In The Race Of Life, which medal do you want? πŸ₯‡πŸ₯ˆπŸ₯‰

As most of you must be aware, Tokyo Olympics 2020 just came to an end recently followed by the Paralympics, where the best athletes from all around the globe competed to win the much coveted medals and make their countrymen proud of their heroic efforts and achievements.

When I was a kid, I loved watching the Olympics. So many different events. So many people from all over the world competing. To this day, I am quite an avid follower (although I am hardly a sportsperson myself. Maybe I would be, if being a couch potato was a sport πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚). I may not have the time to watch all of it anymore, but I do check the highlights every day. It’s not just the competition that appeals to my heart. Its always been the burning fire in their eyes, the passion to bring all their years of hardwork and dedication to fruition and also some exemplary acts of sportsmanship, friendship and respect for each other. Any form of sports can really teach us a lot about all such virtues which we can learn from and try to inculcate in our own lives, even off the field.

I particularly like reading about the winners and their journey. The many obstacles and hurdles most of them have managed to overcome to come and compete on this global level. Whether it’s physical disabilities, poverty, discrimination, exploitation, racial and gender biases, each one have their own struggles and their own journeys, each of which is absolutely inspirational and really admirable.

During one such reading spree, I came across a very interesting article about a rather bizarre sight quite often seen in the Olympics as well as in other sporting events. It’s called something like ‘Sad Silver Face’ or ‘Sad Silver Syndrome’

In the various pictures taken of the medal winners, it was seen that the Gold and Bronze winners had the brightest smiles while the Silver winners are often seen sulking, brooding or frowning. They have a look of disdain, disappointment, dejection or even anger in some cases. Isn’t it wierd that this person is being awarded the 2nd best position in his/her game and yet somehow they’re not happy or satisfied? And right next to them, is another person, who has achieved lesser (bronze winners) but is still so much happier.

This is because the Silver medalist actually Lost the match to the Gold medal winner. That’s why they look so disappointed. Because in their minds, they keep going over their own mistakes, analysing where they went wrong. They keep wondering how different and wonderful things would be, if the game had ended in their favour. If only they had not made that tiny mistake, if only the opponent had conceded a point. This constant comparison with the one who fared better, really depletes any joy of their own victory. They are so preoccupied with the what ifs, that often times, they don’t value the precious and historic moment that they have actually created for themselves. And hence the ‘Sad Silver Faces’. πŸ₯ˆπŸ˜©πŸ˜–πŸ˜ŸπŸ˜‘😭

Examples of Sad Silver Face

On the other hand, there are the Bronze medal winners. They achieve a spot on the pedestal by WINNING against their opponent. Unlike the top 2, securing a medal is not guaranteed for them. It’s either a medal or no medal. Either they get to kiss a medal and secure their place in the history of the sports or they go home empty handed with so much regret and disappointment. So when they defeat their opponents to secure the Bronze medal, their happiness understandably knows no bounds. And that’s why they are often seen to be smiling from ear to ear, celebrating and enjoying every moment of it. πŸ₯‰πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜„πŸ₯³πŸŽ‰

Happy faces of the Bronze winners

I guess we can also relate this to our own lives. Its all a matter of perspective. Just like the silver medal winners, most of us are so busy looking and comparing to those that have more than us, that we forget how far we ourselves have come, how much we have achieved. We forget to appreciate what we have and be thankful for all the good in our lives. Constant comparison with someone who has more or has it better, only diminishes the quality of our lives. It takes away from our own accomplishments, contentment, happiness and peace of mind. For the few wise ones who adopt the bronze winner mindset, they will definitely be happier, be more in the moment, savour every minute and celebrate every little accomplishments along the way. Be thankful that at least they came this far.

Look at the dazzling smiles on the Gold and Bronze winners and the disappointed look of the Silver medal winner.

So, in this race called LIFE, which medal winner do you wanna be? Do tell in the comments. πŸ’–πŸ’–

Are you Drifting or are you Driven??

