17 Reasons why . . .

2017 Reasons Why

 

I have often wondered what it is about a new year, that makes us want to change things (sometimes even quite drastically) and turn over a new leaf. In fact, is there any point of waiting for the 1st of every year to make changes, when some of them can be technically made at any point? I suppose in some ways, it’s a psychological factor – sort of us wanting to erase the past, sometimes learn from it and start on a fresh page.

 

Regardless of which side of the track they fall on, it goes without saying that change is not always easy. And New Years’ resolutions almost always involve ‘big’ changes. A couple of years ago, I decided that I wouldn’t make or refer to them as a New Year’s resolutions. And while I do believe in looking forward to the future, I’ve also come to realise that we simply can’t ‘erase’ our past. Yes, we can possibly not let it bother us too much, but the fact remains:

 

 

So, as we prepare to flip the pages of the calendar and welcome another year, I’ve decided to jot down 17 reasons why the year was a sharp learning curve for me and what I’ve learnt.

 

Self-love is important. No, I don’t mean to the point of narcissism or selfishness, but to the extent that you must stop *always* putting others before yourself.  It’s a thin line at times, but it is also about you investing some time and effort in yourself. Self-Love is about having a healthy mindset, balance and being confident. It is also a reminder to yourself that you matter. Even though there will be days when you absolutely feel like you don’t.  I learnt that the hard way this year.

 


I said it last year and I say it again. Perhaps with a bit of renewed vigour. Reading slumps exist. And sometimes they last for a really long time – for instance, mine lasted for over 17 months. But eventually the ‘dry spell’ will end. You just have to remember not to beat yourself up about it. Also, perhaps don’t try too hard – pick up silly books, short books, comics. Anything works. Make some dedicated time for reading. But most of all, do not compare your reading list with someone else’s. Yes, it’s difficult, especially when everyone flaunts their number of books read this year. But remember that the objective is to read, not flaunt. At the end of 2016, I’d read a grand total of 4 books. This year it’s gone up to 9.  Yay me!

 


Depression is something that can hold anyone in its grip, at any time. I too have been guilty of dismissing it at times as ‘not-so-severe’ illness. But all through 2017, I’ve seen it manifest in various forms, and it is really complicated. But I’ve also realised something. You will always find people who stand by you, no matter what. Yes, some days are certainly darker than others. But with a little support, you can see the light again.

 


2017, much like its younger siblings 2016/15, has continued to teach me important lessons about people in general. By no way has it been an easy year, and I’ve lost a few people who I had thought were friends. Of course, I’ll put my hand up and say that I am responsible in part of that too, but at some point, you need to say ‘Enough’. Enough now. It’s amazing how someone who was a mere stranger at the start of the year is now more than that, and vice versa. There’s only so much negativity and toxicity that we can all take. After a point, you really need to stop worrying about ‘being nice’ and go about your business.

 


If there’s one thing that I’ve enjoyed more than writing this year, it has to be photography. I’ve always been a photo hobbyist, but the past year has helped me discover that it helped me express my thoughts much better than I possibly could using any other medium. Which is weird on many levels, because I’d always thought the same thing about writing. Truth be told though, I don’t see writing and photography as two separate entities, but as an extension of the core medium of creatively expressing. Or expressing creatively. Plus, it has at times helped me with what some of us called ‘writer’s block’, as some of my long-wound Instagram captions can certify. So with that in mind, I’ve decided to add an add-on section to this blog, tentatively titled ‘I Took Those’. I’m also open to suggestions if you think the title should be something else – see, I listen to my readers.

 


Perhaps the biggest mistake that I’ve made over the recent years, particularly 2017 (and the latter half of 2016) has been that I almost completely stopped writing fiction. The original decision was not to put any more fiction on the blog, but as some wise souls have pointed out, I am not writing fiction at all. Anywhere. And that’s bothered me. Perhaps the other ‘unknown’ fact is that despite having given people enough gyaan about believing in their own writing and such, I’ve never truly been entirely convinced that I am a good enough storyteller. But despite the fact that I’ve not been writing any new fiction, I am eternally grateful for a lot of people (incl. fellow bloggers and friends) who have periodically dug up my old work, read, commented and given me feedback about my stories. And more importantly, a lot of them told me that they’ve missed my stories. You know what? I have too. So 2018 is going to be a year of stories.

