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On tackling life when it’s a tightrope walk

I have not blogged as often as I would like to lately and it certainly is not for lack of things I want to express! The truth is that I have been feeling overwhelmed lately. It’s that point that I reach every now and then, when I have been piling stuff onto my plate…all good stuff that I really want to do and really enjoy and some not-so-good routine stuff that I need to do…but when I reach the point when the plate is overflowing and the panic attack begins, that is not a nice place to be.

At time like this, when the panic attack is at its vicious worst and I still have to maintain an exterior of normalcy as well as keep up the tempo in all the good stuff I have taken up, there are two options.

1- Strike! Withdraw, take a forced break, breathe deep and come back with renewed vigour.

2- Attack! Renew social connections. Call on the connections of the heart, all my friends who really know me. Talk to them, interact, laugh, cry and let the stress seep out of me.

This second option, strangely, works for me much better that taking a break while trying hard not to hyperventilate! All this interaction stuff can be done in this age of technology without taking even a moment’s break from the list of tasks. Getting positive reinforcement from people raises my motivation levels higher and the energy needed to push myself more is then easier to generate.

In the same spirit, I attack my blog with renewed passion. I cannot let go this…which has become so much a part of me. Which helps me connect to people I don’t yet know, that larger energy circle that I shall reach out to in the future.

Of course, there are some things that I end up compromising on. The gym, for instance has taken the back seat these past few days. I’m working on setting that back on track as well….

Coming to terms with my hypocrisy: Urban vs Suburban in India- May 23, 2012

I don’t like the concept of a gated community, yet I live in one. I believe traveling by public transport is the right thing to do as well as immensely enjoyable and cheaper, yet I admit I do drive to work at least half the time. My action towards conserving electricity is to set my air conditioner’s thermostat to 27 degrees C instead of the preset 24 degrees C.  I can no longer live comfortably without air conditioning.

Someone asked me today whether they should invest in a posh apartment somewhere in Noida that would be delivered four years later, or buy a flat in a not-so-upmarket but conveniently located South Delhi neighborhood. I began to tell them about lifestyle choices and how, once they are made, they trap you in their iron grip, dictating your daily choices thereafter!

We should know! We moved to Gurgaon as renters initially. We were about to have a baby a few months down the line and where we lived in South Delhi, we couldn’t envision being able to even take the baby for a walk in a pram! The secure, open, green spaces and childrens’ play areas in Gurgaon’s gated colonies made perfect sense at that time and continue to do so now. Neighboring families were kind of clones of ours- similar age group, life stage, backgrounds, lifestyles, even aspirations at times. And so we bought into this lifestyle. We did not, however, bargain for a car trip for daily shopping and a completely automobile dependent urban environment where crossing a road could lead to a mental breakdown!

Inside the above-mentioned not-so-upmarket South Delhi neighborhood, afternoons are drowsy and evenings lively. Neighbors fight over water supply and often have nothing in common, but it’s possible to get all your household supplies within walking distance. Ice cream can run out at ten in the night in the middle of a dinner party and it would just mean running round the corner to replenish your stock!

I’m comparing the above two scenarios because price-wise, a family would have to make this sort of choice. I made mine for specific reasons, but now I live a life at complete odds with my ideological stance. Is that hypocrisy? Yes, it is. Can I or would I change that? No easy answers to that!

Each day at a time! My mantra in the face of no logical solutions- Feb 15, 2012

So much to do and so little time! I’ve been wondering the past few days about why I always feel like this. I don’t work full time and yet I manage to fill every minute of my day with deadlines and tasks. The good part of this is that life is constantly exciting; the fallout is that I get the feeling of being a Jack of all trades and Master of none. And that isn’t a super nice feeling, I can tell you.

As of now, I work 2-3 days a week, learn dance for 2 hours every week, which sort of takes up one half of the day, learn music on Saturday and Sunday mornings for an hour each, write a blog that takes an hour every day, besides households chores, kiddie rendezvous etc.

I’m reading ‘The Music Room’ by Namita Devidayal in which she describes her bonding with her aging music teacher and the conflicts between her modern life and learning music in the format of the traditional guru-shishya parampara. I have felt terribly guilty, while reading the book, for not giving my music more time and attention. And while I tell myself that I sing and dance to indulge my interests and not with the intention of performing or competing with anyone, I still regret that I do not find time to hone my skill and reach that sublime place of knowledge and achievement that I have experienced fleetingly when I learnt music as a child and young adult.

And then, besides the need to reach certain skill levels in the arts, there are so many other areas where focused attention and time make all the difference: work that might require extra reading, reading that may open your mind, physical exercise for fitness and to feel good, social life, family time and so much more!

The answer, it seems, lies in being able to prioritize; but here’s the deal: To prioritize would mean to make choices, to decide what stays and what goes. In this scenario, I cannot give up on any element since they all play a significant role in contributing to the quality of my life. In fact, I can think of about ten more things (like painting, travel, photography and more dedicated writing time) that I would want to add to this list!

Other solutions? 48-hour days? Lower expectations from myself? Rotate activities every quarter so you get to try everything? Give up work altogether for a year to soak up all the wonderful experiences and then decide if I ever want to work again? None of them sound convincing or possible… I continue to hang in the balance, taking each day at a time and squeezing as much out of each day as I possibly can.

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