Action Replay + Gratitude List: June 2020

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So, we're officially in the second half of the year? At this point, I just want 2020 to run with the speed of Usain Bolt and hopefully 2021 will be kinder to us. June has been a month of lows and highs. The first few days of the month was disastrous, but it seemed to pick itself up after a few days. The situation outside is not looking any better, but I guess we have no choice but to stay safe, sit back and watch. I do have my bouts of paranoia and anxiety but they are a lot within check. See, it is hard to not let yourself be affected by what is happening outside. The uncertainty and the prolonged duration of the mess only makes it worse. I just hope that things get better soon for all of us.

The first half of June kept me busy with work and this proved to be the best ever distraction from the current scenario. As long as you are busy and your mind is occupied, things don't look so bad. But, I do miss my work friends and catching up with them. Looks like we'll not be asked to go to office for the rest of the year, so I have made my peace with work from home now. If there is one thing that dull May taught me, it was that I need to stick to what I do best. Letting go only gives temporary solace. I'm a stickler for routine and I need a routine to keep me going. I set that right in June. This routine helps me be more productive at work and at home and lets me pursue my passions as well. Setting aside fixed times for work has helped me clear my mind and focus better.

The routine also touched upon the most important thing for me. Going to bed and waking up on time. My sleep habits have definitely gotten better, thanks to regular yoga and this helps me stay charged for the next day. Thanks to this, I have been working out regularly too. I've learned to turn a blind eye to the comparisons and competition and do what is good for me. I normally try to go in for two classes a day. One cardio and one yoga, and this has been working out very well for me. I do not ever miss a class unless absolutely unavoidable and I'm happy that fitness has become such an important aspect of my life today. No, I still do not share what I do and the stats of the class. All of this is just for me.

Having a solid routine meant better time management. I could give ample time to reading this month because of this. I struggled with reading in May, but I did not want to force it in June. Having time in hand meant I could do whatever I wanted to do. Reading was and always will be my first choice when it comes to how I want to spend my me-time. I read seven books in June and all of them were fabulous reads. The books that I read in June are:

~ The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald

I can't believe I had not read this classic until now. Such a wonderful story. Four stars! We watched the movie last weekend and loved it too. Glitz, glamour, parties and yet everything about this was about love!

~ All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

I read this book as part of the #TBRChallenge2020 for Prompt 19, a book that has been on your shelf for more than five years. I love historical fiction and this book was such a delight. A full five stars to this one.

~ Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Sex, drugs, rock n roll! What can go wrong with that? Throw in some solid feminism, beautiful music and crazy, unabashed love and you have a winner on your hands. Another five star read. You can read my review of this here.

~ A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles

The said gentleman, Count Alexander Rostov, is one of the most adorable characters ever written. This book has generous amounts of wit, humor and philosophy and it has now become one of my most favorite reads of all time. Five stars!

~ The Guest List by Lucy Foley

This was Reese's book club pick for June & July. What a promising story with the perfect pace. Everything about this tale was going so well until multiple motives and multiple secrets start tumbling out in last twenty pages of the book. I predicted the ending half way through the book and yet this was a thrilling read thanks to the brilliant narration. Four stars!

~ I'm Still Here by Austin Channing Brown

This was Reese's book club pick for June & July. Yes, she chose this one for the diversity thanks to all that has been happening around the world. This is the story about the author's experience in White America. It has a strong voice and it has to be heard. Four stars!

~ The Bastard Of Istanbul by Elif Shafak

Elif Shafak is an author I blindly trust and I just jump into her stories without thinking twice. There is a sense of Sufism in all her books along with poetry and magic! It is hard to not fall in love with her stories and this one was no exception. Another four stars to this one!

I've also been listening to Pachinko by Min Jin Lee on Audible. It is an insanely long book and I think I'll be taking months to finish this one.

Have you tried Audible yet? Read my experience with it here.

Follow me on Goodreads or my bookstagram page to follow my reading journey.

Writing has been decent in June, but I think I need to trim down the number of blog-hops that I do. This is because I want to have the space to write more personal posts and some poetry. It has been a while since I expressed my views on certain topics or wrote a fun post, so this July I'm planning to get back to it. Since I love Natasha, Esha and Parul way too much, I'll do the #ThursdayTreeLove every second week and #WordlessWednesday every third week of the month. This way they wouldn't miss me much and I wouldn't miss being a part of their wonderful initiatives.

