Action Replay + Gratitude List: August 2019

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August was my birthday month and I was thrilled to see what it had in store for me. Unfortunately, August was a month of unrest and turned everything upside down for me. No, it wasn't a bad month as such, but something about it just did not feel right. I had severe issues with my sleep cycle this month, and that's what caused a lot of problems in the days to follow. I have always been a light sleeper and I battle insomnia at regular intervals, but this time it was severe. I barely slept at night and this due to this I couldn't wake up early in the mornings. This caused me to miss my fitness classes for almost a month, not carry home cooked meals to office, irregular timings of eating, exhaustion and more exhaustion. This obviously did not go down well for my state of mind. As someone who has an innate need to have everything under her control, this took a heavy toll on me.

Work was not too much, but my time-management skills were on a holiday. I wasted my time binge watching 'The Big Bang Theory' instead of focusing on reading, writing or cooking! I just was in one of those phases where I did not want to do anything. I was continuously agitated and irritated. I cannot put a finger on it to say exactly what went wrong. All I knew was that something was definitely not right. I normally turn to travel to sort out my mind and help me see things in a new light, but this month, even that did not work for me. The road-trip we took to Pondicherry was so disastrous that I just want to wipe it off my life! I don't even want to look back at it or even talk about it. A vacation going kaput was the last straw! It added on to my lethargy and before I knew it I was in a place where I couldn't recognize myself anymore. I am not a lazy person. I, in fact loathe people who take pride in being lazy, but the feeling of wanting to do nothing was taking over me, one day at a time.

It was only towards the end of the month that I decided to fight whatever it is that I had. While sleep continued to be a problem, I tried to focus on other things to help me feel better. Writing came to the rescue to a certain extent. Since I mostly write during breaks at work, it felt like my time-management skills were getting better. Something small to feel good about. I finally got back to reading as well. After two months of hardly reading anything, it wasn't easy to get back to it. Especially when I was in a zone of not wanting to do anything. Still, I pushed myself and got back the mojo of reading. This was good because I had bought quite a lot of books as a birthday gift to myself. Here are the books I read this month.

~ My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite - This one features on the long list for the Booker prize. I normally never pick books that have been long/short-listed to win an award or have won an award as I never like them. I learnt it the hard way after reading some of Salman Rushdie and Arundati Roy's work. This one I solely picked up based on its intriguing title. The book has a really strong premise, but the execution falls terribly flat. It reminded me a lot of 'Purple Hibiscus' even though there are no similarities between both the stories. Maybe it was that feel and soul of Africa. I'll do a review of this soon.

~ Little Women by Louisa Mary Alcott - After having recently watched the trailer of the movie based on this book, I felt the need to re-read it. I normally never re-read books as I want to hold the feeling of having read it the first time very close to my heart. I read this one first when I was in school. Easily around eighteen years ago. Then I re-read it again ten years ago and then again this month. It wasn't easy to read this one this time, I'll be honest. Once you know the story and how it ends, the descriptions and the flow keep you going when you read. But I felt that I had outgrown the parties and the gowns and the letter-writing in this one. I love the story, no doubt, but reading it felt tedious this time. I skipped a lot of pages to get through this.

~ The Unlikely Adventures Of The Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal - After the brilliant 'Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows', I had huge expectations from this one. This one too had a very good premise and its heart in the right place, but its execution is very bad. Way too many predictable cliches and a Bollywood style finish! I'll do a detailed review of this one too sometime soon.

It might be a while before I pick up another book due to work related commitments, but I'm only six books away from completing my reading challenge and I think the last three months of the year should be enough for that. Even if it doesn't, I'm not gonna bother much about it. Which brings me to the biggest lesson that August had for me.

