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Action Replay + Gratitude List: 2022 So Far

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My last Action Replay was in July 2021, that is almost a year ago! It aches me that I haven't been regular here, but I'm slowly making a start now and that is something I want to stay consistent at. 2020, 2021 and the first five months of 2022 were a blur! It is a weird feeling, time is moving so fast and yet everything around feels slow. I don't know if I'm making sense, but that is how 2022 has been for me so far. The pandemic still looms, but our life has pretty much gone back to the old normal. We used to feel restricted and claustrophobic earlier but now we are free to do whatever we want. That's a tiny win! I have been through a lot from the start of the year, both good and bad and as usual it has left me with lessons that would last a lifetime.

Work has been good and while we are asked to step into office once in a while, I'm still primarily working from home. My workplace is just 10 minutes away from where I stay and I don't feel like going back to work. Yet. Two years ago if you had asked me if I enjoyed working from home, I would have frowned and complained endlessly. It took me a while to get used to working from home. I did not like it, I just got used to it. Then, we got home a pet! Waffle came home last February and I can spend my entire day being with him. I've been able to survive this WFH only because of him and it is only because of him that I don't feel like going back to office as well. Thankfully, he's trained and doesn't have separation anxiety. He can stay alone at home for hours, but we don't feel the need to do that. If any vital meetings need my presence face to face, I drop in. Else, I'm fine working from home. Also, I think unless everyone starts coming back to office, there is no fun in going to office. The whole point of office is meeting colleagues, those fun lunch breaks, that chatter and what not. Without that it is clearly better to work from home.

Work has been keeping me quite busy with me working round the clock at times. I do have periods of lull in between here and there, so I'm not complaining. In June this year, I complete 14 years of working for this company and also 14 years of my corporate life. Wow, that went quick! I joined this place right out of college and I've stayed here out of choice. Most people think that I'm unambitious and boring, because I've stayed at the same place. These are the same people who complain about their endless hours of working, no work-life balance and about the lack of rewards and recognition. I love the work I do and it gives me ample time to follow my other passions. That is what is more important to me. Sure, I don't make as much money as others do as I haven't changed my organization, but I make more than enough for myself and I'm content. As much as I enjoy work and take it very seriously, I also need the time for myself and my family. That means more to me than money or anything else in the world.

In my last action replay post, I wrote about how Instagram erroneously disabled my Bookstagram account. Well, I didn't get that back. After taking a break for a while and going back and forth about it, I finally created another account. You can find me on Instagram at @bluntpages to follow my book reviews and reading updates. Reading has been a constant in my life for decades and I couldn't be happier about it. This year too I planned to read 50 books. We're approaching June and I've already managed to read 43 books! Some really great ones at that. I've finally begun to read multiple books at a time, but not without a little quirk of mine. I read a paperback, one e-book on the Kindle and listen to one on Audible. One book per medium and I replace them as and when I'm done with them irrespective of if I've finished the other two or not. I've been reading quite a lot because of this and I've explored some really good authors and interesting genres this year.

This summer, I was introduced to a new feeling - a high sense of being overwhelmed. I don't know if it was the heat in Bangalore (which was insane this time) or something else that I was going through, but I was lethargic, dull and angry throughout the day! I hated waking up in the morning. I hated stepping into the kitchen. I did not want to eat, read, write, workout or do anything else. I was sweaty, irritated and annoyed perpetually. Cooking, which I usually turn to for a respite, felt like a dreaded enemy. I suddenly felt that my entire life only revolved around household chores and I was losing a sense of my own being. Of course I've felt like this once in a while before, but this time the feeling stayed for days, weeks, months! Work was light at the time and I had ample time to write, read, paint or do whatever I wanted to do. But, I was enveloped with a sense of ennui. I was sleeping at random times and staying slumped in front of the TV binge-watching Netflix like there is no tomorrow. I began to hate myself and everything that I was doing. I had no clue what was happening to me.

