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About 2018


So, what’s your New Year’s Resolution?

(On Monday — )How was your weekend?

(On Friday —) What plans for weekend?

What plans do you have for 31st Dec?

These small talk questions are so annoying. If you’ve an unconventional answer to such questions it leads to follow ups seeking explanations. And, more grilling.

You dare say that you don’t have any resolution for the new year. You dare say that the way you are going to party on new years eve is to watch Netflix and sleep this year to wake up in the next.

I dare you say that. 

Especially to the ones who just wanted to have a small talk while washing hands next to each other in the washroom or filling water bottles or walking down the aisle sharing an awkward silence.

They expect a general one line answer to such polite and generally accepted inquisition.

But the problem arises when you have an unconventional response. In that case, it gets really hard to explain it to people.

Easy way out is to just answer with the obvious and move on. Easier is to laugh it off using a pun. (Note, before you think of applying any of my advice-Everything I say or suggest has exceptions 😉 )

Some unconventional answers to the small talk kickstarter questions:

* I don’t have any New Year’s Resolution. 

* I really don’t remember there were two days between Friday and today. 

* I don’t have plans for this weekend because all week I was super occupied.

* I plan to spend 31st eve in absolute solitude. 


Be that as it may, this year I do not have any New Year’s Resolution. Reason being, I have seen myself fail miserably in keeping up with them. The motivation soon dies down and I return to the same old normal, accepted routine or habit.

I recently listened to this podcast on FarnamStreet featuring Adam Robinson, the investor. In it, Adam mentions, why he doesn’t have New Year’s Resolutions. Instead what he does at the end of every year is to look back at the year gone past to make note of the lessons learnt and apply them in the coming year.

Inspired by it, here’s the non-exhaustive list of lessons the year 2018 taught me. 

  1. Life is a game of tumbling tower:
    For things to be normal in your life a lot of stuff has to be right or just about right. You have to have a healthy body, sound mind, a satisfying job, a supportive family to be able to function normally. Even the slightest of deviation in any of the stuff that matters to you can deeply impact your life. 
    Recall the times you’d get a severe headache. Or, when you had a big fight with your spouse. Slight abnormality can change your whole outlook, behaviour, and even future. 
    Life is a game of tumbling tower, to be normal it seeks a fine balance like that of a rope walker.
  2. Everyone teaches you something:
    Even the ones you hate. Even the ones you detest to the deepest levels teach you something. They show you what you don’t have to become. 😉
    However, if you look closer. Chances are you will find something good in them which you can assimilate. Choice is always yours.
  3. Struggle is definitely personal:
    You’re the only person who knows what it took to reach where you are. To do what you did. To achieve what you achieved. The world might see your successes, but struggle is definitely personal.
    Others might witness a part of it. Or you might narrate it to them later. But eventually, it is your struggle. No one will know it the way you know it. No one will understand it the way you bore it. You were the person undergoing turmoil, your struggle is always personal. Don’t expect empathy from people who seldom understand what you endured.
  4. Caring demands sacrifice:
    You fucking protect the people you care about. If it means hiding things from them, so be it. If that means you swallow the bitter pill in exchange of the smile on their face, so be it. If that calls for shielding them from truth, so be it. Protect them, stand by their side, do everything in your power to protect them from harm. Endure on their behalf, befriend silence, wear a mask, do it all. All caring works that way. All caring demands sacrifice.
  5. Truth you discover by yourself > Anything you were ever told
    Well someone can tell you how difficult it is to run a half marathon, how tough it is to keep a relationship going. But all you would get is a rough idea or distant sense of what it is like to be in the arena, with your skin in the game. Contrast this with you discovering it by yourself, experiencing it on your own. The truth that you unravel makes the most impact on you. Recall the time when someone you trusted backstabbed you. (For more, speak to an atheist who once followed religion)

I’ve always believed that your experiences shape you as a person. That, you’re the summation of all the experiences you gathered over the course of your time on earth.

In Two Thousand Eighteen (just realised how weird it is to write it this way) I see troughs and crests. A mix of good and bad. And, when I look back at it, I say — Thanks!

-Shaf

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