This is precisely the thought on my mind of late. Being stuck at home and waking up every day to do the same thing I did yesterday, I think I have been sucked into the monotony of life. And trust me, I ain’t complaining. I love monotony. It’s predictable, it’s boring and boring is comforting. I know only too well that It doesn’t take much for things to go awry. One phone call, one visit to the doctor, one mishap and life can turn upside down and chaos can set in. And I don’t function well in chaos. I don’t like chaos. God knows I have had more than enough of it in my lifetime.

For the past 2 years, I have led my life in a pretty routine manner. Wake up, office work, household chores, use whatever free time is left to attend to my little garden, binge watch, read, paint, walk or exercise on some days. And the same thing next day.

I take each day as it comes and truly try to live in the present and give my best in the present moment, without much (or any) thought or plans for the future. But is that really enough? I thought so, but seems like people around me disagree. It started with a discussion with the husband when he told me that it’s not enough. That I must try to broaden my horizons. That everyone needs to have a vision of where they see themselves in a few years and then work on a plan to get there. Smarty pants gave me a full blown lecture on the importance to plan for the road ahead. And I do know it comes from a place of concern and good intentions, but this is sort of a sensitive topic for me, so everytime we have such a discussion, I act out, get defensive and the discussion turns into a spat!! πŸ˜΅πŸ˜–

The thing is, I have had some bitter experience in the past related to dreaming big wonderful things. Whenever I have dreamt of doing something for myself, planned for something, wanted something so bad, life’s evil tricks have landed all such plans and aspirations flat on their face and shattered all the dreams. Like one time, I got into one of the best MBA colleges. My undergrads college experience was quite dull and boring so, I had gone there with the determination to make this count. I wanted this post-grad experience to be epic. To party hard, study hard and excel. And I did. For a few months. Until a blood clot landed up in my lungs and I ended up in the ICU!! I lost out on a year. I could have gone back. I could have finished. But I just ended up going back to work and never completed my post grads. And this is neither the worst thing to have happened nor the only time. Such things have happened again and again. Everytime I pick myself up, something new and worse knocks me right down.

So, I have made peace with the fact that planning and dreaming is probably not for me. I strive to live wholeheartedly in the present moment and make the most of it. After all, even the worst of obstacles can’t shatter a dream you haven’t dreamt or kill the hopes you haven’t built. Just going with the flow, each day at a time. Just drifting. You could say it’s my defence mechanism, my safety net. My make-believe-cocoon-of-happiness.

However the recent spat with the husband continued to bother me. Not because we fought and said things. We did reconcile the next day. But I kept wondering, is he right (can you imagine how hard it must be for a wife to admit thatπŸ˜›)? Does he have a valid point?πŸ€” Whenever, I have such existential crisis questions bothering me, I resort to some advice from my bestie. Whenever in crisis or self doubt, she’s my go to person. My free therapist!! She lives in another country, she’s awfully busy but she understands when I NEED to talk to her. And this time our chat was immensely uplifting and an eye opener of sorts for me. And this is what she had to say.

She asked me the same thing that is the title of my blog..‘ Do you want to drift or do you want to be driven?. If you drift along, go with the flow, with no certain plans, no direction, no aspirations, no expectations, then you will probably lead a comfortable but mediocre life. Wishes will remain unfulfilled, desires will remain dormant, achievements few and sense of accomplishment even less. Years later when you look back at your life, you will probably realize it wasn’t the best version of the life you hoped for, with many unfulfilled dreams, many items not checked from your bucket list. And then you might wish you had taken a different approach. That, despite circumstances, you had taken the reins of your life in your own hand. Been the one riding the car of your life rather than being in the passenger seat and see life just whisk past you. But then it will probably be too late and all you will have is just regret. Regret for not doing more, not doing better for yourself. Instead, now if you decide that you don’t want to just drift from one day to the next but instead be driven, by taking control of your life and deciding on a direction, a path and work towards it, then irrespective of how things turn out (and by that I mean Fate being a total b**ch and F-ing up things), you will atleast have the satisfaction that you tried. You tried to make a difference, you tried to make your life more fulfilled, more meaningful. Even if things don’t work out as you planned, You can accept things without regret. And that will also give you some much needed peace and satisfaction.

