I recently read this illuminating post on the blog Zen Habits about procrastination being rooted in a fear of some sort. I consider myself a habitual procrastinator so obviously I was quite intrigued when I stumbled upon the post.
I’ve always been a procrastinator for as long as I can remember. In fact the story of how my penmanship came to be as legible and neat as it is today, comes from procrastination that began early on in my life. In second grade we were all handed a cursive writing book at the beginning of the school term and asked to practice writing a page a day. Of course, I put off the task until the end of the term and one fine day my teacher reminded us gently to bring our completed cursive writing books to school on the next Monday. My sister happened to visit us that weekend from college and she was not happy when she saw that I had a brand new nearly fifty page book to complete before Monday. Through the weekend, she grit her teeth and sat around with me while I missed play time with friends and wrote pages after pages in my book wondering why I didn’t get to this sooner. After that weekend of intensive writing my penmanship was never the same. My tendency to procrastinate went nowhere, however.
When I started to think about why I’ve procrastinated getting to my monthly recap blog posts, I realized that I have let my fear of not being good enough seriously take over in this aspect. As I mentioned in my last post that I wrote after some serious brooding on this subject, I am finding it is very important to let go of my own and others’ expectations on how I spend my time, when I start to look for jobs and what I achieve during this time away from a full time career. It has made it easier for me to push forward writing this post and break a long, long spell of writer’s block.
Bye Bye Bangalore
It has always been hard and somewhat gut wrenching to leave Bangalore at the end of a vacation but this time after I had spent three months in the city where I grew up, I had so many mixed feelings it was hard to understand how I truly felt about being back. While I am glad to be back to managing my own affairs in my own space, I miss the warmth of family and community that surrounds my parent’s home. I miss the smells and sounds of my mother’s kitchen, the smell of jasmine and sandalwood paste from my dad’s prayer room and all the small talk I had with everyone I encountered during the day like the boy who delivered our newspaper, the maid who cleans our home and the relative who showed up at our home, unannounced. This time, apart from meeting friends and relatives to say goodbye at the end of my trip, I also spent a whole week with my in-laws (something I had never done without my husband around). I had a great time and ate everything that was offered to me knowing I was going to pine for this gluttony in just a few weeks. Leaving Bangalore this time around was like when I left home in 2008 for the first time ever since I wasn’t coming back to a job or any concrete idea of what to expect in my future.
I find that transitions are very challenging for me to manage. I take longer than most people to settle into routines and continue from where I started. This time, knowing this fact fully helped because I was more forgiving when I couldn’t get to the gym every single day or had way too many take out meals. Having spent three months away from a consistent workout routine had made it very hard to get back to a habit of working out. When I could manage, I walked outdoors, worked out at the gym or hung out at the pool in my building. I spent a good deal of time watching back episodes of my favorite show, Super Soul Sunday. It was a great time to re-center myself and introspect and what better inspiration than the brilliant guests that Oprah brings to this show.
Setting new priorities
Something that I promised myself I would do when I left my parent’s home this time was to always make sure I called them as often as I could. When I was busy at work last year, I was never quite good at managing this and I often called home out of guilt rather than a genuine desire to speak to my folks (admitting this here is inducing major guilt pangs in me but I must say it out loud because it is the truth). In the last few months of being back in Chicago, I have found a sense of comfort in talking to my parents almost every other day and I have a new renewed bond with them. I am so grateful that I got to repair and nurture this relationship because it is the most important one in my life.
June 2014 was an important month for me as it was when I first made a move towards getting more deliberate about my faith. I was initially hesitant to write about this since faith is such a personal subject but since it has been such a pivotal change in my life this year I consider it important to share.
I have grown up in a traditional Hindu family and while I imbibed my family’s deep faith and inclination to pray, I have always tried to keep an arm’s distance from rituals, ceremonies and public displays of faith because I find it hard to relate to them. Until last year, I was very quick to tell people I was spiritual but not religious but truth be told, I was doing very little to really further my spiritual growth. This trip back home taught me that if I was to consider myself a spiritual seeker, I needed to create my own traditions that help me stay grounded and centered so that I wasn’t just paying lip service to my identity of being a spiritual person. With this thought, I began a weekly tradition of my own simple version of a puja (Hindu prayer ritual). It has been my source of comfort, inspiration and a way for me to reconnect with what I believe in. It is something that will remain a priority in my life.
That was all for June 2014! Thank you for coming back to check in on me, writing with your comments and bearing with my severe procrastination.