There was too much noise around and within me and I was craving silence. I needed the quiet to untangle myself. As the rains came in and the heat left, I began to feel better. I don't know if it all actually had to do with the weather or that was just what was in my head, either way it worked! My routine fell back in place and I began feeling like myself again. Taking some time out for myself, having honest conversations with my partner and a vacation helped. I guess sometimes we all need a break from life, no matter how beautiful it is.

Writing has suffered over the past couple of years, and I miss writing and reading personal posts. Most people only write sponsored posts now and they were such a dud to read. No matter how creatively you write it, at the end of the day you are trying to make a sale. It felt very transactional, not personal. I had left Facebook more than a year ago, but I returned to check on a blogging group I was a part of for many years. A simple conversation there got us talking about the need for more personal posts and soon everyone wanted to get back to writing and were motivating each other. I'm glad my return to a space that I had come to loathe has paid off. Writing and sharing is the sole reason I use the platform for, nothing else. I'm done with it.

Tomorrow is the sixth month of the year and the last five had their own twists and turns. Here's what I'm grateful for, for the past few months of 2022:

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~ Work: My sense of identity. As much as people say that you shouldn't associate your value with the work you do, I cannot get myself to do that. I started working at a very young age and everything that I am today is because of my hard work and perseverance. Being self-made is something I'm immensely proud of and nobody can take that away from me.

~ Books: Reading keeps me sane. Period.

~ Vacation: We were lucky enough to take a couple of road trips with Waffle. They were staycations and we just lazed around. The partner and I travelled to Maldives for our anniversary in March and that place is truly heaven! So clean, so pure, so blue! Luxury and beauty at its best! This was an experience to remember.

~ Nature: We went snorkeling in Maldives! Both of us can't swim and this was something we've been wanting to do for a while. The resort we stayed in was built over a coral reef and we saw gorgeous corals and beautiful fish underneath the water. The colors, the shapes, the feeling! Wow! Nature is so beautiful, we need to do everything we can to protect it.

~ Minimalism: It's been a while since I embraced a minimalistic, sustainable approach to life and I couldn't be more happier today. You have no idea how much this simplifies things. Just get rid of the things and people who don't matter, no emotions attached. It is actually much simpler than you think it is. I'll do a detailed post on this soon.

~ Mental Health: Haven't been in the best of spaces, but I survived! Just remember to give yourself the time to heal and recuperate.

~ BAR - The Blogging Group: They are hugely responsible for getting me back to writing regularly. I've also been reading some excellent content out there. Writing and reading personal posts and opinions is such a joy!

~ Waffle: We celebrated his first birthday in January and we had a party. Both our parents have finally realized that this is the closest they get to have a grand child and they enjoyed the party. From fitting his entire body on one thigh of mine to just about fitting his head on my lap now, he's grown so much! He's the most sweet, loving, caring and happy puppy we've ever come across. I'm not saying this just because he's ours. He's non-fussy and can stay at boarding without any trouble any time we travel. He's the joy of ours lives and everything we do is centered around him!

~ Pet-Boarding: These people are life savers! Waffle is not too comfortable having dogs around him. He thinks he's a human and loves to hang around people. But, at boarding, he stays happily even if there are 30-40 dogs around him. The staff cares for dogs like the way we do and thanks to this, we don't have to cut back on our travelling. While we miss him when we are away, we don't have to worry about him. From playing with him to feeding him and cleaning him, they do it all and send us regular updates. These places are not kennels, but open spaces that have a large space for the dogs to run around, a swimming pool included! The dogs are let free throughout and they get to have a vacation of their own. Cannot thank such places enough!

~ Love: My partner and I have been together for eleven years now and married for nine. While we have grown up together, most importantly we have matured together. This helps us have any conversation under the roof leaving no room for judgements or arguments. We work in completely different streams, but we understand each other's work and how important it is to us. He has a large hand in my success today as I do in his. We've enabled each other, been there for each other come what may. He's my biggest cheerleader while I am his. This will never change. Having a partner who understands you, all quirks included, is such a blessing.

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So, this is how 2022 has been for me so far. How has it treated you?