Needless to say, her words really left an indelible impression on me. And yes, it’s given me some courage to atleast think about things. What I want, who I want to be down the line. And after many many years, I am atleast giving it some thought. That itself is a big step in the right direction for me.

And this is the exact reason I am sharing this here. So that , if any of you reading this, find yourself in a similar predicament where you’re afraid to dream, to hope, to aspire, that reading this may give you some food for thought and propel you to think about not just drifting along, not just surviving from day to day, but actually driving your life in the direction that your heart desires. Would love to hear to hear your thoughts on this. Remember, we are all in this together. ❀️❀️

Continuing My Quest for some new ‘TALENTS’😊

So about 6 months ago, when we had just about stepped into 2020, I had written a post (read My Quest for a new β€˜Talent’) basically elaborating on the lack of any special skills or talents that I can brag about or post on social media to make my ‘social media friends’ go awww in awe of my talents and also be a source of joy to myself in the process. So I set out on a quest to look through every nook and corner of YouTube, Instagram to see if it would give me new ideas that I could pursue in this quest for finding me a ‘talent’. A few such activities/ideas did make it to my coveted ‘Talents to be tried’ list…some worked out, some not quite … thought it will be fun to share it with you all.

Wait, is that πŸ‘†πŸ‘† me? Well, I will let you be the judge of that…let’s get started πŸ˜€

1. Paint by numbers : πŸ‘ŽπŸ»

When I came across this, I was blown away..I always thought painting was fun but it’s been years since I have held a painting brush in my hand. So the idea of numbers guiding through was so encouraging. I mean it had 2 favourite things of mine..numbers and paints. It could never go wrong. As the Amazon package arrived, I looked at it and immediately made plans to hang the ‘masterpiece’ in the living room to soak up praises from anyone visiting. 😎

However, it’s only when I started, I realized it was no mean feat. The canvas was quite big and the numbers minuscule. It was a test of my patience and my eye sight. But I didn’t give up. For the next few days, every night I was hard at work. And I did make some progress. But the end was nowhere in sight. After more than a month of such perseverance, I realized I wasn’t even halfway through. My enthusiasm and patience was weaning off. My husband saying, ‘hey I can’t figure out what the hell you’ve been trying to draw for the past few weeks’ was the last straw…it’s still lying there waiting to be finished. Maybe one day I will pick up from where I left it and finish it. Maybe once it’s finished, it will really look good. Honestly, it’s a great idea. If you are really really patient, this is perfect for you. For me, I ran out of patience and this talent didn’t quite work out. πŸ˜”

Here I started 😁
Here I halted πŸ˜”

2. Gardening: πŸ‘πŸ»

Well, I know this is more of a hobby than a talent. But it’s something I have picked up pretty recently so I thought it deserves a mention. Now if you do read my blog regularly or even scroll through some of my recent blogs (My Mini Garden Tales, Spring for my Soul πŸŒ»πŸŒΌπŸ¦‹πŸŒΊ), you will know that I have totally fallen in love with gardening. Every morning, that’s the first place I go to. To see if seeds have sprouted or there are new flowers blooming or some plant needs some pruning. I make a mental list of the things to do in the mini garden later in the day. It’s tedious and time consuming but hell, I love it!! So yayy. thumbs up alright 🌼🌻🌺🌹

3. Bottle Painting: πŸ‘πŸ»

I have to say, this has to be the best thing I stumbled upon on YouTube. There are some amazing channels on YouTube with detailed tutorial videos on painting bottles and decorating them with different things. I am as addicted to watching these videos as I am into trying them all out..so far, I have tried my hand at mandala art, glass paint, tissues, lentils, pista covers, Charred paper and currently clay…all on glass bottles..it’s so engrossing and creatively very satisfying.

