December 31, 2011

Another Year


Once again I am at that stage when I really don’t know what happened this year for me to write about. Has this year been significantly different to the past ones? Have I changed this year? Have I actually been striving towards my life goal- to be happy? Or am I not really striving, but pointlessly getting through life and living for the day and not for anything beyond that, but happy anyway? Yup, it’s the latter for sure. 

I will try my best not to make this depressing. I think the general mood of last year’s post was leaning towards the depressing side. The thing is, 2010 was a really good year. But I’ve noticed that even in my highest level of optimism, it is hard to completely drown out the not-so-good things with good things.

This year was a good year too.

I noticed, appreciated and soaked in the delights of every good thing. I cherished every minute with good company, relished every mouthful of good food, enjoyed every note of good music and basked in the contentment that I definitely have a life that I would not trade.

I did things this year that made me feel quite alive! Apart from the general things like I mentioned above, I've had such good experiences that have made me feel more alive than ever.

I went about my usual list-making and during the holidays was when I actually strived to get those things crossed out on the list. The most exciting thing I accomplished during the holidays was publishing my blog. Not starting a blog- but sharing what was already there to other people. As simple as it sounds, those few clicks of the mouse required immense courage. It was a huge boost of excitement which motivated me to fulfill my next plan of food blogging. That one thing was my window into 3 things I loved- writing, cooking/baking/eating and a newly found enthusiasm for photography.

For years, my piano playing has been restricted to playing when there is no one else at home and the occasional time at church, when the usual pianists are not to be found because I cannot refuse. But I listened to this piece by Ludivico Einaudi called ‘Nuvole Bianche’. I didn’t just download the score, but actually strived to learn it and perfect it. That feeling of accomplishment is worth all that time practicing. Before you ask, ‘Playing for other people’ is going on next year’s list.

So, there you go. Both of the tiny little things that I did which were pretty insignificant by themselves, but played a big role in my self confidence.

I learnt this year that there is always a solution to a problem. There is always a solution to even seemingly unsolvable problems. And this year has proved that. I mean, it may take a while to discover that solution and maybe I’m not even sure that it will work, but like every other solution, how will I ever know? But sometimes, I just know (through experience with tried and failed solutions) that this is all going to work out…eventually. I just need to be patient.

This year I witnessed another example of what death does to the ones left behind. Life sucks big time. Everyone knows that. And when someone dies young, there really isn’t a need for any more proof (and this is without taking into account war, poverty and everything else) I learnt something new about this though. I initially thought that there was comfort in knowing that their life was a life lived happily. But that is a comfort that is forced. And a comfort like that is so superficial. There is no point in clinging on to something based on the past, because even God cannot change the past. Instead, there is only one true comfort, I repeat, only one true comfort and that is only for those who believe in heaven and have the belief that death is not the end. This is a comfort that is based on the future.

I did a book review of ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’ by Jonathan Foer and came across this quote, “You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness.” It made a lot of sense to me. The things that cause most negativity usually concern people who mean a lot to me. And cutting away from all that would mean cutting off from people I value. (There are lots of other insightful thoughts in that book. I highly recommend it.)

“I shook my tambourine the whole time, because it helped me remember that even though I was going through different neighbourhoods, I was still me.” This quote from the book reminds me of being myself regardless of the circumstance. I am no different from most people in the fact that I wear masks sometimes. I change the way I speak and act depending on the situation. Sometimes I even contradict my personality in these changes. But, I’ve learnt that keeping a hold of personality is so vital because it makes me feel alive. I strive to not go along with the crowd just because it’s safer and easier. I’d rather be an odd version of me than someone who’s not me. I believe fully in developing my personality positively, but not in losing it.

I figured, apart from striving to remain happy, there is nothing I really need to worry about. There are things I cannot fix, things that worrying about won’t change and things that happen which I cannot explain. But if I spend all my time worrying, trying to fix, trying to change and trying to explain, I will miss out on enjoying the things that don’t need fixing, changing or explaining. I quote from the book, “It was one of the best days of my life, a day during which I lived my life and didn't think about my life at all.” 

This last month, I’ve went through the annual sulking that I do because I have to miss out on the majority of the Christmas festivities on account of exams. This has been the case for the past 6 years! Then it hit me, and I made it a point to keep reminding myself of this: Despite the many parties and social gatherings I miss out on, despite the many nights of carol singing and the vast variety of baking that I miss out on. Despite the mad shopping that I would normally do for all extended family and friends and the excessive decorating that usually happens at home (didn’t even put up the tree this year), I was still blessed by the true spirit of it. The festivities of Christmas have been so important to me, but the season did what it is supposed to do which is to remind me of the impact of a very special birth two thousand years ago. Selfishly, I sulked because I missed out on personal enjoyment, but if I remember correctly, every year I’ve been able to share some of the seasons’ joy with at least a few people who truly needed it. I think I needed to be reminded about my primary reason for the celebration. It was worth learning it the hard way.

For most of my life, keeping the Sabbath as a holy day was more of a ritual. Once I started having major exams, I looked forward to having a day of rest away from studies. It kind of rejuvenated me for the week ahead. Although I love the day the fellowship and activity of every Saturday, subconsciously, it does so much more than that. It’s hard to explain how much peace of mind it brings. Sometimes, I really need reminding of how much I need to thank God for and how He has so many good things planned for my life. It’s funny that even in a span of 6 days, I can forget that.

I’ve really enjoyed the college phase of my life. There are things which I will miss terribly and things which I definitely won’t. There are moments I know I will never get back in the next phase of my life. But I have met amazing people here and over the last five years, it is evident that they were not just meant to be a part of my college phase. And that’s what’s most important, isn’t it?

“My life story is the story of everyone I've ever met.” I couldn’t agree more with Jonathan Foer. 

I’ve gone through most of my life with some sort of a future plan. As a child, my parents did the major planning of my life. But later on, when I took control, I knew the subjects I wanted to study and I pictured where I would study. I planned my course and college while I was in high school, and after that the 5 years I spent in college were chalked out pretty clearly. But I’ve reached nearly the end of that and I don’t have a plan anymore. I don’t even know what I want to do. It’s one huge open endless white sheet in front of me. One vast blue ocean, the infinite universe, or whatever other metaphor you can use.
I am plunging into 2012 headfirst. I am strangely excited, and a bit scared, but mostly very anxious to live it. I guess this is a good start to the year.

2012- Here I come! :)

I don’t expect people to actually be interested in reading through the summary of my life this year, but if you have, I truly hope that you enjoy the coming year too.

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