Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Fear of failure

All of December I agonized thinking of all possible cliches:
How time flies!
Is it December already?
Oh my God! It's the year end.
The new year is barely a month away!
Oh... Wasn't it just yesterday?

Well... I need not elaborate... You know the drill.
Eyes rolling upwards.
Head shaking from side to side.
Dramatically smasing fist on table.
As if that bit of melodrama might move the heavens to give you just a wee bit more time before the big date change!
13 months to a year perhaps?

And the reason for this agony?
Simple. The new year brings with it (yes, yes, revelry, celebrations, shots and hangovers apart) the terrible curse of New Year resolutions!

In Shakespearen times, they'd probably have the lady raise her hand delicately to her forehead and say dramatically (loudly across The Globe for those in the ha'penny seats to hear) "Alas! Woe is me!" and she would have then sunk gracefully down against the wall as her Romeo-equivalent came forward to comfort his lady love.

However these are modern times. No melodrama. No sinking on the floor (I don't think I'd be able to get up either, but I digress). In these times, you just kind of raise your chin, walk tall, ignore walls that you can lean against and think.And think hard.

New year is around the corner, honey. And you, yes, You, have to make your new year resolutions. Like now?

So there after all those time-related expressions, I retreat into a quiet corner a.k.a. My desk and try between calls and mails to think of suitable new year resolutions.

It's not difficult at all.

Even in December which is a good 11 months from January, it's easy to think back to probably the 3rd of January. Not difficult. Because that's when your resolution about not eating junk food disappeared. Well, it was just one Vada-Pav, maybe two!

And then remember January 9th? The friend's wedding? Oh come on, you can't not partake of the festivities. The bride does look sweet, doesn't she?

And you did last out till the 11th of January didn't you, before you took a wee little, really really small drink to celebrate a colleague's promotion? You wouldn't be seen as a damp squib, wet blanket, etc etc, whatever they call those party poopers these days, would you now?

So coming back to December. Blank paper. A fountain pen (Lamy) elegantly poised over the page and you're ready! You're so ready, you've even put numbers 1 to 10 down a straight left margin on the page.

This time you're going to write them down, frame them, announce them to the world, create a Mastermind group, or join Resolution-breakers Anonymous, if there is a group like that. Suddenly there is a whole lot of enthusiasm (the page is still blank, but never mind) and you know you're going to so stick to your resolutions.

Eat healthy.
No this, that and the other)
No junk food.
(An endless list)
Cut down on coffee.
No, no. Cut that resolution out!
Cut down on sweets
(Ha,so easy! And there are no wedding invites for Jan this year!)
Eat more vegetables.
(This IS getting easier and easier)
Work out before work.
(Ok... No, after work. If it's not too late. On the weekends at least? Got that one right. Phew.)
Read one book a week, a month perhaps.
Write. Blog. Tweet.
(Like everyday?)
Write more.
Watch less TV
(But don't miss on the good shows so you can write)
Write some more.
And then there those professional ones you don't share on a public forum.

With a flourish it's all done.
Ready to come out on a chilly January morning, when the first rays of the New Year Sun peep over the horizon.

But by 31st December, the ink has dried, the paper crumpled.
Those bullet points don't look so good anymore.
You agonize over some more changes.
Should you add one more?
Like... No road rage?
No sacking maids?
(Don't be a fool!)

And then you look at it again.
Isn't this list almost the same as the one you made the year before? And the year before that?
If you looked, you'd probably find the one you wrote out in 2005. (Okay, not with the same pen but...).

Now it's agony. You have to, simply have to, stick to this year's resolutions.
How will you do it?
How will you not break this year's resolutions?
New age psychologists would call it fear of failure.
But you're not listening to new age psychologists. You are listeining to your inner self!

And then that first ray of the New Year shines on you! And you have the answer.
Rip! Tear! Shred!
The best way to not break your resolutions?
Simply don't make them!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Year ending. Year beginning.

Amidst a shower of fireworks, the whole world comes together, and ushers in a brand new year with joy, hope and renewed vigour.

Sometimes I wonder why we can't greet each day like that. But we're human, and this level of ridiculous optimism drenched in several liters of alcohol, holiday revelry and festive times spent with friends and family is sure to ebb as the morn tide rises and one wends his way to work the first day of the year.

Days like this make me retreat into deep contemplation. Looking back at the year gone by. The highs the lows. The should-haves. The would-haves-if-I-could-haves. The oh-my-God! Do-you-remember moments. The only-if-I-had-knowns.

And I wander back into the past year.

Remember the good moments. The unexpected joys. The tears.

I remember the sudden loss of a dear one. The eulogies that followed. Then another. Leaving empty spaces but a house full of memories.
Somewhere they will be looking down on me today as I look back at them.

I remember the farewells. The never-can-say-goodbye goodbyes. The last longing look at the place you thought was your own. The tearful hugs. The lack of words that said so much. The no love lost feeling. The love that has prevailed. The love that was lost.

And you look back at new beginnings. A valiant attempt at sailing uncharted seas... That, when you don't quite know how to sail! Ridiculous optimism best describes it. But don't they say, if it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger? Well, I'm alive. Enough said.

And then you reflect on the milestones. The years. The numbers. The celebrations. The reunions.
The trials and tribulations of near and dear ones. Their losses were  your losses. Their gains your joy.

And you look back at your children's new milestones. The graduation. The awards. Accolades. Recognition. And you fluff up with pride because there is one little strain of your DNA that speaks through them and you take credit for the entire genealogy and claim territorial rights and walk six inches taller. Oh the joy!

And the sorrows. As you feel their pain and their disappointments. Real. And imaginary. But they are as much your own as theirs.

It's a wonderful day to get lost in the Walden of your memories and feelings. And listen to nostalgia. Nostalgia has no dates. You are not limited to only one year .A decade or two can be bridged with a nimble leap.as old songs stir strange memories in the forgotten recesses of your mind.

And then you keep slipping back and wonder what would you have done differently.

You don't have the answer.

And if there was an answer, it's in this year.

Happy 2012.