Some of the bottle art projects πŸΎπŸ‘©β€πŸŽ¨

And once done, they make way to my work desk where they are displayed in all their glory and just looking at them makes me happy. At this rate, I fear I have to get a bigger table just to fit them all. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Earlier, I would get Amazon packages regularly with new clothes, tops and dresses. These days, it’s all about my art supplies. Colors, brushes, varnish, glue, clay etc etc. In fact at the back of my mind, I am always thinking of my next project, what to do and how to do it. So this one definitely gets a big thumbs up πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ˜€πŸ’Ÿ

Here’s how I put them bottles to some use to decorate my space. πŸ˜€πŸŒΌ

4. Good ol’ painting: πŸ‘πŸ»

Since I already had all the colors and brushes for bottle painting, I thought, why not try the traditional water painting. Honestly, I am NOT a great painter. I can draw sceneries but I CANNOT draw human figures, I just don’t get the dimensions right and they end up looking more like hobbits. 🀷Yet, it feels so great to draw and paint in a coloring book. Reminds me of my childhood. I haven’t done much although. Definitely hope to do more of it in the coming days. But that’s a thumbs up too πŸ‘πŸ»πŸŽ¨

Just these 2 so far

Infact I have been using up all the paints to paint whatever I can find, mugs, cardboard boxes…Its just fun playing around with colors and giving them a makeover. πŸ’ŸπŸ’ŸπŸ˜€

Apart from all these, I am always looking for new DIY projects that aren’t too complicated and will be fun thing to do. I have made a list of few more things like wall decor items, making artificial flowers out of waste materials. We’ll see how that goes.

But what I have realised in the past few months is that we are never too old to try something new. We just have to take the initiative and jump right in…maybe the first time, it won’t be that good or not any good at all, but who cares. As long as we have fun and enjoy ourselves, thats all that really matters.

So if there’s something that you have always wanted to try out, but couldn’t , for whatever reason, now’s as good a time as any. Give it a go. Am sure you will enjoy yourself. Do tell in the comments. πŸ˜€βœŒοΈ

Live in the present

She finally had a party to attend,
Excitedly She got dressed,
She put on her new dress and her favourite lipstick,
She remembered their old party days and did not want the fun times to end.

She was excited to meet her friends after so long,
Eagerly looking forward to the drinks and the endless banter,
The usual party shenanigans,
To enjoy the karaoke and to sing along.

But this time it was somehow different,
After all, they had ‘grown up’,
Vodka shots made way for wine,
Frivolous chatter made way for serious arguments.

Earlier they used to worry about paying rent,
Now they were discussing real estate and investment.
Earlier they were always in the party mood,
Now all they could talk about was house, car, politics, diapers and baby-food.

They were all busy making plans for the future,
As if things always go as per plan.
Little did they know, in a flash, it could all go for a toss.
And all they would be left with, would be debris of broken dreams and a nagging feeling of loss.

But she was different, life had made her wise,
So while her friends were busy planning,
She made a mental note of the one thing her heart was craving at that moment,
Turns out, it was ice cream- her favourite vice.

So she excused herself and left the party,
And went straight for the ice-cream that made her happy,
For she really knew what it meant,
To savour each moment and to fully enjoy living in the present.

Word.

Introvert or Extrovert?? πŸ€”

Unless you’re living under a rock, am sure you all must be well acquainted with Facebook and the many varied quizzes that come up in your feed…what’s your spirit animal, which character of game of thrones are you, are you a hills or beach person, which character from Friends sitcom do you resemble the most, how good is your grammar, which celebrity will be your ideal partner (please let it be Ryan Gosling😍)… etc etc…I have done and enough and more of such stupid quizzes in the past for some time pass and these days I am done with them and skip right through them…after all they are just frivolous and hardly make sense. However last night, I came across a quiz ‘Are you an introvert or Extrovert?’ that piqued my interest and I decided to give it a go.

