Small victories

They’re all I seem to be hanging on to these days. Like making a near-perfect chicken biryani (I’m getting there, one step at a time). Like finishing at least one article in a week. Like putting my foot down when the latest potential client tries to hire me for pittance. Like remembering to have the boyses over because its been so long since we chilled over wine and food. Like baking cakes to finish up slowly-aging bananas. Like reading a whole book in under a day. Like making time to keep both my blogs alive. Like telling myself that working out for 3 days in a week is better than nothing at all.

Life, as I know it, is a bit off sync. Left of centre. The little nice little routine I had made for myself has fallen apart some time in the middle of March, never to really fully recover again. I thought it was the heat. I almost blamed it on PMS. I tried hard to get it back together, because I was born a creature of habit. Routine, schedule, lists, agendas — they make my world go round. Literally. Because without them, things would fall apart. Not to say I am a stickler for sameness and a sucker for monotony, but my life functions better when it falls into a vague cycle of sorts.

What kind of schedule does a stay-at-home-person with no immediate demands have really, you might wonder. It would seem like I have no deadlines to meet, no real responsibilities, nothing of consequence anyway — so what’s the big deal? It’s true, my time is mine to use as I please, but I am one of those people that needs order even in freedom. A method to the madness, as it were. Even in my rather free-of-responsibilities life, there are a few things that need to get done on time. Every day. Every week. Every now and then. Like delivering lunch to the husband everyday. Like submitting my work on time. Like having the house in order most of the time, if not all the time. Like making enough time to read and write. Like exercising regularly. Like constantly trying something new with my baking. And I also sometimes put the added pressure by telling myself that since I am at home all the time, this is the very least I should be able to accomplish on any given day.

I know it sounds like life of a Type A control freak, and I am not going to shy away from it. Its what I am. I need order. It gives me a sense of satisfaction to accomplish what I set out to do, even if it is as small a challenge as making idlis from scratch. It gives my life a sense of order and like things are moving to plan. I have realised I cannot live the life of a hippie I was okay to a few years ago. Now I need my time to be chalked out. I need to begin my day knowing vaguely what I want to do — even on days that I want to do nothing at all.

That’s probably why its been oddly disconcerting to have my routine spin a little out of control. Work is dragging on more than it ever has. My enthusiasm to cook hasn’t been at its optimal best. One would think if I am not cooking or working as much as I used to, I must be doing something to fill the time? But no, the house is in a slight state of disarray, and has been that way for a while, with no signs of me wanting to do anything about it. Its not even like I am gallivanting about town. I don’t venture out too much or socialise. For one, its too damn hot, and when the sun goes down I prefer my own company and feel like I have only enough bandwidth to share with the husband. My reading has slowed down. It came to a rude halt this weekend, in fact, when I spent four days ferrying some visiting friends all over Goa. I realised I cannot do it any more. Being a tourist in my home town feels impossible, for anything more than a day. I begin to miss my life. The non-holiday routine. The one where I work in the morning, make my lunch, watch a TV show while I eat, then get in bed with a book, maybe doze off, have my 4 o clock cup of chai, work out, make dinner and chill with the husband. The normal life.

It feels like the whole month has passed me by, with nothing of significance to mark it with. I am not putting my best foot forward at work. Every day I have to convince myself that I must not skip my workout. It takes huge amounts of pushing to get myself to cook. I’ve taken a whole week to read 100 pages. I have blogged less frequently, even though I have about half a dozen posts waiting to be finished and published. Everything seems to be in various degrees of incompleteness.

And that is not like me. I finish things. I move on systematically. I make plans and I adhere to them for the most part. Maybe this is what the 6-month milestone of the sabbatical feels like. I’ve been feeling the sense of time zipping by, and wanting to get going with some of the other plans I have. To turn them from plans to real things. I’ve made several small beginnings, but that’s it. I feel lethargic and heavy and like I cannot move ahead. The husband has been egging me on about the little business. My blog overhaul is long pending. My reading list is growing at a pace faster than I can keep up with.

Maybe that is the problem. I aim big. I want to do it all. Nobody is paying me for it. My life really doesn’t depends on it. Nobody but me really expects it. I seem to have big plans, and yet all I’m settling for is small victories.

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17 Replies to “Small victories”

  1. hang tight. the small victories will add up =) non platitudinally. honestly though, maybe you should just kick back and let it go. theres a difference between routine falling apart while you fret about it and push yourself to reassert it and just letting to go guilt free for a bit. i find it always helps me when im in this place you describe

    1. I think its what I need also. A day to turn off the damned internet, shut the kitchen and fuck off to the beach. Maybe today. Seeing as how I still have zilch inclination to work and there are no lunch plans brewing in my head..
      And yet, “letting go” of plans is what I most suck at :P

      1. yes i understand. but i tried it you know on wednesday, i lay in bed and refused to do anything only getting uip to east desultorily. and thursday i was up and raring to go! never has a slump been so short!

  2. Cheers and go chase your dreams.. deadlines, it kills me but as long as we enjoy doing our own stuffs, things will take its own course. Sometimes, we gotta go with the flow and it’s admirable that you doing things you love. All the best:)

  3. Hmmmm…..maybe a change of routine will help? Or a change of office? I am a big fan of taking my laptop to a cafe to work (bewilders the hell out of V which is amusing).

    1. I do that off and on, but there arent very many “cafes” that have an atmosphere conducive to spending hours on end in peace and quiet to work. I manage it sometimes. I think I just need a change of scene :S

  4. So much to do and so little time. There seems to be no perfect way to run a house and work. I guess we have to make some compromises like not tidying up every single time something is out of place. MY PROBLEM. I’m sure your near-perfect biryani is closer than you expect.

          1. So beautifully written. I can completely identify with the need to schedule. Even on weekend, I need a plan. A plan to chill out. A rough structure gives me something to look forward to, rather than just keep doing something random.

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