As far as years go, 2018 has been a significant one. From 120 million people gaining access to electricity this year to the fall of US cigarette use to the lowest amount ever recorded by the CDC, we’ve set precedents and taken steps towards the world we aim to become. The end of the year is an important and nostalgic time to look back and recognize our successes and shortcomings both in our world and ourselves.
Who we were in years past influences who we are now, but if I met the person I was last year on the street, I don’t think I’d like her very much. 2017 me was a bit of a chaotic mess. She was a stressed perfectionist who cared way too much about what total strangers thought of her. In the words of John Mulaney, she acted like she was “running for mayor of nothing.”…
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.
You know, I often feel like my life is just one big young adult fiction novel, stuck forever in the middle. I’ve been thinking that thought for the last couple of days.
Today, my story started its new chapter. Or, at least, the biggest plot twist.
It involves sports. Wow, I never thought I’d say that in my life.
My sport of interest has never been consistent for more than, say, half a year. Ever since we were allowed to pick a sport in 4th grade, I have jumped from tennis, to athletics, to basketball, to football, and now finally taekwondo. So when I stick with a sport (basketball, in this case) for more than two years, I know that I actually like it.
Soon after moving to my new home, a gated community, I joined basketball coaching classes on the weekdays. The basketball court, in the most basic sense, is the ONLY place where kids my age meet. We have close to no other social life outside of basketball class, trust me. So, obviously, the people who I’ve stuck with in there are nothing short of my best friends. But that still doesn’t stop me from feeling like I need to be on an edge in the court.
Look, whether I or anyone else in this universe admits it or not, I am a nerd. I enjoy solitude with a book in my hand, walking peacefully in the winter sun. I listen to podcasts about the kilogram being redefined, or John and Hank Green joking about death, all while finishing Telugu notes or preparing for my finals (which are a month away-i know, it’s too soon) downstairs.
Doing random things way outside of my comfort zone is definitely something I enjoy once it’s done, but something I absolutely dread while it’s happening. That’s how I felt with this basketball match. I know that there are other, better, actually dangerous things for me to be afraid of, but sue me for being concerned that my heart might pop out of my chest due to nervous tension.
I have never played an official basketball match outside of school, so I am awfully nervous when I go down to play. We start out okay, with a lead of 12-6, but then the good guys(including me) get substituted, and soon the score is 19-25. I am beyond shocked. I am devastated. I am beyond exhausted. I played so well, and so hard, but now we were embarrassingly behind.
I’m on the verge of giving up. Not just pressing-pause-to-resume kind of giving up. The kind the where you stop and have to start all over again.
I. have. never. given. up. Ever.
Not on people, not on tough situations, and definitely, DEFINITELY not on myself or my friends.
So I don’t.
I push. And push. And push. And push harder and harder and the hardest I could and I fight back my fears and my tears and the pain and the despair and I just give it my all. I run into people, snatch the ball, pass, scream until my lungs burned and I’m 100% there in that moment.
I know the situation is more and more like something out of a movie, because after 40 minutes of play, both teams are tied and we go into 3 minutes of overtime. I think that this is do or die. But nah. We both score, and we go into overtime again, this time for two minutes. And I think that this situation is as unpredictable as walking on a tightrope 20 feet up in the air with the wind blowing right at me.
But I hold on. We all do.
For the last 2 minutes, I hold on to whatever hope is left in me and I give it my all.
I don’t know how, but we suddenly have the lead. 29-27. The ball is, literally and figuratively, in the opponent team’s court right now.
But our hope rises just enough for one last boost of energy, and we fight back.
The whistle blows.
Long enough for us to realize that we actually won.
The screams are loud and roaring, and they fill me with the voice to scream too.
I’m running towards everyone. I hug my friend, Akshita, who was sitting on the bench, cheering for us.
I’m hug my friend, Ishaan, who was the reason we won.
The specifics don’t matter because this success wasn’t about individual glory. People told me I was really, super aggressive and I defended like a boss, but that’s not the primary cause of my immense, overwhelming joy.
I often think that my life is one big young adult fiction novel stuck in the middle forever. It’s not always easy, or fun, or even kind.
A long time ago, I was watching this video by Hank Green called “The Parable of The Perfect Pot,” in which Hank outlined an experiment that I’m sure we’ve all heard before in some manner.
Basically, there were two teams assigned with two different tasks. One team had to create the most number of pots, while the other had to create the best pot.
Over the course of the year, Team A worked hard and often quite frantically to make as many pots as humanly possible. And Team B worked hard to come up with the best design for their pot.
And at the end of the year, you know what happened? Team A’s pots were way better Team B’s pots. Team A’s first pot definitely wouldn’t be as good, though, but their last one was great.
You wanna know why?
The whole time while Team B was busy planning and theorizing and thinking about how their one pot was going to be, Team A was actually out there, MAKING THE POTS. And yeah, sure, the first couple of pots would have been pretty crappy, but the more they worked, the better they got.
In the book Atomic Habits, the author James Clear said that
We are so focused on figuring out the best approach that we never get around to taking action.
– Atomic Habits
He also talks about motion and action. Motion is what Team B did. Team B planned, strategized, and learned.
Action, on the other hand, is actually doing what you plan to do. Team A didn’t have the choice to stay in motion, because they were told to only act. And that’s what they did. They delivered outcomes.
This mode of action, of constantly putting out work, willingly or unwillingly, good or bad, is what Hank calls the “Brute Force Attack.” It’s when you try and try and try until you finally reach a goal. It’s very, very exhausting and long. But it’s worth it.
Blogging, in a lot of ways, is a brute force attack as well. At least for me. When I first started blogging, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. All I knew was that I had to do it. Consistently. Now, almost a year later, I still don’t know what I’m doing. Eh, for the most part. But I do know that what I’m doing is fun and people like and I’m connecting with people I’ve never met in my life. I know that I want to keep going and I know that I’m going to get better as I get older.
Later, I realized that this also applies to life. You can either try to spend your entire life planning, dreaming and deciding how to make the best possible, or you can go and live in multiple different ways. You can do as many things as possible to try and figure out what’s best for you.
Anyway, I thought that was a pretty cool thing to talk about.
I was in the mall when I heard this song for the first time. Looking back, I realize how close I was to not knowing this song and also to not writing this blog. I didn’t really want to go out, cause I had homework to do(when do I not?) but my mom kicked me out of the house (not really, I love you, mom). I was actually okay with that. I needed to get out of the house. It was great in the end. Mostly due to this song.
This song is in F Major, which means that I can play it with a capo and E Major chords. If you’re not into guitar, lemme simplify that for you: The song has some of the most harmonious chords in the history of chords.
I was listening to this song again in the car ride back home with headphones on, and I haven’t felt that good in a long time. The original song does have a summer vibe to it, but the acoustic version is just timeless. You can listen to it at any time and count on it to lift your spirits.
Aside from the music part of this song, what drew me to this song is the lyrics. If you’ve been on this blog for a while, you might find me to be an introspective, workaholic, and extremely sensitive person. And this song’s lyrics ring so true to my heart, that I think it’s the most relatable, real song I’ve ever listened to.
Once In a While (Acoustic) is one of those songs that seems to read my mind and throw out all my thoughts in the form of lyrics. It is a subtle experience of knowing that life isn’t always what you expected, and isn’t always the best, but in the end, you realize that whatever comes your way, your life is worth celebrating.