Thursday, December 28, 2023

2023 Reflections


I was going through some of my older posts from decades back and realized I had forgotten about many of those incidents. These posts serve as reminders of my journey as a person. So, I thought it's probably a good idea to reflect on the year gone by – a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences that defined this year.

Probably one of the significant decisions I made this year was to pursue a 2-year MBA program from BITS Pilani. Quite a few people asked me what the need for it was and if it's even possible to cope with the pressure when the days are already tough with a full-time job and demanding elder care/pets care/home care/plant care responsibilities. I think the answer goes back to September 2009 when I was accepted for the EGMP-XV batch at IIMB. The admission date was Sept 11th, and the classes were commencing from September 21, 2009. But it was on Sept 10th that my life changed when Amma passed. After that, as most of you know, it was a wild ride. So, it was more about getting back to an unfinished task that I wanted to do than anything else. Now that I have completed two semesters and am at the halfway mark, I have to say it is not at all easy but worth the trouble. It is kind of a transformative journey that challenges me to step out of my comfort zone, develop resilience, and cultivate a mindset of continuous improvement.

Another change is shifting home to another city (Kochi). When I moved back to my childhood home, I was happy or thought I would be happy in the place where I grew up, where I could be me, with people who knew me from childhood around. But how wrong I was - you are residing in a place that holds so many memories, especially when those who created those memories are no longer there. It is a bittersweet experience, filled with both nostalgia and a sense of loss. Every room seems to whisper stories of your childhood; each corner of the house is a portal to a time when life felt simpler, and your parents were your anchors. Their favorite chair, their room and lot many other things - when you are surrounded by the physical remnants of their lives, which are now reminders of the void they've left behind. Sometimes rediscovering old family albums, stumbling upon handwritten notes and letters can bring a smile amid the tears. It's a delicate dance between acknowledging the pain of loss and finding joy in the precious memories stored within the walls. Sometimes I've had arguments with Ram because some of the changes and the need to adapt the space to our own life can bring about a sense of guilt, as if we're altering a sacred space. I've been leaning towards the idea that it might be better to keep it as a visiting place rather than a permanent living place. Time will tell how this decision fares.

I hadn't been putting much effort into connecting with people after the weird experiences during the orphaned stage. Other than the ones who were my support system and connected with me constantly, I wasn't looking forward to connecting with others for the last many years. However, I've come to realize the importance of forging meaningful connections and the positive impact they can have on my life. So, I'm making a conscious effort to change my approach now. I'm actively seeking opportunities to connect, communicate, and build lasting bonds with others (not an easy job for an introvert),. It's a shift in my mindset and I'm hopeful that by actively engaging with people, I'll not only enhance my social connections but also enrich my overall experiences and perspectives. Thus, it's been a year of reconnecting—from old PUC classmates to engineering batchmates, extended families, and even new friends from other communities.

I was reading one of my favorite authors today, and she writes, '...the end of a year should be filled with congratulations, for all we survived... And a new year should start with promises to be kinder to ourselves, to understand better just how much we bear as humans on this exhausting treadmill of life.' So as we turn the page on 2023, let's remember the times we laughed, the moments we learned, and the instances we grew. Of course, there's something magical about a fresh start, and 2024 holds the promise of new beginnings. As we embark on this journey, may the upcoming year bring not just new opportunities but also a sense of peace and good health. Let's take a deep breath, embrace the memories, and step into the future with optimism.

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