August taught me to not force things, be it anything. Friendships, relationships, challenges, hobbies, passions or anything else. I usually get very worked up when I cannot complete something that I have started, but August taught me to let it go. I started the photoaday challenge on Instagram as it was all about food this month, but somehow, I wasn't able to continue with it after the first two days. It stopped interesting me and was soon forgotten. I didn't want to do something just for the sake of it. Forcing myself to do something was only adding on to my already existing anxiety and making me feel more bad about myself. Relationships these days have become really fragile with everyone wanting to feel good about themselves only. When you vibe with someone you just vibe, you can't force yourself to like someone. If it doesn't work out, it doesn't. I've learnt that now.

There are a lot of toxic people around these days. Today, my motivational quote read 'The only way to win with toxic people is to not play', and I couldn't agree more. It always is the best to stay away from such people. Having said that, I do not mind the damaged people. We all are damaged in our way and there is a certain natural beauty in that. But the people who know that they are damaged and try to damage others are toxic. People who know that they have a problem and prefer to crib about it than do something about it are toxic. People who only talk to you when they have to complain about their lives are toxic. People who are pessimistic are toxic. For my own sanity, I knew that I had to stay away from them.

Apart from this one valuable lesson, there were very few things to be thankful about in August.

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~ Work: While this usually is a comfort zone for me, it rattled me up this month. Uncertainties plagued me and I questioned myself if this is what I wanted to do. While there is not much clarity on this yet, I'm glad that this did not eat into my zone of unrest. Since work wasn't too heavy, I did not have to worry about it much when I was battling something within me. One less thing is a huge consolation, trust me.

~ Birthday: I turned 33 this month and that day was magical and honestly was the only saving grace for the whole month. My husband and I spent the entire day together among delicious food and endless conversations. I stopped worrying about turning old after nineteen. I went berserk when I turned twenty, that feeling of getting out of my teens and all that. Since then, age has, is and will be just a number.

~ Friends: I met my girls for lunch this month and it was so refreshing. While we spoke we learnt that all of us are finding it tough to make new friends these days and after a point of time we just let go. We're glad we have each other. Like they say, lesser friends, lesser bullshit.

~ Love: I don't know what my partner is made of at times. This man gets me out of the shittiest phases of my life and stands by me like a rock at all times. The month has not been easy for him as well and yet he helped me get past it successfully. It is hard to see someone you love go through self-doubt and pit-falls, but he made it feel like a breeze by motivating me day after day and pulling me out from every shit hole I fell into. We took turns in helping each other and always looked out for the other. Together, we survived one of the craziest months of our life and we came out of it stronger and much more in love.

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After expecting a bright, sparkly and shiny August and getting its pale sister instead, I have no expectations from September. I have been working on myself and now I'm prepared to face anything that comes my way. I now have the strength to let people out of my life. I now have the strength to accept my flaws and work on it. I now have the strength to make life-changing decisions and stand by it. I now have the strength to face life head on. With 'Simplify' being my word of the year for 2019, that is exactly what I'm going to do.

How did August treat you?

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Linking this post to Vidya's Gratitude Circle for this month.

26 comments:

  1. I am so sorry to read that you had so many challenges in August. Sleep can be such an issue. I have phases when I don't get sleep or get disturbed sleep, and those days I am like a zombie. I can't function without decent sleep, and I know that fact. I have been hardly reading as well. But I have watched some amazing content online. I have also not been pushing myself. I take breaks as needed both from writing and social media. I don't stress over it. I am paying more attention to my health which has been better in August and have been trying to shed some weight that I put on in the last year due to the knee injury. Have lost 2 kilos already and feel good about that though I need to lose some more kilos. It was the husband's birthday and we had a rocking weekend. We all are spending more family time these days. Realization is there that my older son is in 12th and will be leaving home next year to pursue higher studies. We are all trying to be around each other much more and that's so wonderful actually. Thanks to your suggestion, I have done a booking to Pondicherry for Dasshera holidays. I am sorry to hear that your road trip went bad. I had been to Pondy a few years ago and this time, we just want to be chilling close to the beach without sightseeing. We will take Coco along too. Gosh, this is a long comment. We must try to meet up, Soumya, maybe in October. You, me, Shaillaja and Parul. Let's plan for it.