 


For those of you who know me, you’ll know that I’m a foodie. Hold on, foodie isn’t the right phrase. I savour food. Sometimes a bit too much. I have a sweet tooth, a meat tooth, and whatever other ‘toothy’ adjective you add will not suffice. But the biggest learning this year has been that my health is important, and I should be able to figure out a way to get fit and remain there. Experiments have been ongoing for the past month or so. I’m optimistic about switching to a more healthier lifestyle – one that can be managed with the numerous other health and sleep conditions that I have. Fingers crossed, but I intend to make health my priority. (Wait, did someone say cake?)

 


It’s been a painful realisation, but I now understand and state for the record that ‘Work-From-Home’ is not for everyone. While it definitely wasn’t a learning from this year alone, I’ve had more time to reflect on it. There is this general misconception that WFH is this amazing gift that lets you do whatever you want and get away with it. At least that’s what it appears like on paper. The reality though, is that WFH also means that you are also working around home. Because inevitably you will get distracted often, get called for various things, and eventually feel like you’ve been working around the clock.  Of course, there are people who organise their time so efficiently that they don’t miss a beat – but I’ve discovered that it is probably not for me.

 


I’ve been told by some of my closest friends that I don’t listen enough and that I zone out. While a part of it is a ‘health’ thing, I’ve also come to the terms with the fact that I seem to jump to conclusions quite quickly. Especially when it comes to social media discussions. And of course, the trouble with this is that I also seem to judge people sometimes without actually knowing what their side of the story is. Yes, it’s going to be difficult to reprogram me, but hey, we have to try. And I’m glad that it’s starting to work.

 


I sort of hang my head in shame with this one. Despite all my best attempts this past year to not yell, I have been out-of-control a number of times in 2017. It has definitely been a little less than 2016, but I’ve been fighting the urge to yell more times than previously. So it seems like more things have triggered by my yelling this year than the previous one, although I haven’t gone through with all of them. It’s been a difficult road, but I’m going to keep at it. More so because the people who are the receiving end are usually my family, friends and my little one. And they all deserve better.

 


I confess – I’ve procrastinated a lot this year. Certainly a lot more than I should have.  I’ve cited reasons (some genuine, some made up) for not doing or achieving things that I said I would set about to do. In fact, I have often said that an apt quote to sum up my life some days could be:’ Just do it. Tomorrow’. And this year I’ve paid the price for it. Quite heavily in fact. I won’t deny that there seems to be a part-manufacturing defect that makes me want to procrastinate, but it’s an aspect that I’ve started working on and I believe it’s time to relinquish my crown and throne as ‘The King of Procrastination’ and give it to a more worthy person. It’s time I get to it; before it gets to me.

 


Blood may be thicker than water but pure water is an elixir like no other. In case you’re still reeling from the terrible metaphoric play on words, I’m talking about friends. Some of you may already know the fact that I am an only child. So I’ve always tried my best to appreciate every friendship that I’ve made over the years. Sometimes, even to the point of making the so-called friend uncomfortable. I’ve been through a lot of this past year, especially on the mental and physical health front, and I’m eternally grateful for the handful of friends who’ve stood by me. Even when perhaps I’ve not been there for them. I promise – I’ll do better.

 


2015 was a great year for me on many fronts. Particularly in terms of writing and recognition. The previous two years, not so much. And when that happens, you start to fall into a rut. You start questioning your abilities, the fact if you’ve really deserved those accolades and recognition – after all, we are only human. But this year, I’ve learnt to savour my achievements and wins. No matter how small or big. Because I’ve worked damn hard for them. Yes, some achievements are harder to take stock of, especially when they’re not always tangible and you don’t have an award or a certificate to show for it. But remember, let nobody take your wins away from you. Not even that little thing we all have called ‘self-doubt’.

 


Have you ever found yourself being flustered by the lack of time? I have. In fact, many times, this year. While I admit that a part of it was due to my ‘crown’ in point 11, a major chunk of the blame goes to that fact that I let time get the better of me, rather than me taking advantage of the time I had. From sleep to reading to even finding time to relax – I’ve been terribly disorganised this year. I am not under the false notion that I’m going to suddenly wake up in 2018 and be so organised that I may win the Monica Geller award for Organisational Skills (no, it doesn’t exist!) – but I will make better use of my time. And that includes some social media downtime too.

