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  • Gazala Hitawala

These are Things I am Taking Ahead from You, 2020

2021 is here, and I would be lying if I say that I am not expecting something magical to happen that will just change everything that is going on in the world right now. We all were wishing for 2020 to be over soon; as if the firecrackers on new year eve will burn the agony of the world into ashes. For me, the year 2020 was similar to how it had been for most of you –

  1. stuck at home,

  2. holidays cancelled,

  3. no graduation ceremony,

  4. delayed exams,

  5. kitchen experiments,

  6. board games with family,

  7. multiple attempts at Dalgona coffee and

  8. lots of DIY.

With the start of 2021, we all have high hopes, expectations, new goals, resolutions and habits that we look forward to achieving. While most of the year 2020 was challenging with unexpected surprises, it also gave me a chance to sit back and introspect.

After 1 year of observation and introspection, here are a few things that I want to carry forward from 2020 to 2021:

1.It is ok to not be updated about the most trending meme, the popular Netflix series, the news updates or Kangna Ranaut’s latest tweet. I do not have to know it all to fit in well. I am more focused to do more of what I REALLY love, rather than putting endless efforts to be the know it all person. It is ok to give a blank face to someone who talks about – Game of Thrones. Moreover, it is ok to not show any interest in future plans to watch the series. You do you, boo!

2. Getting an audiobook subscription is one of the wisest decision I made. Often times while prioritising the ‘important stuff’ I lagged a lot on reading. Although there were no milestones I had to achieve through the number of books I read, I still felt a void if a whole month passed without reading. Then came audiobooks for the rescue. I listened to audiobooks during the shower, while cooking and even during jhadoo-pochha. If you are still deciding whether audiobooks would be a wise choice for you, take my word and hit subscribe on your favourite audiobooks app.

3. Studying is my happy place. For most of the time, I was confused about how I felt about my studies. I liked to learn, but at the same time, I was more excited about the breaks. However, I discovered that when the whole world was on a break; I was inclining towards study. I felt uneasy if I had nothing to study. I was afraid to admit this to myself since childhood because of being tagged as a nerd. But enough of that already, we had a rough year, so let me just own it now. I ENJOY STUDYING. Phew!

4. Every penny that I own is valuable. I have been lucky to never ever be in a situation where I was refrained from any basic necessity because of the lack of finances. During the lockdown, I saw the crinkle of worry on my parent’s forehead. I was always empathetic to whoever was struggling and tried to help but I never truly felt the fear until I saw it nearby. I am every day thankful for all the monetary privileges that I have. At this moment, the ability to be able to type this draft on my laptop is in itself a luxury that I am lucky to have.

5. If something adds value to my life, I should not refrain from buying it. I know it sounds contradictory to the previous point but be with me here. I had a tendency to talk myself out of purchasing anything that could be a new addition to my life. In the last year, I think I became wise to weigh the value of my belongings in Marie Kondo style. The Bluetooth Speaker and the wireless earphones smoothen my workouts and audiobooks experience – these were worth the money I spent. Instead of thinking twice about these products that will help me in the long run, I rather think twice before buying a fancy evening dress that I might not wear more than twice.

Every single thing that is outside your control… still presents a corresponding area that is in your control. This alone gives us plenty to manage, plenty of power. The Daily Stoic

6. No matter how much I try, there will be things which will be out of my control. In such situations, the only thing I can control is my response. After all, that is what life is, right? This pandemic showed me I was a spec in this universe – completely powerless. However, I still have full control over my thoughts – I have the power to chose to be of help during the pandemic and I have the power to utilise this time to do everything for which I did not have time earlier.

7. Maintaining a gratitude practice keeps me alive in the hardest of time. I adapted this practice when it became trending, it was also recommended by Oprah so, there was no chance to not do it. In the most challenging year, if I was able to find moments of gratitude in my life, then I was LIVING. I highly-highly-highly recommend you to give it a shot. Be grateful for all the little things – the new book, the Christmas cake, the toilet paper, EVERY LITTLE THING. Count your blessings.

8. Scented candles and diffusers enhance my mood. Moving forward, I will always keep some scented candles or essential oils handy to light up my spirit. I also learnt from Jim Kwik’s podcast that scents like rosemary and peppermint are good for memory and focus. So, it is a win-win.

9. Life is too short to hold back from someone. My mom did not receive a guarantee certificate of my life span. So, I should not be holding back myself to talk to anyone, who I had wished to connect with if I was dying in a few days – the farthest cousin, the stranger who helped me in a new city, the friend who is mad at me. Anyone who has his/her footprints in my heart; I will keep checking on them, no matter what.

10. Health is the most precious asset. Being in the medical profession, I am expected to be available for the patient’s needs which can only be met if I take care of myself. I observed how one person’s life is connected to many more lives. This forced me to take steps to ensure my physical and mental well being. As a result, I included some form of physical activity in my day, ate healthy (most of the time), and incorporated more detox drinks and less coffee. Journaling, meditation and prayers were my sources for ensuring mental well being. It is important to cut some slack and identify the battles within the mind. Your mind needs your attention.

Happy New Year to you. I hope that you too have reflected on 2020. If you have not done it yet, it is never too late. Think of the whole year month by month; the good and the bad. Note down the best moments that you would cherish, note down the things you are grateful for, note down the things which did not work out for you, and note down the most painful things that happened to you. Look back on each aspect of your life and pick learnings from those experiences that you wish to carry forward. 12 months of your life were there for a reason, they have definitely given you something more than the virus. Think about all those things and share them with me too.

Have a great year ahead!

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