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    1. Thank you for this comment, Rachna. It is so heartfelt that it made me smile.

      Sleep is an issue still, if it persists, I might have to get medical help as I'm wearing myself out due to lack of sleep. My routines are tossed upside down and this is not good for my mental health. Good that you are focusing on your health now, that's all that matters at the end.

      The son leaving for college must be a very emotional moment for the family. Good that you are spending time together as a family and enjoying every moment.

      Pondi is a beautiful place and I loved it when the husband and I visited it a couple of years ago! The place is just so beautiful and calm. We did not go with the right crowd this time and that ruined the trip for me. You have fun when you get there :)

      Let us meet for sure, I'm looking forward to it. Let Parul come back from her vacation, we'll plan this.

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    2. Yes you must meet a doctor. Last month when I was struggling with chest congestion, my sleep was ruined and I was miserable. Then I went to a doc. She gave me some medication for the allergies but also a week-long medicine that helped me sleep.

      Within 2 days, I was feeling so much better. I could sleep through the night without coughing and that helped me get better quicker. I kicked myself for not going to her earlier. So yes, don't wait if sleep continues to trouble you. Take care and hugs.

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    3. Thank you for coming back and telling me this, Rachna. I'll give it a week or so and if the issue still persists, I'll go see a doctor. I've been sleeping pretty well the last two days, so there is a good sign.

      Thank you so much! Much love and hugs!

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  2. Aww thats a little bit of a downer to read Somz- wish you a very bright and sparkling September to compensate for this. Like you, I have been skipping my fitness sessions too. Its on account of laziness and listness in my case. I just dont feel enthused to go anymore. Dont know what to do about it. On the plus side, have started going for walks randomly - glad to see myself doing that much.

    You seem to have read a lot of books this month, despite the time issue. Sorry to hear the Balli Jaswal second book is not so great- I had been looking forward to it.

    I have been enjoying your posts in August and you seem to have been consistent with it - good going gurl!!

    Hugs and love!!

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    1. Thank you so much love, you made me feel so much better!

      August has been a downer for most of us, looks like. Hopefully September will make up for it!

      Lots of love back!

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  3. Binge watching 'The Big Bang Theory' or 'How I Met Your Mother' is exactly what I do to rejuvenate my mood during those not-so-pleasant moments of my life.

    With 2019 almost phasing out, hope you find solace in the remaining months of the year. As they say, everyday is a new day! Good luck, sweetheart!

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    1. You said it, darling! Nothing light some light comedy to make you feel instantly better!

      Fingers crossed for the rest of the year!

      Thank you, love!

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  4. Okay first, BIG BIG hugs. I know August has not lived up to your expectations and that must feel terrible. Not reading or a travel trip going wrong are both so sad! I know how this must have hit you where it hurt.

    By the way that thing your friends said? About not being able to make any new friends? Yep. That's true as you grow older. You just don't have the time or the bandwidth for any more drama than is necessary, really.

    Let's definitely meet this month, if possible. I'd love to catch up and it's been too long. Sending you tons of good vibes for this month and the rest of the year to be relaxing, filled with reading and more workouts as per your heart desires.

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    1. Thank you, babe! Let's meet this month, we have so much to catch up!

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  5. Sleep!! I have seen what lack of sleep can do to a human being and whenever someone says they have problems sleeping, I send a quick prayer their way. Hugs, Soumya, and I hope things get better this month.
    Health issues can spoil everything...yep, been there, done that, and come out caring more for my health, esp mental health. Take extra care of yourself, girl. And, I am so happy for you that you have your loving partner to take care of you, stand by you like a rock! That's one of THE most important things in life!

