Monday, August 24, 2020

38... sorry, 37

you know you're old when you need to subtract your birth year from the current year to get your age.
-kris, not many years ago


you know you're old when you subtract your birth year from the current year to get your age, and get it wrong.
-kris, 15th august 2020

That's right. It happened. Luckily for me, I realized it before I posted my age anywhere... or wrote this blog post.

It's been an interesting year, for sure.

Last year, on my birthday, I had just passed my UK driving test (oh yeah!), and was preparing for my motorcycle test. My parents were over for a 3 month visit. We were doing one vacation every month.

Things seemed to be going rather nicely. Everything was "on track" - I was checking things off my (imaginary) checklist, and so was Shruti.

In the 12 months since then, things have changed.

Work got busier, our vacations changed from hopping on to a flight/train/bus to hopping onto our newly purchased motorcycle (and usually, taking the motorcycle on and off a ferry).

I discovered the joy of running. And for the first time in my life, I was able to run 5K without limping past the finish line with my legs on fire. I was able to run 5K thrice a week, during my lunch breaks, chatting with my running buddies while we ran. I could probably have run 5k every day if I wanted to, but I didn't.

Shruti got her first full time permanent job in the UK. A big relief (and step forward) for the both of us.

We about a month of dealing with living in a house with both of us working from office 5 days a week.

And then, COVID-19 happened.

Beyond the obvious canceled vacations (and postponed visit to see our family back in India), and the expected cabin fever/work from home etc that everyone we know had (/has?) to deal with, we got to experience more time together than we usually would. For the first time since we met each other, we've been within 12 feet of each other almost 24 * 7. We got to watch each other work, share our ups and downs in ways we never imagined we would.

We also realized that if we take away the social aspect of eating/drinking, it stops being fun. And so, we embarked on a health trip of sorts. No significant exercise, but just eating healthy. Eating clean.

I lost 8kg in 4 months (that's over 10% my body weight). I'm now lighter than I was 20 years ago. The last time I weighed this much, I was an acne-riddled teenager, who hadn't had my first shave yet.

And for the first time, this feels sustainable. Almost.

It feels amazing to be able to use my body the way nature intended it to. And while I'm not in perfect shape, it doesn't seem like i'm very far from it (yes, i know, there's no such thing as "perfect" anything, but let's just say I have an idealized image of what I would like to be).

On the other hand, it's also been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster.

I've tried to ride the rollercoaster the best I can, trying to reach for greater heights, and avoiding the murky depths of no return. So far, so good - but there are times when it feels like it's just sheer luck that keeps me from doing things I'd regret.

I have tried to learn from this year. I have tried to learn differently from this year.

I have tried solving problems as a partnership.

I have tried not "fixing" situations, but working cooperatively to find sustainable solutions for everyone involved.

It's hard to say that it's working - things always seem good until they're falling apart. In fact, things seem better than good until everything flips and it's suddenly a complete disaster.

But I'm learning to see things differently. And I'm also learning that it's not enough to see things differently, but to also try to see things alike. And work together towards that ideal.

Also, after maybe 15 years of "make every moment count", and frantic madness of trying to squeeze the most I can into every day of my life (only to despair when the unsustainability of it all comes back to bite me), I've started treating my life as a journey, not a series of destinations.

I once believed (and publicly stated) "life is too short for reruns". I don't believe so any more. Life is not too short for reruns. Life is too short to waste it doing things you don't enjoy.

Life is too short to waste it trying to be happy within the constraints I've assumed I need to live within.

Life is long enough to make every moment count. Even if it's not on the bucket list.

Life is more than a bucket list. Life does not even need a bucket list. Life just needs you to be mindful of what is fulfilling (not necessarily happiness-generating), and what is not.

Oh, and age is not even a number.

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