolerate the insensibilities of others.
• Prioritize Peace – Learnt it hard way – anything that costs you your peace is too expensive for your life, be it relationships or work. Life is all about priorities and for me currently, it’s about prioritizing my peace. It’s perfectly fine to not win every battle and it’s perfectly fine to give up on certain situations, come what may prioritize your inner peace, your peace with yourself. Priorities change and that’s perfectly fine. For me also, sometimes it has been family, sometimes career but one deep realization that has happened in the last few years is that if you are not at peace with what you are doing, eventually things fall apart.
Deep down if I think of it, none of these are new, yet despite all the awareness I haven’t been able to act on these fully. It has taken me a lot of conscious unlearning and relearning to practice these in my life. I am just hoping I continue to do so in the future as well. I need this rewiring badly to transform a few things in my life. As someone rightly said –
Transformation is more about unlearning than learning.
So what have been some of your new learning/unlearning this year? Would love to hear your thoughts.
From being a voracious reader to a reading enthusiast — that’s how my reading habit got changed when I started working and entered into other phases of personal life. For last two years, despite all my sincere intent to read more, at best I could manage to read only 12–14 books an year. This was lot less than what I used to read earlier. So, when I ended up reading 19 books in last one month, I was quite pleasantly surprised with myself. At least there is something good out of this hospitalization and being-on-bed phase of life, I am getting time to read and paint more. See, I am trying to look at the positive side of any situation :). No, I mean it in all seriousness; first month on bed was too painful with surgery, stitches, fractures and what-nots. To add to that, weird thoughts kept on floating in my mind throughout. So, after few weeks when my hands got freed from stitches, the first thing I did was, picked up a book. One book after another and soon enough I was engrossed in reading like earlier. It only added to the reading charm that not only I was getting to read the books that I wanted to read but I also got some amazing books as gifts from friends.
But I am all free these days, so what’s the big deal about reading 19 or any number of books? Well, it’s not the number or the titles of the books but the way I am reading that makes me think more on my current reading habits. You know the kind of reading that we used to do earlier, engrossed in words, lost amidst the pages, the kind of reading that brings you calm and cognitive stimulation, the kind of reading that you do mindfully. My recent readings have been all of that.
So, what did change this time?
I think this will be a long post but I must write it. Was in two minds whether to post it here or not but considering I am only active on Medium these days, it had to be posted here only.
So, I think the pressure to always ‘think positive’ is too high these days.
The pressure to always ‘feel happy’ is too high these days.
The pressure to have a ‘perfect life’, rather project a perfect life is too high these days.
And, the pressure to be always ‘cool & confident’ is just too high these days.
I mean, you express a moment of worry or weakness to anyone and here you go, suddenly everyone is ready with a quote on power of positive thinking and optimism and how it’s your thought that’s responsible for all the miseries in your life and… well, you know all those “ands”, as I am sure you get to listen to it as much as I do 🙂