Wednesday, December 31, 2014

And another year ends - Revisiting the 2014 List

It's time to look at the list of resolutions made for the year. My success rate has definitely gone down from the previous year and I know where my problems were. Nevertheless, I have taken on this task upon me and I need to stand by it. So, here's striking off the list -

Make a Daily Habit  - I must say I do keep up to it quite well, however, the past year saw me going through a Love-Hate relationship with books - I want to change the status to a simple 'Like' and want to set aside at 30 minutes to an hour a day to read. I want to make sure I don't have gaps and would like to read everyday.  Yes! I did it and no one can take this away from me now. I didn't stick to reading only novels which was the issue, Blogs, magazines, key articles, write ups, poetry and you name it, I am so pleased to have managed to keep some time aside everyday for reading.

Don't bank on the memory - Pick up the diary again. Don't write stories (as we know what happens after a couple of months), don't write only sad things (as we know we will never read them). Just pencil in a what happened that day and make a note if something nice or not so nice happened. Come on... that should not be so hard! Hmmm....This has been a Hit-or-Miss. There has been times when I did put in a note and times when I didn't, today I look back and realize that a lot of things sure happened this year but I don't quite remember. Will have to give this one a FAIL

Get out of the Comfort zone - I could rename this 'Conquer a Fear' - All this while I have either been driving people away from me or driving crazy those who stay. I want need to learn how to drive. Enough of laziness, enough of pushing things around, enough of escaping.  Need to learn how to drive - and this time in a correct methodical way. FAIL. FAIL.FAIL. All I have today is an application that I have completed for a provisional license. That does not give me any points to get close to striking this off 

Explore a Passion- Pick up the camera again and stop being (just) a smart phone photographer I can't completely say I have discovered my passion but Photography is something I have enjoyed doing. I want to take this up as a project and work towards it. The actual project may take another year or two, but I want to start my work on it. At the end of this year, I should at least have the content, a plan, research done. Yes. When I had every chance to be somewhere magnificent, somewhere special, somewhere memorable I had my camera with me and glad with some outcome. The project I took on is not complete, but has taken some shape

Be Good with Food - I don't think I eat a lot of unhealthy food but definitely want to keep a check at what's going inside my body and not go too crazy with junk food. One thing I consciously need to act on is not to waste food. I tend to cook too much and the rest is not used or I buy too many things and have to throw them as they have expired - Need to stop this.  I haven't been more happy with the type of food I have been buying, cooking and eating. There has been some waste but I can live with it. I will go for a green, but I know this shouldn't stop here. 

Change a tad bit of the lifestyle - Wake up Early - something I have 'NEVER' managed to do. The past year was the worst, I slept late, woke up late and ended up at work really late on so many days of the week. I would like to wake up nice and early and have some time to eat my breakfast and not skip it. 7am is the aim now.... would love to make it 6:30!  (Currently it's between 8:00 - 8:30am). I would definitely do a lie in every now and then, but I'd want the majority of the days to be an early start. Let's see! This will be hard. 
Oh dear! This did not happen. Though, I have not been too late at work, I can't say that I willingly wake up early on a day when I have nothing to do. 

Stay Connected -  I'll take the lesson from mom again 'You do your bit and don't expect the other to do the same for you'. I have realized that my happiness lies in being connected to the people I love - family & friends and I don't want to run into months of not staying in touch. I want to get through the year knowing that I stayed connected and not thinking that it's been 6 months and I don't have a clue. Yes. I can happily say that I did my bit. Though this year has taught me a lot about relationships, I don't want to spoil my mood, but I tried to keep in touch and I can say that with my hand on heart

(Try to) Give up something - I'm tempted to write no alcohol for 2 months again. But, I would say restrict - may be not have a drink every week. If I can skip a couple of weeks in every month I would think I've done well here. 
I want to add a second item - biting my nails :(  which has 'NEVER' happened until now.   Well... I cannot really say I consistently worked on the alcohol bit, but I was not too bad. But, I can say for sure that biting nails in any crisis (or the lack of it) is not an issue anymore. 

Need to stick to these: 

Stay Fit - Have enjoyed the gym from the past 3 months. I need to just keep at it and not quit. The Plan is to maintain the 3-times a week workout to stay the way I am if not better it. I have done some form of workout for 42 out of the 52 weeks this year which is not so bad I guess. Now, if you don't agree it's ok, but I'd like to see this as a success. 

Do something for someone- Volunteering has been good but the 10K run was good too. I want to do another 10K this year and enroll in at least 3 different volunteer activities. Did not manage a 10K but volunteered at Crisis. 

Do something you like-  Write, Click and Travel - as fancy as they may sound, I would like to do more of all this and in a way they can be interconnected. Write at least 3 blog posts per month. Write all travelogues till date and the on the new travels (hopefully) I take. Did not do any of this. The flow wasn't there and I did not push myself. 

Keep the Faith/Keep the Culture- Two Festivals to celebrate  -need to really work on this one.  I am pleased to say I did this. Being in India for Ganesh Chaturthi made it quite easy. But, I celebrated Diwali and atleast observed Ugadi and Dusshera this year. Very happy with this. 

Carrying Over from the Last Year:

Try something again- I want to grow plants and NOT kill them. My aim is to maintain atleast 5 pot plants which I hope will nourish under my care. Yes. Yes. Yes. Oh Boy! Am I happy with the result. 2 of my 8 plants died but I have constantly had lush green pot plants and 2 full flowering cycles. 

