Sometimes Fast-Sometimes Slow

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I learned to rush post my student life. It was as if a race to survive. I could see rewards for being fast. My first competitive exam to qualify for admission into an engineering college taught me the same.

In my first job with a media company, I was asked to finalize a 5-year business model in 12 hours. I was awake the whole night trying to comprehend and meet my target to submit and defend the business model. I was returning from work the following day waiting for the next local train to take me home.

Seated on the bench, I was exhausted from the effort the previous night. I decided to call it ‘quits’ and prefer to further my career in academics where I had already gained some experience post my post graduation.

But this feeling did not last for more than a day. I had convinced myself that I had the intelligence and the only lacking was ‘speed’ factor. If I was fast, I could have finished the business model in 1/4th the time available, taken a full 9-hour sleep, re-evaluate the model prepared the previous night before standing in front of my boss and explaining him every aspect of the model.

This was sometime in 2004. Since then I ‘speed’ exploit me. ‘Speed’ gave me career growth, more money, business and a feeling of a performer. When I finished my part of work at office or home, I kept myself busy with work that was not mine. I was appreciated for being multi-talented. I was multi-tasking and as a result speeding even more.

In a decade or so, I acquired the habit to speak fast. I rushed drafting my emails and fire without proof-checking. The negative impact of ‘speed’ was becoming evident in my physical and mental health. I was usually anxious and breathless after climbing to the first floor to my residence.

My life underwent a transformation post year 2012. I decided to post regularly on my personal blog. I took up writing with a pen with compiling my thoughts for the day in a personal diary. Cycling became a preferred sport to spend time on weekends. Photography helped me to slow down. I spent hours walking and searching for a subject to click on streets.

‘Slowness’ was returning to my life. I, with the improved wisdom of the late thirties, learned to prioritize, focus on impact over action and decide the ‘speed’ for each activity I undertake. I can now choose to be slow or fast – Sometimes fast and sometimes slow.

My wife teases me, “You take much longer to dress-up.”

 

 

 

Having a Purpose – first anniversary

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“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” – Viktor Frankl

Last year, I sought a change of job- something new and different. I wrote several drafts of my resume. But every draft lacked attributes differentiating me from others. I was neither an alumnus of tier 1 institutes nor did I possess technical skills.

A quest for a differentiator, I focused on soft skills that I possessed. I wrote more than 20 pages about the companies I worked for, events and challenges faced; my understanding of the business models; criticisms for my actions and personal motivation to work. Finally, I found ‘purpose seeking’ as one attribute that defined my approach towards life and work.

Today, I celebrate the first anniversary of finding ‘purpose seeking’ as a guiding principle of my life. I vouch for actions adding meaning to my life and work. I am happy and motivated. I have lived purposeful 20 years but the first anniversary of knowing about it.

I want to…

Research suggests that socialization prolongs life. But I, despite realizing this have been moving away from socializing.

I want to change.

I want to be more carefree to express my feelings.

I want to love and care without a purpose.

I want to make every girl in my life to feel special.

I want to be careless in building relations but not loose any of those who know me and I know them.

I want to take away worries from all I know.

I want to make happy all I know.

I want to be selfless for all who I know.

I want to be sincere and truthful.

Free time activities

I started a fitness routine (regularly) by re-starting cycling back in June 2012. This was after a gap of 17 years. I had spent Rs 60K to own a Cannondale Cadd 8 series road bike.

Blogging has been another activity that I have been regular with. I write about my life, my feelings and experiences. I have been adding a few blogs (an average of 2 in a month) every year.

Some key Stats about my free time activities:

a. Covered a total distance of 10,460 km cycling, running and walking since June 2012.

b. Total of 85K plus words across 200 odd blogs since year 2010. I have not been able to retrieve the stats easily for blogs before the year 2010.

c. Views of my blog has not been more than 5K but I have had visitors from 195 countries

The charts below highlight and explain the story pretty well.