    I agree about friends and friendships...It does get tougher making new friends as you age. Not that I have stopped making friends. In fact, I have a few really good friends now than earlier, but at the same time, I also know that I shouldn't depend on them for emotional support. As much as I depend on them, I depend on myself and my inner strength much more. If you are able to take care of your emotional needs, then nothing like it. And, as you said, the less friends, the lesser bullshit. And, the more strong you, the more stress-free life becomes. You know what you need, you know the words you need to listen to when feeling low, and you know that YOU got your back.

    Take care, sweetie, and I hope and pray that September treats you kindly.
    Love and hugs!

    P.S.
    Do take care of your sleep. And, if you aren't able to, please visit a medical practitioner who will advice you on it.

    Love!

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    1. Aren't you the sweetest, Shilpa! <3

      Yes, if this issue persists I will visit a doctor. About time I think.

      Friendships get tricky with age and I've realized that I no longer have patience to put up with people and their shit. I have a bunch of people who mean the world to me and that's enough!

      Fingers crossed for September! Thank you, Shilpa. Much love to you too!

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  6. Oh, August was challenging for you but it gave so many learnings and lessons too.
    I have had these listless, restless days with such poor productivity. Glad that these days are behind you. The Big Bang Theory though is super funny and uplifts my mood every single time but it is a big time sucker. I have read My Sister - The Serial Killer. I felt that the ending could have been better. I will give The Unlikely Adventures Of The Shergill Sisters a miss though I absolutely loved The Erotic Punjabi Widows.
    To not play the game with toxic people is the best strategy. How can these people behave the way they do!! I can never play their game.
    Hope September treats you well and you have a happy and productive month. Cheers.

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    1. Well, I've decided to look at the positives so I focused on the lessons here.

      My Sister, The Serial Killer could have been a lot better. Please stay away from the Shergill Sisters, nothing much to read there.

      I'm done with toxic people. I've cut them out for good now.

      Wishing you a wonderful September too, Shilpa.

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  7. As I told you, Aug was full of ups and downs. Everything you said about friends/relationships/life is true. I've learned one thing for sure: have no expectations and there's less scope for disappointments. And yes, not easy to make friends. I don't expect to, either.

    I can imagine what letting go of the sleep/food/routine can feel like. I went through something similar. For me, it was Grey's Anatomy instead of the BBT. But, my friend, this too shall pass. What goes down must bounce back up. And so shall you

    Let's look forward to a better September. Mmuah! Hugs!

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    1. I'm yet to get to Grey's Anatomy! Soon I will.

      Let's hope September is kind to both of us! <3

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  8. I can totally understand how must be feeling Soumya because I have been through this phase of not wanting to do anything, barely sleeping phase myself. I hope things are better for you now. Don't worry. Sometimes it is okay to take things easy. You are an awesome person whom I look upto. More power to you!

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    1. Rest and try to get as much sleep as you can, Reema. Lack of sleep has made me like a zombie :(

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  9. August wasnt my month either.. Health issues that troubled me physically and mentally. But well we must carry on a hope for the next month to be better.

    Talking about books my favourite topic--- I quite like Shergill sisters, for I have a sister and we had similar encounters :P So related to it quite a bit. Waiting for your review of My Sister...

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    1. August seems to have been unkind to most of us. Hoping September will be kinder to all of us.

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  10. A vacation going wrong is something I too cannot bear myself. Since you have less expectations, I hope September will give you more happiness and surprises. Belated birthday wishes to you Sowmya.

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    1. That's the hope, Ramya. Thank you and wishing you a fabulous September too.

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  11. Oh dear you seem to have had a bit of a rough time. Thankfully your loving better/other half made up for your down phases. I liked your coping mechanism for dealing with toxic people - avoiding them. It really works and helps keep your sanity. I do hope your sleep cycle gets back on track.....

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    1. It sure does. We all need to get rid of the toxic people in our lives.

      Thank you, Sunitha. Wishing you wonderful September.

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  12. Belated birthday wishes to you. Sorry to hear about your difficult times. Happy that you had your life partner by your side during all these struggles. Stay blessed both.

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