It took me forever to get myself to write this blog post because I knew that it was time for me to share this blog with everyone I know – a feeling that made me rue the day I decided to tell folks that I plan to blog. Sharing one’s writing is a very vulnerable act that is made all the more difficult for a perfectionist like me. If you’re someone I know and you like this blog and my writing please drop me a note or leave a comment or like my posts – It will mean the world to me!
January 2014 was cold. So cold that even a die-hard Chicago lover like me is now contemplating moving out someday to warmer pastures. It helps that I don’t have any particular reason to be outside now that I’m not at work everyday – I feel for those people who braved icy sidewalks, slippery roads and cars buried in snow to get to work. The weather did not help my resolve to wake up earlier and I only managed to get myself to wake up around 9 AM – 10 AM everyday (I can imagine you rolling your eyes right about now). I hope that by the end of this year I am a bonafide early riser like my husband Prateek. He is one of those species that wakes up at 6 AM on weekends and I envy that so much. I must say though, despite the cold and the missed morning hours I think I had a pretty fulfilling month. Here’s an update:
Where I went
No where. After 3 years of being on the road for work, all I ever desired in life was to be home on a Wednesday night (no particular reason why I picked Wednesday, just that its in the middle of the week I guess). Thanks to the bitter cold outside I was finally able to get our home set up so that we could finally have people over. Although we moved to our place in August of 2013 we were only partially settled in and the first thing I did in January was to tackle boxes of stuff, order furniture and hang up pictures. Decorating a home is a never ending exercise and I think it is better to leave it that way so that you can add to the place with memorabilia from trips, new inspiring ideas and seasonal decor. In typical consulting fashion, we started the exercise with a spreadsheet and divided the home decoration into Phase 1 and Phase Someday. Phase 1 is now complete and I can finally say I am home!
What I Read, Watched, Listened To
I continued my obsession with author, researcher Brené Brown in January by delving into her book, The Gifts of Imperfection. I’m glad it was given to me as a birthday present because I am going to read this book over and over again until it is dogeared and unrecognizable. I know shame, vulnerability and perfectionism are not the sexiest of topics to read about but the research presented in this book is mind blowing. To read this book was truly cathartic and life changing. Prateek and my sister have heard me quote lines from this book and Daring Greatly a hundred times and they are probably sick of it 🙂 Daring Greatly was just listed in Amazon.com’s “Top 100 books to read in a Lifetime” so I highly recommend that you read about what this lady’s research is doing for people.
Since I was so inspired by this work, I decided to sign up for the “Gifts of Imperfection” eCourse offered by Oprah.com. The course attempts to lead participants through difficult but important concepts like Authenticity, Self Compassion, Courage and other concepts described in the book as being essential towards a “whole hearted” life. It also introduced me to the world of art journaling and I was hooked. I spent many cold afternoons slouched over my coffee table with art supplies and never noticed time go by.
I also had a chance to re-read and finish a book I picked up last year during a particularly busy time and abandoned it after getting through about halfway – Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. The first impression I got when I read the book is that apparently most men do not share 50% of household chores with their spouses – I was glad that I am with a man who not only does 50% but somedays even 100%. I didn’t expect a feminist book to make me grateful for my man 🙂 I was also grateful to my dad and mom for expecting that my sister and I always took charge of our own education and careers. When my friend’s parents were discussing marriage, mine were asking me to get a Master’s degree! If there is one thing I learned from this book it is the importance of setting boundaries and asking for the support you need to excel at your job both at home and at work (ok two things). It’s an important book and one of the many different conversations to be had on this topic. Lastly, I’d also like to hope that it isn’t just women wondering and worrying about managing a family and a career because parenting and raising a family is now more a 50-50 partnership than ever before. And that’s all I have to say about that. 🙂
Since I have rambled on and you’re still reading I would also like to say that I listened to the Nashville soundtrack about a 100 times all of January. I’ve been watching this show from the beginning and in my humble opinion, this show should get an Emmy if only for its music. If you don’t believe me listen to this song and tell me it doesn’t kill you just a little bit:
What I am learning
Of all the things I want to learn (I have a huge list), swimming gracefully without looking like I am drowning is the top one. I decided that it was best to address this first and so I enrolled for the Adult Learn to Swim lessons at the Chicago Blue Dolphins studio. The instructors here are so good that I plan to continue taking more lessons here – I love that swimming keeps my mind focused instead of wandering aimlessly which it tends to do A LOT usually.
I don’t know if this qualifies as learning but I also started the T25 workout by Beach Body in January. The workouts are only 25 minutes but they’re not easy to say the least. It helped that I worked out with a trainer for most of last year so I am capable of the kind of endurance a workout program of this nature needs. I can already see a difference after just a few weeks. The program is split into 2 phases, Alpha and Beta. I hope to finish the Alpha phase before March.
I think January 2014 will be a special memory in the years to come – I spent more time alone than I ever have in the past few years and I loved it.