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Learning to be ‘Slow’

Few days back I realised that I was keeping myself busy. In my ‘free’ time I kept myself busy with my favourite pastimes- reading writing, photography and fitness. I was rushing into every activity in my pastime. I felt it was a spillover from the work environment in my office. Is it that I enjoy being busy? Is it that I had fallen in love with ‘speed’? I had no straight answers to any of these questions.

I digged deeper in trying to visualize my behavior when ‘free’. I learnt to watch television was not my favorite pastime, music seemed too loud to me and newspapers distractive. I wanted to do too many things together, but concurrently limit my engagement to productive activities only.

I may have fallen for ‘speed’ in life. Last Sunday, I recall having read a book by one of disciples of Swami Chinmayananda on mediation- how to calm our minds?

And the recent read, “In praise of Slowness” by Carl Honore majorly reconfirms the symptoms of ‘speed’. I will now learn to be ‘slow’ interspersed between days of hurried life.

Death! I lost my grandparents

“Death” is simply “end of life”. As I have grown older, I have been getting more accommodative about it. 

Thirty years back, I was a kid and could not even believe loosing my grandarents forever. Even a thought made me restless those years. I use to talk to God in those years and dare him to do so. 
I lost my grandfather 10 years back. I noticed that I was not even close to the extreme feelings I had as a kid. I visited him when he was unconscious lying in a hospital, breathing his last. I held his hand and called him, saying “its me” and he could just raise one of his eyebrow to acknowledge. He loved me a lot and I loved him too. He passed away a couple of days later and I did not return to attend his last rites. He is still alive in my memories. I still talk to him in my dreams talking to me the way he use to. 
My grand mother breathed her last on August 22 2017. She was well past her 100 years in this world. She had lost her appetite 10 days before she left us.
 She was visiting me in Chandigarh earlier this year. When I use to step-in to her room to touch her- as if trying to find the same motherly touch- she, at times, failed to recognise me. But when she did, she asked me a question that made me defensive and uncomfortable. Her question was, “Do you earn enough?” She said, “You have your parents and kids to look after.” 

Today, when she has suddenly (yet predictable) gone from our lives, I am in tears. I regret being assuring her ‘all is well’. But given her age, I could have only assured her. 
She said, “Grandson should attend the funeral of grandparents. And when I die, and it can be anytime, please do come.” My mother stepped in joking, “how will you know he is around?” My grandmother went mum. But her desires and expectations did not fade even when she visualised, she being dead and carried to funeral on shoulders of near and dear ones. 
My parents who are also past their sixties, at times, sounded exhausted with effort in caring for her. They also sounded emotional while sharing their versions of conversations with my grandmother. Some of it being like “how are we going to live without you?”
I was informed about her demise at 8 pm on Aug 22, 2017, after I returned home from “work”. I cried in washroom. I cried before my wife saying, “the pain is same irrespective of whether you weep for soemone young or old, for an unxepected and an expected death.” Why did I feel so sad when even my grandmother wished she lives no more? 
I have no answers. I am pained for her end. I am lost in making myself ‘prove’ at work. I am really lost, expecting any concession on being pained by the loss. I smile when at work. My colleagues can never know what I feel. They feel only for what they lose. 
That’s life. Learning for me continues….

When Am I breathing last here?

No Point – thinking about a few things in life

Most of the times my mind is thinking a lot many things, but not able to focus singly on one issue. I lost a few productive hours of my day. But I do not want to lose them henceforth.

I have been focusing on reviewing my cognitive thinking and finding it to be mostly following a historical path. No amount of reasoning and self-control is helping it take a more ‘rational’ approach. The thinking continues to be extensions of past experiences.  My concerns center around destiny, uncertainty, commitment, results from hard work, success as a ‘random event’ and death – ending life.

The best I can afford is ‘ignore’ when these concerns come to mind. I have fallen for them in the past. I have subjected my ‘heart’ to the same rut that my mind has been repeating. The ‘unlearning’ has failed till date until when I am tipsy.

Over the years, I have realized that there is no point in deliberating about few things. There is no point even talking about them.