For the most part, I am an optimist, a believer-in-good-things-can-happen, a hedonist of sorts. In the last couple of years I have seen my compulsively broody, moody self turn into a more uniformly cheerful, happy person. So much so that I don’t take very wrell to the odd gloomy situation that might blind sight me on an idle day. The last time I had a spell that drove me to a severe meltdown and positively into a hole I was unable to get out of, it was right before I quit my job in 2012.
The point of rambling on about how I haven’t felt sadness or dejection on the personal front is to say, it’s been so long, I didn’t recognise it when it hit me earlier this month, when I suddenly found myself contemplative, upset, a bit confused and slowly sliding into a hole. I’m putting it down to this situation of not having work on my hands, and the husband being busy and largely unavailable. Talking to him usually sorts my head out, sooner than later, but I’ve resorted to having monologues with myself, and if you know me at all, you’ll know that never helps.
To make things worse, all that waiting was not helpful at all. I’m still waiting but have a few things lined up, so at least I’ve moved form waiting for things to materialise, to waiting for them to be finalised. So it’s moving, but very slowly. There’s been a few other minor upheavals (for lack of a better word) on the personal front and I know I’m beginning to say this a lot, but for the first time in a long time, I spent a couple of days brooding and feeling like nothing was going right for me. My optimism has taken a bit of a beating, the ability to believe and hope has been stripped down a little. I may or may not have spent a day or two just staring out the window a little aimlessly.
This weekend, I got to wondering why I’ve let myself feel this way. Not that the feeling was completely unfounded. There is reason for a mild kind of turmoil, but nothing VC and I have not been able to get a grip on and begin figuring out. And sort it out we will, so it was really nothing that warranted said sadness. But I suppose this is the consequence of having it really swimmingly good for as long as I can remember. Since we moved to Goa and set up life from scratch, things have only moved up. Life has been exceedingly good. I cannot think of any difficulties we have faced which have been more severe than the odd sucky bouts of work gloom (which is the only time I can recall facing a dip in happiness levels), a few illnesses and technical glitches that drive us up the wall. This was clearly a loss of perspective that had caused me to feel like shifting gears, changing lanes had made my world come tumbling down.
Coincidentally, S tagged me on the Gratitude/Thankfulness Challenge that’s been doing the rounds on facebook. I’m usually not one for facebook memes. I scoff at verbose status messages, especially the superficial kind that usually present themselves on fb, but I was prompted to take this one up. It was a fairly simple challenge; list 3 things you’re thankful for, for 7 days. And this is what I had.
1. Thankful for the neighbour who bailed me out of having to cook when I in the throes of an allergy attack. Not only did she cook me Khau Suey for dinner (as per my farmaish) but dragged me over to eat leftovers for lunch today.
2. Thankful for VC who puts our seemingly big squabbles behind us quicker than I can say WTF.
3. Thankful for air-conditioning, today more than ever. It feels like the hottest day in a long time.
1. Thankful for the technology in my life. The ipad that lets me read in bed, whatsapp that makes the miles between family/friends and me seem so much shorter, Instagram for the riot of colour and life it is, my blogs for the space to write, unedited.
2. Thankful for Amma who is always just a phone call away, whether I want to quickly go over a recipe, rant about anything from unprofessionalism to power cuts to traffic or maid trouble, crib about the state of the country, have a hearty laugh or even just talk.
3. Thankful for having rediscovered the need for good health, the right kind of fitness, and the endorphins and happiness it adds to my life, N, my trainer turned friend.
Thankful for the many different kinds of friendship I have found, that make my life fuller, so varied and definitely so much more entertaining.
1. My family and friends in Goa, A, N, P, S with whom I share so much more in common than just the city we live in.
2. Friends from afar, like S, J, A and many many more, with whom I don’t always have to relentlessly communicate or feel the pressure to “stay in touch” and yet, when we do talk/meet, the madness picks up from where we left off.
3. My “internet FINDS” R, S, A, S who “get” me even though we may have met just a couple of times at best, and some never at all. Is it weird that I feel closer to them than some of my “real-life” friends?
1. Thankful for the mad thing that is the sister, my sharer of absurd/toilet sense of humor, my partner in crime, my kindred spirit, my anchor. The only one who calls my bluff and never shies away from telling it like it is; whether shes tasting an odd experimental cake, or reminding me how I never give her birthday gifts, or in telling me how much she misses me every time she goes back home from visiting me in Goa. Life just wouldn’t be the same without you!
2. Thankful for the food, drink, books, music, movies and all the other things I can afford to indulge myself in every now and then, without having to think twice.
3. Thankful that its Friday and the end of a largely unproductive week. Hopefully a drink and dinner with VC and a relaxed weekend will reboot my system before Monday strikes again.
1. Thankful for my house help who is cheerful, more energetic than I am on any given day and works tirelessly to keep my home clean, assists me in the kitchen and looks out for me, even when I don’t ask for it.
2. Thankful for the privilege that is being a freelancer who can work from home. It means I always have the option to work in my pajamas, in bed, at midnight or pretty much any way that my heart fancies, or whenever inspiration strikes. It also means I can do it all, while also doing at least 3-4 different, non-work related projects at any given time.
3. Thankful for the unflinching support that I get from VC in making 2 and 1 possible. There’s absolutely no shying away from the fact that I have the privilege and the luxury because I don’t have to work to feed myself. He makes it possible for me to work to scratch the various creative itches I get from time to time.
1. Thankful for the opportunity to live in green, beachy Goa. I curse the heat more often than not, but right now, at this point in life, I don’t know another place I could call home.
2. Thankful for the solitude, peace and being-happy-with-less that this life has forced upon us, and the consequent changes this has ushered into our lives.
3. Thankful for the convenience of living just a short trip away from home, so I can still scoot over whenever I am homesick or miss my folks.
1. Thankful for good health, the awareness, willingness and means to stay healthy, fit and happy.
2. Thankful for access to fresh food — healthy fruit and veggies, lots of local, organic options that are not just good for me, but my environment and eco-system too.
3. Thankful for the obsessive love for food, which makes me care about what I put in my system rather than make every day meals a mindless, unhealthy chore.
Today, my fb is filled with unprecedented NaMo love, some minor mentions of the protests in Hong Kong, even fewer still of the floods in Assam, and it seems like we have moved on from Israel and Syria altogether. Clearly it’s very easy to lose perspective, get our priorities mixed up and find ourselves swept away in a little bit if collective hysteria. As I keyed in the last bits of todays post and wrapped up the 7-day challenge, I mocked myself and the irony of having to undertake a task like this, to realise that I truly have a lot to be thankful for. With most of the basics under control, I have the luxury of being thankful for the extras, the privileges and the fringe benefits.
Mockery-aside, I think I needed to do this and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I realised that despite being a realist, a believer and an optimist, its entirely possible to lose my sense of perspective. And if it takes a silly facebook meme to re-align that once again, put my feet back in the ground and the focus back where it should be, so be it. Because a facebook meme made me realise that at the heart of it, I’m lucky to have all the things that really matter to me — family, health, friends and happiness — in abundance. Pretty much everything else is secondary.