Whenever I imagined my post-cubicle life, I always imagined that I’d wake up at 6:00 AM, be a productive, efficient machine knocking away one task after another from my massive to-do list and enjoying planned slots of time to read a book or learn something new. Not so much – I woke up at 10:00 AM or 11:00 AM almost every single day, much to my dread. Also, I wasn’t the model of efficiency as I had expected – there were days of complete sloth. It is interesting to find out that removing work from the equation doesn’t necessarily make rest of life perfect. It takes work to develop the routine one desires for their life.
Fortunately for me, its not like I have anywhere to go in the morning so I am being easy on myself 🙂 I hope to work on turning in early and becoming an early riser before my Month #2 update – I cannot afford to continue missing 3-4 hours of sunlight in an already short winter day!
Here’s a lowdown on how the month of December 2013 was:
Where we went – My break began with a long-awaited trip to Maui, HI. We first went to Maui in 2011 for our honeymoon. Since then we’ve dreamed about the day we’d come back to the ocean, soft breezes and warmth of the island. I never imagined going to Maui at such an awesome time in my life – It was a perfect transition into this new phase in my life.
Celebrations – December is my favorite month of the year for a number of reasons. For one, I love the holidays – its the last time in the winter season when one looks at snow with some optimism. In addition, we have not one but two reasons to celebrate – my birthday and our wedding anniversary. I had a wonderful birthday dinner with some of my most favorite people – It was a great way to turn 30. We celebrated our 3rd anniversary with a nice dinner at Sunda – eating out at a restaurant is fun once again since I don’t do it every other day 🙂 We ended the year with a home cooked dinner of Pav Bhaji, Chicken Kebabs and Brownies – You’d think we had a room full of guests if you saw the amount of food we made but no, it was just two foodies overdoing their enthusiasm – I began 2014 with a heartburn 😐
What I read – Something I promised myself I’d do once I was on a break was to read as much as I could. I love a good book and nothing compares to the rush of finding a book that reels you in. I started my vacation with Khaled Hosseini’s latest book, “And the Mountains Echoed”. I knew it was the perfect book to occupy myself on the long journey from Chicago to Maui because I loved his last two books, “Kite Runner” and “A Thousand Splendid Suns”. The book did not disappoint at all – The story of Pari and Abdullah brought me to tears very often and haunted me. I found such a kinship with the characters that I felt a sense of loss when I ended the book.
I also enjoyed immensely, the books, “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg and “Daring Greatly” by Brené Brown. “The Power of Habit” is a book on how the human mind processes habits, how these are formed, sustained and broken. The book also has some interesting insights into how organizations and communities develop habits. “Daring Greatly” delves deeper into crucial research studies around shame, vulnerability and the habits of what the author refers to as “Wholehearted” individuals (individuals who had a high sense of self-worth and belonging). I highly recommend this book – The video below offers a great preview:
What I ate – I am pleased to say that this month was more about what I did not eat vs. what I ate. I almost entirely gave up Starbucks Chai (which was my vice #1 for a while) and also managed to limit Diet Coke to once in a week or two weeks. Prateek got me a Nutribullet for my birthday so we’ve been enjoying smoothies and green juices too.
What I watched – A big to-do on my item for my break was to catch up on good television shows and documentaries. I caught up with the latest seasons of “Orange is the New Black”, “Girls” and “Veep” – Next on the list is Game of Thrones. I also finally got the chance to watch two women-centric docs: “Miss Representation” (portrayal of women in media) and “The World Before Her” (an interesting contrast between the young women at the Miss India contest and the women’s youth wing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, a right-wing Hindu organization in India) . These are available on Netflix in case you’re interested to catch them – I highly recommend them.
In other news, Prateek and I have spent 3 weeks straight with each other because he worked from home for a bit due to the holidays (and another week due to #chiberia) – something that has never happened before due to our travels for work. Its amusing that we’ve been married three years and we’re experiencing this now but better late than never!