But this time I was in for a surprise. Each question was on the lines of ‘would you rather do this or that’, ‘do you prefer this over that’. And the options given were such that I just couldn’t make up my mind. And that’s wierd right..coz you are either this or that…you are either a very bubbly, talkative person who is a delightful social presence or just the idea of meeting so many people makes you feel sick in the stomach and you would rather just curl up in a blanket with a good book and a steaming cuppa coffee. But when I looked at the given options, I was like ‘damn I wanna do all those things, which one do I select??’ πŸ€”πŸ€”

It might sound funny, but for a few minutes, these questions baffled me so much and made me scratch my head and almost gave me an existential crisis…that if I couldn’t answer such a basic question about myself, of whether I am an introvert or Extrovert, then how do I answer the more serious questions like Who am I? What Am I? πŸ˜–πŸ˜£πŸ˜³πŸ˜¨

Because the thing is, that as an outsider, if you meet me you will definitely consider me an extrovert. And rightly so. I love talking. And like to engage in conversation. Which is why it sometimes infuriates me when 100 words out of me just invokes a ‘hmm’ or an ‘OK’ from my husband 🀬😣. It just kills my vibe and makes me scowl and fume. Anyways, coming back to the topic, whether it borders on office gossip or some family scandal or just any random discussion on politics, weather, life in general, I am always ready to chip in with my words of wisdom πŸ˜‡. And it really doesn’t matter if I know you from kindergarten or we just met 2 minutes ago…I am equally at ease (unless you’re some hottie trying to hit on my husband…then you get my scowl rather than my dazzling smile πŸ™„πŸ€¨πŸ˜•). I so look forward to the occasional nightouts with us pub hopping, dancing away till the wee hours (I am talking about pre covid times here). Now all these things are textbook definition of an extrovert, and that’s what I always considered myself to be.

However, there is also a less publicised side of me, that’s quieter, loves the solitude, spending time with just myself without talking to anyone, having important conversations in my head about the significant as well as the trivial. Soaking up the quietness, the peace and tranquility. Ideally, that’s what early mornings feel like (so am told, I have no idea πŸ˜›), but for me it’s the silence of the night when it’s past everyone’s bedtime. That’s my time to thrive. To read, to blog, to make imaginary travel plans, to think about life, career, family, Friends, myself. To reflect on the past, think of the present and contemplate the future. Sometimes, even during the day, I might be in such a mood where I would happily pass off an offer to check out the latest pub or cafe as I don’t feel like bantering away. And prefer a day out just with myself. Lazing around. Listening to my favourite songs. Just enjoying my own company to recharge and rejuvenate. Now isn’t that textbook definition of an introvert? πŸ€”πŸ€”

Hence, you can get an idea of the confusion in my mind when I had to pick between options like would you rather go on a vacation with friends (oh! Yes please) or spend a few days lazing around at home doing whatever the hell you want (this one sounds tempting too)…both choices I would pick happily but which one to select?

So my question is this? Are we strictly either an extrovert or an extrovert? Is a middle ground possible in this case? That one day I am an extrovert and an introvert on the other depending on my current mood? Isn’t branding myself to be one be an insult to the other , which is also as much a part of my personality?

So I resort to everyone’s favourite agony aunt- Google of course!! And I came to know this very reassuring fact.

So seems am not a wierdo and THERE IS a term that aptly describes my personality type…AMBIVERT.

Yayyyyyy πŸ’ƒπŸ’ƒ.

But Wouldn’t it be wonderful if these stupid quizzes weren’t so stupid and actually gave us a clearer picture like you are x% extrovert and y% introvert and avoided such confusion that makes me scratch my head at 3 AM? Is that too much to ask from a mere algorithm that’s basically just interested in footfall to count how many people opt to take the quiz, nevermind the authenticity of the results? Well, enough thought, enough said, enough done. I am not going to spend my precious time being caught up in this dilemma any longer. To these quizzes I say, ‘first you be more thorough in your analysis, be more accurate in your results, then you can expect me to take part in your quiz’. Until then, I will refrain from branding myself as either. Rather I will embrace both sides with equal joy. πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ’•πŸ’•

In the pursuit of SELF LOVE!!