 


This year has had a rather steep uphill curve when it comes to parenting. Parenting is tough. But it’s also a choice. And it’s most definitely not a profession.Yes, it’s definitely had its pros, but I’ve reached a point where I’ve started to feel like parenting is being put on a pedestal. You heard it right – it shouldn’t be made to be thought of as something sacrificial. . Most of us who’ve decided to become parents chose to be one(exceptions are there, of course). And once that card is dealt, you play, you play it the best way you possibly can. I love my son to bits and will do everything in my power to make sure his needs are met. But that doesn’t mean that I’ll *always* sacrifice everything I love to do to just attend to his whims and fancies. No, I’m not judging anyone here.

 


It’s a fact that I’ve known for a while, but this year it sort of slapped me right across the face. I’m a serial hoarder. I have this reluctance to let go of objects sometimes. Okay, I use sometimes rather loosely – we discovered objects/ receipts and other things dating back to 1999 from a cupboard. And the ugly truth is that we’ve moved at least 6 houses in that time, and it’s travelled all along with me. I suspect a part of the reason is that I feel that I may need some of it at some point in the future and I don’t want to then look back at it and wonder, ‘Damn, I should have kept that!’. Which may also explain why I have a medium sized suitcase full of cables, wires and chargers. Including a couple of a Sony Ericsson phone, they stopped making almost 15 years ago. I think I need therapy.

 


Shit happens. Wash and move on. This perhaps aptly sums up my past two years. I know that on the surface it looks like I have everything going, but it’s not been a walk in the park. There was a point earlier this year that I actually contemplated running away before everything that could potentially go wrong, did. Of course, not many know about it – but it didn’t stop me from worrying about it, especially when a lot of them were things that I could not control. Eventually, I learnt to let go. Or rather, I’m learning to. The universe operates on the concept of balance. Not everything will always be hunky dory, or perpetually shit, but you sometimes have to go through the crap to become better.

 


 

 

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46 Comments

  1. Cheers for your learning curve! If it’s not testing you then it’s not changing you. I understand it’s easier said than done but I believe you are a little more stronger and a better person now than you were in the last year.

    I wish you all the luck and fortune for the year ahead.

  2. A promise to write more and read more books is something I promised myself too. It’s been shaping up well so far – let’s see how it fares once January is done with! 😀
    Nice post and a wonderful list Sid! It’s nice to read you again! 😀
    I do hope you have a fabulous 2018 ! 🙂

  3. This is such a beautiful introspective post. It speaks a lot about who are as a person-positive, sensitive, thoughtful, ever-growing. This was such an inspiring post. Yay to more fiction. All the best for an awesome 2018.

  4. More fiction? Yes, please! Procrastination – it’s a doozy, isn’t it? I was the Queen of Procrastination, complete with a diamond studded crown and a flowing red gown. Now, I’m the Princess of Procrastination with a diamond studded tiara. It’s a slow process, kicking the habit, but we can get there! Soon enough, I hope to have a diamond studded medal proclaiming me as the slayer of procrastination 😉

  5. Did you just say you are going to write more fiction !! (wiping tears of happiness) Better get started soon😀
    You sure had a roller coaster of a year. Loved the honesty in your post.
    I always thought of you as a photographer. The way you frame and shoot a scene is brilliant… I can imagine a story bubbling in those captures.
    I hope you have a fabulous year ahead… Sending you all the positive vibes from here… And some summer heat to 😊

    1. I did. Although, I haven’t yet started to write anything. But with the constant nudge from loving readers like you, I’ll be sure to do something.
      What a lovely compliment for the photos, Raji. Thank you!
      [You can give us some of the heat. It’s like 11degrees here]
      Sid recently put up this awesome post : 17 Reasons why . . .My Profile

  6. Well, some very pertinent lessons most of which are universal, I’d say. I really hope you can take away all this and make 2018 your year. I’m trying to take away the positives from 2017 and start 2018, well, positively, but tell you what, this first week hasn’t been good at all. I just hope it’s not an indication of the year ahead. I guess only time will tell. Till then I’ll just keep hoping for the best. 🙂

    1. I sincerely hope so too ,Naba. It’s good to reflect on the things that we’ve been through – helps lay the groundwork for the future.
      Sorry to hear that 2018 isn’t off to a flying start for you, but don’t lose hope.
      It’ll be great soon.
      Sid recently put up this awesome post : 17 Reasons why . . .My Profile

  7. Pohieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

    Looks like you and I pretty much had the same year except the fact that I read more books and you got more awards! 😀

    2018 is going to be awesome, I know it. For all of us. But then again, once we all are together we can kick anybody’s ass. A year is nothing!