Better planning - this is a wide topic. To start with its planning holidays, planning for activities during the  weekend,  planning my time when I go home - If someone asks me what I did when I last visited home, I dont have much to say - I want to change that. 
Need to work at this one. I am quite ashamed to say anything more about my planning which has been chaotic, mad, frustrating (not just me but the people around) and a failure. 

That's 9/14 - just about fair but I know I could have done better. 

What can I say, it's not looking that good but hey! another year beckons and gives a chance to pick it up again....though I must admit that for once I am strongly feeling that I should not bank on the 1st of January to give me the push. Hopefully a few years from now, I don't need to make a list like this and all the goodness comes to me with no real push. Lets see....It's been an OK year, hoping for the next to be better. Happy New Year folks! 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas Day Walk

Christmas day in London is one of the quietest days, well, for the likes of us who don't celebrate. The husband has been taking on work the last two weeks of December every year which makes me plan a bit more about what I can do with myself. 

I find it odd when people wish us Happy Holidays as this is the time of the year when we both are very busy in our own ways - he with his long 14hr days of work and I trying to get the year's quota of getting through a 100 things I had in mind. 

Working at the charity during Christmas in the past few years has to be one of the best things I could have done with this spare time I have and this year too I decided to do a few days at Crisis

I picked Christmas day this year as I knew HE is at work and I will otherwise end up watching a lot of television or browsing way too much and eating more than I should.  The catch at picking Christmas day was that as there is no public transport and I STILL don't drive, the only option was to walk back home or hire a cab and I decided to do the former.

A 4km-odd walk on any other day would mean nothing to me, but this day it was going to be interesting. No buses, no shops, restaurants open, everyone either tucked away in their cozy homes or away from London visiting families things had to be different on the streets - funny to think that the 7 years I have lived here I had never stepped out of the house (if I was here) on Christmas Day! (I can still hear my Dad-in-law going there is no point in getting out, no one will be out, nothing will be open and you know the flow)

I walked back after finishing another satisfied day at Crisis. The first sight of a convenience store being open caught me happy. I got my share of snacks almost thanking God...what if the road ahead was hard! I was pleasantly surprised to see the bespoke restaurants open and pretty full. The traffic on the streets too was not that low. The best thing I noticed was other fellow walkers - it was not the usual hurried pace, the rush and push to get to the destination. You could actually see people notice things , stop and have a look and actually observe other people on the streets too. A very un-Londonlike behavior. 

People seemed to enjoy their walks holding hands, giving cuddles and some perhaps were trying to offload a bit of the turkey meal they might have had that afternoon. Passers by smiled at each other and walked on. The Christmas lights, the decorated trees stood still- it was all put up for this big day and yet, they stand alone, all by themselves with no sense of celebration around them. It was great to NOT see the city lights and instead a dark sky with a bright moon. It was surreal not to hear the traffic or avoid the glares of harsh headlights of thousands of  vehicles which claim the streets. I am a believer that walks can only do  good to us and a walk in one of the most beautiful cities on a day when we can say 'London is closed for Business' is mesmerizing.

I would definitely relate to this picture on a Christmas day and yes! when London does not work, it gives you an opportunity for one of the best days to walk around. 

The Rush

No, I am not talking about the movie 'Rush' which by the way I love. If you haven't watched it do so - it's brilliant, it's inspiring, it's sportsmanship at it's best. 

.....It was the end of November and I looked into the list of resolutions I made for 2014 in total panic. A month left and I have not been very good this year in keeping up the expectations I set for myself. I started with a total frenzy in order to get things moving with the list - bottom down, what are the easiest ones, which ones can I still save and what will have to move into the next year. 

A few days into December not much had changed but for the tone I have set for myself this year, total laziness, getting occupied with one thing and losing the bigger picture and most importantly a serial procrastinator that I have become. If I can say anything was consistent this year it was the habit of putting things off - shamelessly, irresponsibly and sometimes (I need to admit) intentionally.

I picked up 3 of the 8 unfinished books and looked forward to relax into it by reading it on my days off just to stand here today with another book added to the unfinished group, those which I started reading and dropped mid-way only to say that they were not interesting enough.  Yes! 9 is the number of unread books today. 

I have at least a dozen lists of various things left at different places at home and in the office - the list of things I need to prioritize and get through. Well, looks like I am getting better at making lists and not striking them off.  I have unfinished business cluttered all around me and I seem to be oblivious of it all. 

There was one thing I could rescue in my list - a plan to connect to family during a festival by sending hand written notes. I had planned that for Diwali and God knows when that came and went. So, New Year's was my time to get this sorted and I totally went all for it - so much that I ended up writing 2015 as the date on a few cards and only realized it after sealing the envelope. Well! I'm sure those who have that card and open it would have a chuckle and think of how me as a right idiot.

In all the madness I feel within me, the one thing I am genuinely trying hard at is to relax, have a sense of calm which was with me for a good part of this year but seem to have disappeared. 

Trying to calm the beast within me, now, 2 days left in the year and I know I cannot do much, but to hope for a another beginning, another good day, a better plan and no rush. 
And while I am attempting to relax I still think that 'Pankh Hote tho ud aati re' is the best tune on the flute and I am happily listening to this as I finish another lot of incomplete notes from my lil diary.