Recently, somebody was talking about the lack of readership and reciprocation during these times and that they are not motivated to write because of this. It is very easy to get totally consumed by this feeling, but you need to keep going. As a blogger, the blog is a space for you first and that is what you need to focus on. The number of comments on my posts have gone down drastically. It used to bother me initially, but during these tough times you cannot expect people to visit/read/comment. Everyone is doing their best to survive and the way they choose to do it is totally up to them.

June did come with a wonderful share of gratitude. Here's what I'm thankful for this June:

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~ Work: The center of my routine. Everything else in my life at the moment is planned around this and I wouldn't have it any other way.

~ Health: Thanks to better sleep and time-management, I've been able to plan my meals better and have been eating healthy day after day. I'm thankful for the fresh produce we get to enable this.

~ Work-out: I have done 50+ classes this month and I'm so thrilled! While cardio has always been a favorite, I'm falling in love with yoga day after day. I'm seeing the changes in my body, mind and soul because of this and I know that this is something I'd be pursuing for life.

~ Books: I love books, there is no denying that. But the number of friends that my love for reading has given me is something else. I did a June Bookstagram challenge on my book page that was hosted by Naba and I had such a fabulous time. I now have so many friends who share the common love for reading and I'll forever be indebted to blogging and social media for that.

~ Plants: A few days ago, I sat with the stinky organic fertilizer mix, mixed it with my bare hands and fed it to all the plants. The process was tedious, but so worth it. The plants are blooming and watching them grow is giving me immense happiness.

~ Getting Out: Oh yes, you read that right. Finally after many months, last weekend, we set out on a long drive. We stepped out of the car with our masks on for a few minutes and did not meet or interact with anyone else. It was a much needed break from the monotony for us and it sure did feel good.

~ Home-Delivery: We've been getting all the groceries and vegetables and everything else home delivered and I'm so glad these brave-hearts are working endlessly to ensure that everyone gets what they need. We've slowly begun to order in food too, because when the work gets crazy at times it becomes difficult to manage everything. For those still contemplating food delivery, please go ahead with it. Just ensure that only one person handles the food when it arrives and immediately transfer it into fresh containers from home without touching the food with your bare hands. Wash your hands, reheat/microwave the food and enjoy it without being worried.

~ Home Sweet Home: We're so glad we are in our own place when this happened. We don't have to deal with the hassles of rent and we can focus more on setting up the place the way we want. It has just been a year since we moved in here and we have already made significant changes to the decor. When we spend a lot of time in a space, you tend to see it more closely and it is only natural to make changes. We're enjoying the process thoroughly. Again, all thanks to online shopping and home delivery.

~ Secret Project: There is something that I have always wanted to do and the topic intrigued me the most. I've started work on it now and I should be able to complete it this July. More on that in next month's post.

~ Love: Having a partner who helps you around with everything is such a boon. This is the first time ever that we have spent so much time together without a break and we are loving it. Yes, we give each other space to enjoy our respective me-times but it is the us-times that we enjoy the most. We love playing board games or cards and this has made being stuck indoors so much fun!

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July feels like a ray of positivity at the present and I hope that the feeling lingers. Let us all stay safe, guard our physical and mental health and survive this. Together.

How was your June?

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


4 comments:

  1. All the light we cannot see was such a delightful book! I absolutely loved it. All the best with your secret project - there's nothing quite like working on things that have intrigued us since a long time!

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  2. Will be on the look out for your review of The Bastard Of Istanbul.

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  3. Happy to read the positivity here. I have had All The Light We Cannot See in my Kindle for a long time... somehow I have never gotten around to reading it till now.

    Need to check it out. Here, it is aquarium maintainence that keeps me occupied in my free time.

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  4. Yay for the yoga and the way its helped with your sleep patterns. Way to go Soumya. Hope you are able to keep it up.

    Pachinko was an amazing read for me- I read it on Kindle and yes its a tome. But I loved it and there is my review on my blog of it too. I was very fascinated with the similarities of marriage customs and the thought process with ours. What do you think about that?

    Your reading has been superb - I have finally managed to finish one book for June and am going through Once upon a river on the audible. Not loving it- I dont think I will get hooked to this ever.

    Happenings from around the world are really crazy and disturbing. I agree with you about how it upsets our mental equilibrium. Its hard to remain unaffected. Hugs to you and I am here for a chat in case you feel like it.

    All the best for the secret project- its definitely an art project and I am waiting what comes out after that brilliant Frida you did.

    Wishing you loads of love for a wonderful July ahead!! XOXO

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