    Here’s to more (healthy) food and more wine in 2018! Come back soon, we need to have that drink first!

    Love!

  8. Great (and personal) reflections for the year(s) gone by. I feel half the job toward course correction is through self awareness…and since you have ruminated much on that part already, your 2018 is bound to be stellar. Hope things are going well on the health and family front, too.
    All the best for the new year!

  9. I could relate to a lot of things in this post. The things about self love, friendships are very true even for me. I learnt a lot of things the hard way this year.
    And yes, I miss reading your stories too. Looking forward to read more stories in 2018.
    Wishing you an amazing 2018.

  10. Yes. Stories. Lots and lots of them. And your photography! I’m a fan of those pictures and those captions!
    Yes, it’s true not everything remains great all the time but difficult times when last a but longer than usual do take a toll on us! But hope, keeps us going isn’t it??
    Love this post from you, which also reminds me that it’s time to write mine as well. Wishing you a great year ahead 🙂

  11. Those are some lovely and heartfelt lessons Sid. The black dog sucks but there is light at the end of the tunnel. I do think mental health and physical health are interconnected and if we aim to look after both and aim to be healthy, we can try and find balance. It’s not an easy task by any means. I’m glad your photography is taking off…you need creativity to keep you sane! 🙂 I hope you write more in 2018 and that it is kind to you.

    1. Indeed. We just have to chug ahead, face that darkness and get to the light. I agree – the mental and physical aspects are definitely interlinked; Some form of creative outlet is important like you said. For our sanity.
      Good luck and all the best for 2018, Sanch
      Sid recently put up this awesome post : 17 Reasons why . . .My Profile

  12. Hi Sid

    I felt relieved. I am not alone. But, you gave the last warning to Get Set Go. Excellent introspective account of what 2017 meant to you! Yes, we are with you in your journey….Be my friend as well!!

  13. Oh, I so love this post from you, Sid. Maybe because I could relate so much to it. You need to write more, and also more stories. I may not have told you before, but yes, I miss your fiction. When I think of you, the first thing that comes to my mind is your stories and then the Daddy Journals. So it comes as a shock to me to know that you had decided to entirely omit them from this blog. Glad that we’ll get to read more in 2018. And Oh, don’t ever doubt yourself. Write more and you’ll see awards and accolades coming your way. All the best for 2018, Sid. Have a happy one! 🙂

    1. Good to see you here, Shalini, and glad that you could relate to it. Also, a special thank you for the Whatsapp message 🙂
      Yes, so many of you have been telling me to write more stories. I suppose it’s high time I do.
      Sid recently put up this awesome post : 17 Reasons why . . .My Profile

  14. Good to read an introspective post from you, Sid. I do hope that each lesson will help make things better for you. For me, the most important lesson for 2017 was that you have the key for your own happiness in your own hands. It may seem difficult and almost impossible at times but it is true. And I do hope that you will overcome all the challenges and come out on top. Here’s to a happy and fulfilling 2018. And good luck for the photography section on the blog.

    1. Hehe! Felt it was time that I do a personal one. I know you like reading them, as you have said so many times.
      Absolutely – the key to happiness is with us.
      Thank you for the support. Always.
      Sid recently put up this awesome post : 17 Reasons why . . .My Profile

  15. Sid, I agree I am guilty of so many points you mentioned, but all is not lost. I love your photographs and they are inspirational as I would love to take similar pictures. I like how you make mundane objects look so good and also tell a story.

    I was not aware of your personal issues, but then not seeing a lot of your posts, I felt maybe you are focussing on your writing. I think, the most important thing you discovered this year was point 15. Instead of treating parenting a sacrifice or a duty, it is a phase to be enjoyed. Soon, your son will be become less and less dependent on you. This will lead to more of point one which is of primary importance. If we are not happy with ourselves, we cannot make anyone else happy.

    But, bringing all these points out is also courageous on your part. Wish you a more Happy, Wholesome 2018.