A few weeks back I was watching Sex And The City…and saw the scene where Samantha breaks up with her hot bf saying this:

I love you but I love me more. ~ Samantha Jones, Sex and the city.

So I have seen this before (yes coz am one of those who keeps watching things again and again) but suddenly this time it hit home. And it really got me thinking…We all love a lot of things or a lot of people….we love our parents, siblings,friends, Boyfriends, girlfriends,we love our homes,plants and on and on….but we often forget to love the most important person in our lives….ourselves.

If something in life doesn’t go as planned, we are always the first to blame ourselves. Why did I do this? What’s wrong with me? Why does this always happen to me? It must have been my fault. You get the thought process right? But when something goes right, we tend to give credit to everyone and everything but ourselves. We say things like ‘oh I just got lucky’ or ‘oh that other person really made it happen’…but we hardly ever say..even to ourselves…yes man you did it. You worked at it and you got it going..well done you. Am I right or wrong? But why is that?

Is it a personal trait or is it a more generalized thing that can be attributed to our society, our parents, childhood and our upbringing in general? What makes it such a common phenomena to easily loathe ourselves but hardly ever appreciate ourselves? Honestly I think it’s an amalgamation of all these things in varying proportions in each of our lives.

Whatever be the cause, the effect is this: we are conditioned to be self critical. Particularly for girls. We are always so critical of our looks, our appearance, our social standing,what our husbands and boyfriends think of us, what our friends think of us…. and these days we have an additional worry of our social media image (as if life wasn’t tough as it is). Always being vigilant to click pictures in angles that work best to hide our physical flaws. Why? What are we so afraid of? Body shaming? Bullying? Criticism? But we already do all that to ourselves anyways πŸ™„ . Then why is it so important what others think of us?

It’s perhaps because we are so conditioned to seeking others’ approval for self worth. And isn’t that the most bizarre thing? That we need to depend on someone else’s opinion of us to make us realize what we are. Who we are. And what’s our worth really. The more I thought about the twisted logic in this…the more I realized what a dumbass idea it really is. And what a big idiot I have been all this while. Well, I guess in that moment, the feisty spirit of Samantha took over me and I was determined to put an end to this. To stop craving any and evryone’s approval and seek my own. To be confident in my own skin and to take the reigns of my
Self worth in my own hands(ok that sounds dramatic πŸ˜›πŸ˜›) but I think you get the idea.

And well the good news is that this feeling,this attitude..it is reversible. It won’t happen overnight. You won’t wake up one fine day and stop seeking validation from others and be all mushy in self love.No. That’s not gonna happen (wish it did, though). It’s going to be hardwork, especially at the beginning, because it isn’t easy to suddenly change your attitude,your outlook and your approach to life that you’ve had for several years, perhaps decades.Β 
Some pointers that I found to be useful in this new found pursuit of self love that
I found to be particularly useful:

* Stop seeking validation from anyone.
* Be your ONLY and best judge.
* Spend time to asses yourself-your strengths, weaknesses and areas of improvement.
* Appreciate your strengths. Things that make you unique and loveable. And hold on to it no matter what.
* Identify weaknesses. Don’t be too harsh but am sure everyone has some flaws, some shortcomings. Identify them before giving a chance for someone else to point them out to you.
* make a list of areas of improvement. Some skills you might wanna learn or brush up or inculcate.
* be kind to yourself.
* Prepare a mantra that you can keep repeating to yourself to keep up the morale to keep going.
* And the most difficult but absolutely essential thing…learn to love yourself. JUST THE WAY YOU ARE (remember Bridget jones’ diaryπŸ˜›πŸ˜œ)

So next time you feel the blues and feel like you’re swimming in a sea of self pity and worthlessness… remember this ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup…take care of yourself first’.

Coz the ultimate truth is this….We are all one of a kind. Unique, Fabulous and Effing Awesome. ❀️❀️