I have terribly procrastinated writing these monthly updates and as a consequence I’m sitting here trying to hammer these posts out before the year ends and no one wants to talk about 2014 anymore. After that, I tell myself, I won’t delay any posts and will always write regularly and frequently – I am always a foolish optimist but this time of the year brings about an unusual level of optimism even in me.
New experiences, old friends
Two days after we got back from our travels, my friend D invited me to his parent’s lake house in Bass Lake, Indiana. I’ve always wanted to visit and it turned out to be a weekend PK had to work so I decided to abandon huge piles of laundry, a messy house and my need to get back into a routine and just left. The weekend was simply perfect – I kayaked for the first time, we (D, his boyfriend K and I) whipped up an Indian meal, sat around a bonfire late into the night and laughed at the same old stories and jokes. Perhaps the highlight of the weekend was the new memory we created, “The time Nisha attempted to water ski and FAILED”. I may have failed but I am pretty proud of myself for even trying. I am envious of people who are outdoorsy without much effort and who seemed to have been indoctrinated into this lifestyle at a very early age. My friend D promises that we’re trying again next summer – I look forward to the impressions and laughs I am bound to supply with my next attempt.
A week later, two of my most favorite people in the world, my cousins S and P visited Chicago for the weekend. The weekend began with a fun filled afternoon on Devon street looking for a wedding outfit for S. After some amusing encounters with the cast of characters on Devon street my cousin zeroed in on a gorgeous royal blue ensemble. Stunned that we had managed to finish this big to-do item in just a few hours we celebrated with a couple of bottles of wine by the fireplace in my building. This is how I remember rest of the weekend: wine, conversations and more wine. PK had to work this weekend as well and while I was bummed that he missed out on the fun I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the “girls only” time we had!
What I read
September is the last month of bonafide good weather in Chicago so I must admit most days were spent whiling away and taking in what little good weather was coming our way. I did manage to get back, somewhat, into reading a little bit more this month.
The first book I read was the book on Impressionist paintings PK bought for me at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. The book is called, “Impressionism: 50 paintings you should know”. I loved this book and the format – If not the complete picture, the book gets you interested in famous works of art and draws you in. What I also love is to know more about is the artist and their relationship with their art. Reading this book made me realize that I could possibly have a better musuem experience if I made an attempt to connect with art on a personal level. I’ve always found my musuem experiences to be less than satisfying before and after this book and my experience at Musee d’Orsay I think I’m looking forward to my next museum visit.
The other book I read in September was Brene Brown’s first book, “I thought it was just me (but it isn’t)”. The book is a deep dive into how we experience shame. This book was a tough read – The author herself admits that human beings feel deep levels of shame just talking about shame. In fact, whenever someone asked me what I was reading and I said “Oh … this book about shame”, I always got this twisted, conflicted look thrown back at me. Why would someone read a book about shame? Sure. It’s not a sexy topic but I think it’s a worthy subject to read about. Both women and men are constantly subjected to conflicting expectations all the time and shamed when they don’t match up. You’re a woman – you’re supposed to be gentle, nurturing and easy on the eyes. You’re a man – you’re supposed to be manly (whatever that means), protective and a sealed box as far as emotions are concerned. These standards and expectations (from society, our community, sometimes even our families, loved ones and ourselves) are unlikely to vanish anytime soon so isn’t it our duty to recognize the shame that creeps in when we don’t match up to these ideals and nip it in the bud before it takes over our life? I think so. Reading this book has given me some vocabulary on the subject and has saved me from a lot of trouble that I was needlessly subjecting myself to.
Failing and being OK with it
The experience in September that taught me the most was the job interview with a company a friend of mine works for. The job was perfect, the people seemed great and I was really hoping for everything to work out. Of course, it didn’t and the best part of it all is that I worked my way through the dissapointment in a logical and rational fashion. It would have been a great story for sure if I landed the job – Girl quits her busy job, takes a break and gets an awesome job exactly a year later – but I recognize that I was chasing that story more than the job itself. I am amazed at how much I think I know myself until something comes along and breaks that myth for me. This was one of those. This experience has put to rest the impatience I carried in me for my transition back to a career. I am open now to the idea that it may take some time and may not come easily. It’s quite liberating because it frees me from expectations that unnecessarily keep me from enjoying what is easily the best phase in my life so far. I’m not the best at handling failure, much less talking about it, but this time I decided that I would talk about it openly and not let the experience shame me or define me. The more I did, the less it mattered.