10 Things That Made 2019 Great

  1. Classical music. I could write about this forever.
  2. TwoSetViolin. God, these people are amazing.
  3. YLAC – the Counter Speech Fellowship.
  4. Bringing the iPod back to life. And downloading Hilary Hahn’s album onto it.
  5. Discovering music courses on coursera.
  6. Hank Green’s new book, A Beautifully Foolish Endeavour, being announced.
  7. Watching 30 hours of Project for Awesome livestreams.
  8. Careless Whisper.
  9. Chopin – Etude Op. 25 No.11. I jumped out of my seat the first time I heard it. My god.
  10. Claire de Lune. I still cry when I listen to it.

On Rational Self-Love

Photo by Lukáš Dlutko from Pexels

I think it would be a gross understatement if I said that my life is great. It’s blessed beyond belief, I say. But sometimes, I do fall into the trap of blaming myself for things happening in my life that I have no control over.

There’s this certain phase of my life that I’m passing through that had kept me more on the edge than usual. I don’t think it’s necessary to go into the deets of what actually happened, but it is safe to say that after a couple months of feeling this way, I finally am back in my normal head space and I’m currently enjoying being my lowkey self.

The most important thing I learnt is that it never does any good to be bitter about life’s lessons. It doesn’t help if you’re learning from your mistakes but you’re, at the same time, killing yourself for messing up in the first place.

There’s also a fine line between bravery and stupidity; between doing some new and something unnecessary. I think I’ve learnt how to distinguish the two.

There’s also a certain flair in being able to love yourself deeply enough to forgive yourself for your mistakes, but also rationally enough to stop you from making the same mistakes going forward, and that’s something I learnt in the summer.

One of the happiest things I’ve done this week is buy a ukulele and play it all the time. Whenever I get the chance. I was playing it before I started writing, and I probably will once I finish writing too. It is a beautiful instrument. I’m in love with it.

I feel like I’m back in the mindspace that I was in right after New Year, where everything was sorted out in my head, problems weren’t problems at all- just exercises. I flew right through my grade 9 finals without feeling a tinge of doubt or anxiety. If I felt anything in those 2 weeks, it was amusement at myself for ever thinking the finals were gonna be hard. I was never in a bad mood for more than 3 minutes, and that’s a fact.

I can tell, from the way I’ve been for the last week or so, that I’m going back to being that way.

4 Ways to Start Your Year Right

Photo by Matt Duncan on Unsplash

Be grateful and move on.

As Ariana Grande so eloquently put it:

“thank u, next.”

This is going to be my motto for the entire year, because it captures the act of gratitude so well. Being grateful and moving on doesn’t apply only to your exes, but rather any situation in life, whether good or bad.

No matter what happens in life this year, promise to yourself that you will say thank you as a mark of respect and gratitude, and let it go. No matter how good or bad. No matter how happy or sad.

Be grateful and move on.

Call your friends.

It’s the new year! Go out and be social! You’re only going to be able to enjoy the New Year’s Eve of 2019 once, so please don’t waste it by saying you’d rather spend it all alone. I’m all in for peaceful solitude, but only when human interaction becomes too much. If you feel like this on NYE, find yourself a group of friends who make you feel better.

No matter what you do, DO. NOT. BE. ALONE. Not when people matter.

John Green once said, “What you do doesn’t matter as much as who you do it with.”

Do yourself a favour.

Listen to John.

Be okay with boring.

Too often we find ourselves in a heightened state of emotions, and we believe that this is how our life is going to be forever. On a high. Full of adrenaline, and things to keep you up at night and wake you up in the morning. But the moment you see that life isn’t always as exciting as you expect it to be, you go into a state of withdrawal. And that can be painful. Really painful, if you believe that being boring is as good as being, well, not alive. I’m not saying that being boring is the way to live life.

I’m just saying that being boring is okay.

This year, choose stability over constant uncertainty. Choose balance over too much of one and too little of the other.

Dream as big as you can.

Being boring doesn’t mean you need to make your dreams down to earth too. As much as possible, make sure that your dreams are so big, that they even scare you sometimes. Make your dream the most real, most beautiful version of your life you could think of. And please don’t be afraid to dream big. I’m not sure who said this, but they said, “Most dissatisfaction in life isn’t because people couldn’t reach their goal. It’s because people thought of a goal and people only reached that much.”

Don’t try to justify your dreams to everyone. Just don’t forget them.

Happy Birthday, Stupid.

December 3rd, 2018.

Midnight in Singapore.

Sarah, it’s your birthday!

You’re asleep right now (unless you aren’t; hi then) and you’re not expecting this kind of greeting but then I’m weird and I do weird stuff so here goes my little birthday toast to you:

You have been one of my closest and best friends since I was eleven. You are kind, smart, and just great fun being around. I am grateful for the time we had together at school because you made every second better. 

