2 years and 2014’s resolutions

Dear Readers,

 Yesterday I completed 2 years of my blog. I had no idea about it except that I had a feeling that it should be somewhere around the second week of January. I opened the blog today to find out that wordpress.com had sent me notification 20 hours (from when I first started writing this) before about the event and I missed it. But no matter how irregular I’m on this blog I am always up for posting something on the anniversary, so I thought about posting the resolutions that I have made this year.

 New Year’s Resolutions (2014):

 Be happy (actively). Last year I found myself being depressed and lonely too often. And while there were reasons for being that, I found that many times I was just bored or alone and I was talking myself into being depressed – “I’m so lonely.. / I’m a failure.. / I don’t have any motivation for work..” and so on and forth. I have decided that I will not do that anymore. I will monitor my thoughts whenever I am sad and actively filter out these negative emotions from my system.

 Do things that make you happy and do them often, although at first you might hate doing them alone. Well there’s no doubt about the fact that the only way to be actively happy is to do things that make you happy. I realized not too long ago that if I am in a place (a coffee shop, a book store, a thrift store, a bar / lounge or a library) that I am really enjoying, I start to feel that I would enjoy it more if so and so were with me at that moment. And I was thinking that irrespective of if those people would actually enjoy something like that. And I hate to admit it but I have done that even when I am not alone. Like I’m at my favorite coffee shop with one of my friends and while sitting there talking to him I am wondering why do I never come to this place with this other girl, this looks like a place that she may really enjoy. And at a later time when I have asked the other person I was thinking about if they would like to go to the same place with me, most often they come up with ‘No, I don’t really like that place…” / “That is not really my kind of place…” or something in the same lines. Thus, I found out that I am not really enjoying the moment when I am there because I’m thinking about the future, I am never present in my present! So I have decided to dwell in the present rather than focusing on the future happiness. To do things that I enjoy even if I don’t have company or with the company I have right at that moment. And even if there is no one I find to do a certain thing I want to do, to enjoy and accept the aloneness and revel in my uniqueness.

 The next one follows from the last one – To be present in my present. I’m always multitasking. There’s not a moment in my life where I am not. And I’m not doing that efficiently. When I was a child I remember I used to need very quiet when I was studying. But as I grew up I need something more – a song, a podcast, an interview plugged into my ears. When I am studying, writing code, writing an email, blogging anything and everything. Sometimes I read novels while listening to music. It’s crazy. I really need to stop doing that. I finished reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love yesterday and that book had an immense influence on me (Don’t go by all the negative reviews up there, I’ve been through some of the things that she has been through and I could totally identify with most of the book. More than anything when she talks about loving thyself, it’s inspiring). Unlike her I have never been a religious person ever, but I think I am going to start meditating soon and be consciously in my present state.

 Learn the things that you always wanted to learn, even if it’s very hard and takes a lot of effort. My book shelves are stacked with foreign language books that I always wanted to learn, programming language books that I really want to and need to learn. I always find myself going on the same rut – trying to brush up the skills that I already know I’m good at. I’m a little scared to venture out into the unknown, of putting much effort and not coming out a winner, of having to waste my time and not gaining anything fruitful from it. But unless I try I will never know. So this year I will really focus on self-improvement. And yes, I got myself a guitar for Christmas, yay!

 The next one has always been on my new year’s resolution list forever but I have never been able to deal with it successfully Don’t Procrastinate! I keep telling myself that it is easier to first do the things first that you know you have to do than waiting to do them later while filling up time doing the things you like. So do them first. It makes more sense, since I do not enjoy doing them I will try to do them faster thereby finishing them sooner, leaving me with more time to do the thing I enjoy. But I have not been able to over come this giant yet. May be this year I will.

 Say things you want to say explicitly because otherwise people do not have any other way to understand you better. I am guilty, I often assume that my friends and family, who are close to me, know me well and understand how I feel or what I want and that they would automatically do them for me without me having to ask for it. When they don’t do as I had expected I generally become upset, and they have no idea why. I found this out during my recent trip to New York city and a person very dear to pointed this out. I’m definitely going to work on it this year. 

 Learn to say no. I have been struggling with this for a long time. I keep making To Do lists in the morning, or in the afternoon, depending upon when I am feeling more productive, and I will keep adding items to it even when I am sure I will not be able to complete all of them. If I have a really busy schedule and cannot accommodate all the plans I always tend to say no to my work than say no to go to a coffee, or a dinner or a sudden friend in need. I think I am often the pushover – when my friends ask me which place I want to go to eat I often say just pick anywhere you would like to eat at, if I am sharing the food with someone I often go with what looks okay to both rather than pushing for the one I want to try. And when these don’t get reciprocated back I become upset, inside. And since I am not good at expressing emotions I sulk inside. And from here I take off to my final resolution which is ….

 Be open about your feelings. Say the things you want to. It’s okay to have an opinion. If you don’t voice your opinions, may be you are trying to be polite or trying not to be rude or insensitive to others. While those may be okay, but many people see that as non-participation. Here I can tell you about one of my recent experiences –  recently one of my lab mates was going to present in a conference. So we decided that he will do one mock presentation during one of the regular meeting time. We would try to come up with as many questions as we can and that way he will know what kind of questions to anticipate at the conference. During the presentation everyone was stopping him and asking him really hard questions. They were not only technical but people were pointing out small typos and even structural and aesthetic arrangement of the slides. I decided that this was may be too harsh a criticism and decided to stay quiet. I was myself going through a little bit personal upheaval that day and decided it was best not to create any more chaos in the world. After the presentation was over, I was talking with my labmate, the presenter, and he asked me why I did not have any suggestions for his slides. It was then it occurred to me that while I was trying to help him by not critiquing him during the presentation, he might have interpreted it as that I was not interested in his work and not trying to help him make a better presentation.

 Lastly, I want to thank all the reader who have made it to the end of this blog and who come back to my page to read my blogs or check out the photos I post time and again. I love writing (though I wish I would get more time for that) but if it was not for you guys then there would be no reason for me to maintain this blog anymore. My wish is that I will become a better blogger in 2014 and will have more meaningful content in my page.  Thank you so much for being so supportive and so encouraging. Love you all. 

Keep Rocking!
Sreeja