The last week of December is a nice time for reflection. We recall all the memorable times, both good and the not so good. It is human to carry the burden of regret and sadness—both are a part of life. I hope you’re making note of all the good moments, because those are the ones that make us smile. It is much better to learn from those tough times, and move on. We cannot turn the clock back, but we can certainly make every present moment count.
I’ve had my share of sh*t-happens, let downs, and moments of fury. But I’ve learned not to harbor those feelings in me—simply because I prefer to be healthy, grateful and happy, rather than sulky and miserable.
I’ve learned not to put the key to my happiness, in someone else’s pocket. A very long time ago, my aunt wrote me a letter, and she wrote in it: “Nobody owes you anything. Not your parents, not anyone” and somehow, that line has stayed with me, always fresh. When we accept this, life gets easier and expectations are fewer.
On that note, I am all set to savor some of 2016’s grateful moments.
The year began with a quick trip north, followed by all of us showing solidarity by falling sick and recovering. It meant a lot of TV, stepping back from being busy and enjoying some well-earned rest. The laughter was so welcome. I binged on a lot of trashy movies that didn’t make it to the box office, but found their way into my heart. Also got featured in the top 10 personal development blogs 2016 by Wisdom Times.
We had a quiet wedding anniversary. 20 years. Nice round number and so grateful for a fabulous life partner. I also realized the joy of an unexpected date – one well worth repeating. I did. We also had the elevators in our apartment complex replaced and are now enjoying not getting stuck between floors. Ironically I stopped using it and prefer to take the stairs–every little cardio helps, eh?
Lovely short trip to son’s campus followed by some fab digital detox. I had a proud moment when I hit inbox zero. Short-lived, nevertheless proved possible! I saw baby peacocks (peachicks?) for the first time – over 15 of them huddled in the middle of the basketball court. Sweet!
I usually enjoy April for the AtoZChallenge, and ambitiously signed up with four blogs, but managed to reach the finish line only on two on time, and almost, on the other two. Normally this would have stressed me out, but this time, I didn’t allow it to. I had too much going on offline and simply focused there. I also made an unexpected trip to Shanghai, and what an experience that was! I also tearfully wrote a 57 things I learned from Prince, after the legend decided to entertain those who’ve let go of their life on earth. Sigh. I also fondly remembered my meeting with The Dalai Lama in April last year and wrote about it.
So thrilled son did his summer project in our city, and of course, silently hoping next year is the same! Can’t keep a Mommy down, ya see! May went in a haze of mixed happenings. I changed my name on social media from Vidya Sury to Vidya Devi Sury after a campaign around Giving Mom What’s #Righ
I was excited to started working with a publisher to edit author manuscripts. I love the work! I also enrolled at the gym to keep fit and it has been fun!
With my son home, I was totally tuned in to the positive. I spent some wonderful moments at the campus where my son was doing his summer project, catching up on reading, meeting old friends and writing in my journal and sketching. And thus was my food blog born. I found myself posting so many food pictures on Instagram, and receive so many recipe requests, that I thought I may as well record it all on a blog and thus, Cooking with Mi was born. Food, stories, tips, conversations, recipes, humor, laughter, all served with a heavy dose of love. The header for CookingWithMi.com evolved from a random sketch I made and I fine-tuned it. Look:
One day, while walking on the terrace with my family we saw a double rainbow. It is wonderful when there are no wires attached, yet we feel connected.
A pleasant month that brought close interaction with my son’s music teacher, who is a great inspiration. I also connected with a classmate after 30 years and it felt wonderful. And of no small significance is the fact that I covered my balcony with a net for freedom from pigeon poop. That the wily ones have found alternate ways to annoy me is a different matter. Still, gratitude unlocks happiness, and I discovered that in many ways.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” – Melody Beattle
August brought a lot of good vibes in the form of impromptu trips, lovely emails from blog readers, I also printed my business cards and felt super-delighted. I spent a lot of time going through old notebooks and my legendary cupboard that simply refuses to get decluttered. But the joy of the process? Super!
I celebrated my birthday. I had the scare of my life, a harrowing experience that ended in safety. However, I managed to enjoy a much-needed soul cuddle fest. I became a grand-aunt, again. I went into declutter overdrive and felt grateful to find recipients.
After battling with it for nearly two years, son’s passport got renewed. Everything that could possibly go wrong, did. Patience paid off. We celebrated. There were plenty of issues to tackle, and I did what smart people do: when the going gets tough, the tough take a coffee break! Because I know that all problems are temporary.
November found me practising gratitude steadily, because life is always better when I do! It is the only way to deal with deaths, sickness and other troubles like demonetization. And I was once again sad that we were not with our son on his birthday. I focused on the good stuff. I was also proud about the launch of my book “Winding Road to Freedom” where 15 entrepreneurs share their journey to financial freedom. November was also the NaNoWriMo month and I wrote like a demon, clocking in at 102,803 words.
December has been a happy month in many ways, mainly with our son’s visit for his end-semester break. We’ve been busy with friends, outings, cooking and generally having a pleasant time. So grateful for life. Sure we’ve had some not so great moments, but when we see them in perspective, we know they’ll fade and we’ll only remember the good stuff.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, because each day brings joy in myriad forms. Yes, I am sad for the loved ones we lost in 2016 – family and well-loved celebrities, but I am grateful we knew them.
I am especially grateful for …
- My offline friends that are like family
- Being featured on various blogs across the web via round-up posts or top 100/50 lists
- My work and loyal clients
- My growing library of books
- You—all my readers, and all those who participate in the Gratitude Circle blog hop every month.
In 2017 . . .
I am looking forward to more travel, more reading, more sketching, painting, staying healthy via a new regimen, more connecting with friends offline, and more writing, naturally. Also, more baking. Overall, enjoying every moment.
I have a long to-do list (but, of course) that I am looking forward to enjoying doing. This includes publishing those books I worked on during November’s NaNoWriMo. I am also looking forward to growing my food blog in the coming years. I am also working on a couple of new projects with my friend that will keep the pressure going, in a good way.
The decluttering saga at home goes on. Grateful to all those who happily receive what I give away. But I know 2017 will be the year I’ll successfully reach my decluttering goals, such as they are. Both in life, and with people, and things.
I am embracing the lessons learned in 2016, and am all set to make 2017 meaningful and happy.
What about you? How would you describe your 2016? What are you looking forward to, in 2017?
“Happiness is itself a kind of gratitude.” — Joseph Wood Krutch
Five gratitude quotes to live by, in 2017
“Find the good and praise it.” — Alex Haley
“Gratitude is like a flashlight. If you go out in your yard at night and turn on a flashlight, you suddenly can see what’s there. It was always there, but you couldn’t see it in the dark.” Dawna Markova
“If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.” Meister Eckhart
“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” John F. Kennedy
“Every day, tell at least one person something you like, admire, or appreciate about them.” Richard Carlson
Join me for the December 2016 Gratitude Circle blog hop with your own posts. Show off the Gratitude Circle badge in your post. Add your post link to the linky below.