And I know I can’t really do much to make your life better, because you now live like a thousand miles away, so the least I could do is try to make one day of your life better. And so here I am, typing away on my keyboard, trying to throw as much love and joy towards you as you could feel. I wish you a very happy 14th birthday, and I wish you all the love and happiness and success and friends and cake in the world.


Cheers,

Udita.

Road

The sparkle in her eyes

Makes you feel that fairytales are true

She doesn’t even have to try

She can make you swoon from morning to noon


Then she puts on her disguise

Fact or fiction, oh we have no clue

Cause she’s afraid of what she can do


So she set herself on fire

So we could see her burn

But we’ve only heard her whisper

No matter what she’s done


She can’t take it any longer

She’s going to explode

Unless she takes a long drive

Down her favourite road


She was the perfect poster child

Could light up the world with her sense of humour

But now she barely smiles

Oh, what happened there, god knows what hit her


She tries not to cry

But she fears her happy days are over

She doesn’t really think that she’s a failure

She’s just waiting for someone to save her


She set herself on fire

Cause she wanted to be sure

She was gonna be remembered

She thought she wasn’t anymore


Unreal expectations will put her

into overload

Unless she takes a long drive

Down her favourite road

The Joy of Missing Out

Disclaimer: This post is not meant to offend phubbers of any kind. However, this post might change your view on phone usage (or maybe not). Please proceed with caution.

Imagine this:

You’re outside, without your phone. You have no access to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube. You have no idea what your friend is uploading on social media. Nor do you know if you’ve gotten any likes of that picture of your lunch on Instagram. You are absolutely devoid of virtual contact with people.

How does that make you feel? Anxious, or relieved?

If you chose the former, read on.

Actually, it doesn’t matter what you chose. You should still read on.

Phones have blurred the lines between real and virtual life. Phones are the new public menace. It is so hard to stay of your phones these days, it’s next to impossible. Honestly, I checked and edited my Instagram posts 3 times while writing this paragraph.

We have become so glued to our phones, it’s past the point of entitlement. Now, it’s more of a delirious attachment. Let me warn you, what starts out as a plain attachment or addiction can turn out to be a serious mental health issue in the long term.

Dr Larry Rosen, who is the author of ‘The Distracted Mind’ and ‘iDisorder’, provides an explanation for our irrational love for virtual reality:

“With our extensive commitments to our smartphones and our connections to the world through that phone, we check with the virtual world, and then our adrenal gland starts secreting cortisol (among other chemicals), which makes us feel uneasy that we have not checked in recently.”

Whether people describe phone usage as addiction or an obsession, they’re definitely a distraction.

45% of Indian phone users admit that they use their phones for more than 4 hours a day. Say you sleep for 7 hours and work for 7 more, you’re wasting 40% of your free time just using your phone!!

76% say that they check their phones before sleeping and 53% say that they check their phones first thing in the morning. They don’t even brush. They just leap out of their bed, thinking, “Social Media!!!” That’s what I think, anyway. Well, that’s what I used to do, anyway.

Clearly, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is a prime motivator of their mindless phone usage. Because no sane human being would use their phone for 4 HOURS A DAY.

And I get it, because I’ve been there. We’ve all had that crazy fear of missing out on something infinitely more important (at least in our perception) than the work at hand. Maybe you had your holiday homework to do (which I still haven’t finished; my school reopens in 5 days) to do, while all your friends were going out and having the time of their lives.

What FOMO does to you is convince you that what you’re doing is simply less important than what others are doing. You might be writing a PhD on Climate Change, but your Facebook feed will still find a way to make you doubt what what you’re doing. Just when you think you’re getting on the right track, FOMO will knock  on your door and coax into taking a break.

So if you think you’re losing hope, fear not! In the words of master hustler and iisuperwomanii, Lilly Singh,

Temptations to slack off will always be there, and that will never change. What has to change is your ability to deal with temptation. To be successful, you need to be able to look FOMO in the eyes and say NO. In response, FOMO will stand there, pout, and throw a temper tantrum, but you have to be strong and hold your ground. The only way to overcome FOMO is to recognize that the joy of accomplishing your goals is much greater than the disappointment of missing out on a little fun. Parties are fun in the short term, but fulfilling your goals will bring you great happiness in the long term.

There’s more to life than just seeking validation from superficial people. If you do want to use your phone, use it for a good purpose. Don’t just use it to gain more attention. Use it to make a difference.

So, the next time you decide to focus on your priorities instead of aimlessly scrolling through your phone, stop for a minute and soak that feeling of joy in.

The joy of missing out.

And feel proud of yourself.

This blog post has been written with inspiration from The Times Of India newspaper, dated 27th May, 2018.


Also, please do check out my last post, How to Steal Ideas, and show it the love it deserves! Any feedback is greatly appreciated:)


Check out my gal Kasvi Methi’s blog, Profound Findings of an Unfound Highbrow and show her some love! She’s my new contributor, and from next week we’ll be collaborating and providing you with even better content!