A wise person (who I respect very much) told me when I shared my blog with him – Don’t let perfectionism get in between you and writing. I read his words and silently agreed. While I did that, I must confess I did let perfectionism creep in and prevent me from writing anything after that last post on picture frames. Whether it was due to the fact that I had more “important” things to do or because I thought an idea was not good enough or that the idea needed to be saved for a later day, I let myself procrastinate and not sit down to write whatever came to me. As I get ready for the next phase of my break (a trip back home to India), I want to break this spell of avoidance and leave on a good note so I am forcing myself to get this post out of the way although I have a good deal of packing left to do. (My husband is nervously walking around the house wondering when I will finish my packing :))
Back on the Workout Wagon!
My main focus in February was to get back on the workout wagon. I’ve been forever on and off the habit of working out regularly and I’ve always given myself a very hard time whenever I messed up. After reading Charles Duhigg’s terrific book, “The Power of Habit” I was amazed at how fragile our habits are and how dependent they are on the right triggers. When the triggers cease to exist, so do the habits. Suddenly, it was clear to me why after two long years of working out every single day I suddenly quit when my favorite aerobics instructor quit my gym or why I struggled to get back to working out when I moved to the US in 2008. So this time, whenever I let laziness get the better of me or when I feigned sickness to skip a workout I let myself accept the failure and start back again the next day. At the end of February, I finally completed the Focus T25 – Alpha program by Beachbody. These are intense 25 minute workouts led by the creator of Insanity, Shaun T. Since I wasn’t pressed for time, I stacked 2 workouts together when I did this program. I don’t like measuring progress by pounds or inches lost but I can definitely say my endurance has improved and my kicks are higher, lunges are lower and I can stay in the plank position for much longer. I hope to continue the Beta portion of the program in India. Wish me Luck!
If you enjoy learning about habits I highly recommend this article on the website “The Sparring Mind”. It goes into great details about building habits and everything that comes in the way of doing so!
What I Read
I started to re-read Harry Potter sometime in the summer of 2013 when I found secondhand books in pristine condition at an Open Books store near my gym. I never owned the books until Book #6 because a friend had lent me her books so this was a great opportunity to complete my collection. After reading the first three books, however, life got too busy and I abandoned “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” after a few pages. After I read the thought provoking “Gifts of Imperfection” in January, my mind craved an easy read and what better book than a Harry Potter book to take comfort in. I loved being back in Hogwarts once again – Reading this book took me back a while when I first discovered these books.
After this, I was ready to go back to reading non-fiction and I picked two very apt books given the stage of life I am in – Gretchen Rubin’s best selling books “The Happiness Project” and “Happier at Home”. I have owned these books for quite some time but have this bad habit of reading multiple books at a time and never finishing a book so this time I was determined to read these books from cover to cover.
Both books are about Rubin’s year long efforts to boost happiness in her own life and are chock full of quotes, insights from great authors and the author’s own life experiences summarized in very interesting ways like “Secrets of Adulthood”, “Splendid Truths” and “Personal Commandments”. For anyone who is at the cusp of a new stage in their life, I highly recommend these books. I am one of those people who is forever looking to better myself so I completely relate to the book’s underlying message of consciously working towards a happier life than waiting for it to “happen” to you. Not every day will be a happy, memorable day but life is worth every bit of effort to wake up the next day to make it one. I am a better person for having read these books.
What I watched
Like every other Netflix subscriber in America, I caught up on the latest of Frank Underwood’s sinister activities on “House of Cards”. While I love the show , the binge watching left me tired, exhausted and slightly suspicious of everything around me. I wonder if these shows are written or shot differently to keep the binge watching concept in mind because it was impossible to pause between two episodes. I also watched the movie “Before Midnight” – I love, love the movies “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset” but this movie left me slightly dissatisfied. I also watched the documentary , “Mitt” about Mitt Romney’s two presidential runs. It was an interesting, behind the scenes take and I wondered if the release of this movie was meant to boost his brand image for 2016.
I also watched some wonderful documentaries/shows that I highly, highly recommend:
- Prep School Negro – Filmmaker Andre Robert Lee who grew up in the ghettos of Philadelphia revisits his days when he received a full scholarship to study at one of the most prestigious prep schools in the country. I related to this story on many levels – When I was in 2nd grade, the family made a decision to move to Bangalore so that dad could retire and I could study at one of the best schools in the city, Vidya Niketan School (rated 8th in Education World’s 2013 survey of Most Respected Schools in India). Today, I am very grateful for the opportunity but back then, growing up among kids from the most affluent families in the city, it was tough for me as a little kid to understand why I don’t live in a big mansion or why I don’t have two cars like my friends in school. Here’s the trailer:
- Always a Bridesmaid/First Comes Love – I watched First Comes Love for the first time on HBO. Nina Davenport, a filmmaker based in New York City decided at age 41 to no longer wait for “Mr Right” and have a baby on her own with her gay friend, Eric as a sperm donor. To me the best part of the documentary was when Nina’s friend explained to her that while everyone around her was asking her to make her decision based on logic, her need to become a mother was simple and came from a place of love – Logic vs. Love is a difficult argument to resolve. Always a Bridesmaid is the first documentary from the same filmmaker about her quest to find Mr. Right (which I knew didn’t end up in marriage since I had watched First Comes Love) – I loved the older “spinsters” featured in this movie for their zest for life.
Finally, I want to recommend the show Super Soul Sunday to anyone who wants to refuel their Sundays with inspiration and insight. I think this show is the best way to begin a week. Since I never had OWN on cable earlier, I never caught this show but now that I have I look forward to watching this every Sunday. My favorite episode was Oprah’s conversation with celebrated author and poet Maya Angelou – Watch this snippet where she talks about aging:
What I learned
After years of trying to learn to swim, I completed my first learn to swim class at the Chicago Blue Dolphin studio. The lessons made me more confident in the water and more mindful of my swimming. I can finally tread water but I have miles to go before I can say I am done. I intend to continue swim lessons in the summer when I am back from my vacation.
February was a special month because I finally did something I have always wanted to do – I finally set up and shared my blog with everyone. I am grateful for every single person who wrote back to me with an encouraging comment – It made my day every single time. Working on this blog is a great learning experience for me, a powerful motivation and a way to connect with people – If even one person can benefit from my ramblings I say its worth it 🙂
Now I’m off to pack or my husband will have a nervous breakdown 🙂