    1. Thank you so much for those kind words of inspiration, Lata. I’ll be eternally grateful for that.
      I’ve been working hard on my photography and it’s always a happy jig moment when others notice is.

      I also glad that you relate to the parenting thing. Yes, it’s a choice and we made it. Now we do what we can 🙂
      Sid recently put up this awesome post : 17 Reasons why . . .My Profile

  16. We have seen each other go through so much this past year, that I cannot help to accept that most of these lessons I have learned too. Some more than others. The struggle with not writing, the struggle with Imposter’s Syndrome, The struggle with people and most importantly the struggle with our own selves and so much that I had not anticipated leaving me a little more battered, a little more broken but at the same time a little more stronger and hopeful for the new beginning.

    I guess we both are making this promise to write more often on the blog this time, write more fiction and just write more…Which is a good thing. I am sure all your readers have been missing you here as much as I have (Yes, I have been stalking and reading old posts…the things we do when you don’t write new ones). And Looking forward to your photography section.

    Here’s to 2018 and may we all achieve this year what we have set out to do.

    1. It’s been a rollercoaster of a year, hasn’t it? Oh, well. Onwards and upwards, Jai.
      I appreciate that the comments section of a post isn’t really the most ideal place to say this, but you really have a lot of potential; you just need to manage time a little bit better.And I say that as someone who sees what you go through.

      Good luck, and may 2018 be an awesome year for you.
      Sid recently put up this awesome post : 17 Reasons why . . .My Profile

  17. I was nodding along as I read this post, Sid! So much I can relate to. This year was not so great for me in terms of fiction writing too, I’ve had my moments of self doubt and procrastination and feeling lonely.
    Highs and lows are all a part of the game, with it comes the learning curve too. As you rightly said, universe operates on the concept of balance, on the concept of ebb and flow…we need to embrace and grow with it.
    Much love!
    Here’s wishing a fantastic 2018!

    1. I guess we’ve all had our ups and downs this year. We do feel lonely every now and then too – we just have to pick ourselves up and go on with it.
      Much love to you too – and all the best for 2018.
      Sid recently put up this awesome post : 17 Reasons why . . .My Profile

  18. This was such an honest and heartfelt post. It resonated with me completely. I also grapple with time management and procrastinate to bits. But, I am sure, 2018 will be super for you. Best wishes 🙂

  19. As I read this post, I couldn’t help but nod along to so many things you mentioned, Sid. The past two years have been weird (for lack of a better word) for me too. Part of it was procrastination, part of it was self-doubt, and getting plagued by the imposter syndrome, but even when I tried to get on top of things, it seemed that I just couldn’t catch a break, and get ahead. So I can relate (atleast in part).

    But I have realized the only thing to do is to let go of the negative influences, and keep on keeping on – the tide will turn, life is never one valley after other, possibly the uphill climb is just around the corner.

    Wishing you an absolutely rocking 2018.

    1. Weird seems like the right phrase to sum it all up. And imposter syndrome – well, we all have it.

      Absolutely – we need to let go of all toxic influences. It’s not easy, but hey, some things have just got to be done.
      Sid recently put up this awesome post : 17 Reasons why . . .My Profile

  20. Just back from vacation and so glad this was the first post I read 🙂 Nodding along with all the lessons. Be happy, more than anything else. I find that helps me. Plus my journaling and gratitude habit has helped significantly in the last few months alone.

    Good to head about the photography section on the blog! All the best.

    Here’s wishing you a lovely 2018, Sid. We all deserve a little more happiness than we give ourselves credit for.

  21. A wonderful list, Sid. Thanks for sharing and being so honest. I enjoyed reading it and appreciate your open and honest way of writing. I agree about photography and writing being connected and a way of creative expression. Since I joined a photography group in March, I’ve let the blogging slide. Hopefully I can do some more blogging in the new year as I miss it and all the great camaraderie of wonderful bloggers like you. All the best for 2018! We won’t be perfect but we can embrace the imperfection, laugh and learn from it and grow.

    1. Hey Cat! Good to see you here. And thank you for those kind words of support. Rightly said – as long as you’ve found an outlet for the creativity, it shouldn’t matter much if it is via words or pictures or both.
      On another note, good luck getting back to blogging. Here’s to a 2018 filled with life, photographs and lots of writing.

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