Comments

  1. Happy to read about your months and this month too. First of all, big hugs to Waffle. I totally know what you mean. These furry babies are life changers. The best decision the two of you made. Coco helped me a lot during the pandemic too. His sage face and hugs help me so much when I am frustrated. Your Maldives vacation sounds so good. While I always worked from home because I wanted to be around my kids. It really is so flexible and nice. But then being an introvert, I don't need to meet people regularly so that is okay with me. We love road trips with Coco. He really thrives in natural settings. Though he is a senior dog now so we do have to take care that he does not exert himself. Your mood changes during February, it's good that they are gone. Hope they don't resurface but if they do, there is no harm in checking with the doctors. Finally, I really get what you mean by the time going by quickly while dragging.

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    1. Thank you, Rachna. Waffle has changed me so much for the better. Yes, I did not like that feeling I went through. If it resurfaces I definitely will be getting help. Right? I mean nothing much happens but a day is gone. I hope this feeling passes soon too.

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  2. May, started out to be great and exciting, but it's ending with a lot of dull emotions. I'm looking forward to June being a better month :)

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    1. Ditto! Fingers crossed for the both of us :)

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  3. So wonderful to read your action replay after such a long time.
    Waffle is such a cute name. Please post a picture too. He must have brought so much joy to your lives. 43 books !! OMG that's amazing. Congratulations on 14th year. I totally understand staying in one company. I am like that too. I am lucky to work in a place that gives me comfort and also provides space to grow.
    I didn't do very well in writing front as well. Somehow I couldn't find enough motivation even though I have so many ideas, I couldn't push myself to write it down. I am hoping that with these weekly threads in BAR I will get back to writing more.

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    1. Nothing is more important to me than the additional time I get for myself. I'll never compromise on that. I've been following you on Insta and seeing how productive you are is so inspiring.

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  4. Sounds like you had a fulfilling 2022 so far. Your Maldives vacation sounds wonderful, Soumya. Focussing on mental health is an absolute necessity. I am glad that you were able to able to manage through the ups and downs. I am sure having a fur baby helps in maintaining your mental sanity.
    Wish you a beautiful and peaceful June.

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    1. Thank you, Vinitha. Wishing you a brilliant June too.

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  5. I am so happy that you plan on writing more posts here. I miss the blogging community that we had years before. It was a space that felt fun and safe. I don't enjoy how blogging has changed now. Btw, I am planning on making a comeback too and may be this will give me that push as well. Can I just say I have fallen for Waffle. We went Scuba Diving and Snorkeling in Maldives and it was an experience that has stayed with me and I am so glad that you did it too. This reminds me that I had promised to learn swimming in 2015 and I still haven't. May be this year *shrugs*.

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    1. Start writing, Harini. For yourself first and genuine readers will come back for more. Maldives was a dreamy experience and yes, I've promised myself to learn swimming this year. Hopefully it gets done.

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  6. Thank you for a personal post!! This is the reason I keep coming back to blogs - to find something which connects me to the writer and not some random skincare product. Let me find BAR and get inspired too.
    I am so glad you could work around your mental health issues - Covid hasn't been kind to any of us and it has affected our minds. It is best to acknowledge, seek help, and find peace.

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    1. BAR is a Facebook Group and I'll let you know as soon as they start accepting new invites. We need to get back to good old blogging and talk about our lives and random things. I'm tired of sponsored posts. So transactional they feel. I would like to read your post about your recent Italian sojourn :)

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  7. It is so good to hear from you Soumya. Your post is like one of those long letters we used to write to our friends during our summer vacations in the pre-mobile age. There's so much that had me nodding along. Somedays, like you, housework makes me restless too, like it's keeping me away from doing what I truly want to do even though I know it's more in the head than anything else.
    I love the name Waffle and he sounds adorable. We're not really dog people yet I have to confess the idea did cross my mind but the responsibility made me chicken out. Now that the children are becoming independent I'm looking forward to travelling and spending more time with my parents. A dog would make that tough. I love how you both have worked it all out so well.
    I am glad you put up that post at the BAR. It was the perfect catalyst I needed to get things going. It's good to see more activity.

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