Jan 6, 2017

New year on a note of gratitude

Hi everyone! 

Much as I would like to subscribe to the view that each day is the beginning of a new year, the feeling of an actual new calendar year is still exciting! The last page of my 2016 diary has been written up. All the receipts and papers of the last year have been transferred to a new 2016 folder that has gone to live in the lower cupboard instead of in my desk. The 2015 folder has joined its brothers in the archives on the top shelf. The last box of decluttered items is waiting for the recycling guy in the shed. This year I even managed to clean out the garage and get rid of a lot of junk - some of which was as old as Karthi!!! 

My old planner and new diary! I am a BuJo fan now. No planner that I bought over the years was completely satisfactory because they had no space for the myriad things I wanted to keep track of.  That is when I encountered the Bullet Journal - a planning system that is (a) totally customizable, (b) very economical - you can adapt any notebook for this planner and (c) gives a lot of creative opportunities as well. I started BuJoing in an old blank notebook after watching this video. After using up that old notebook, I got a Fabriano dot grid notebook in the last third of 2016. One of the beauties of this system is that you needn't change the planner for the new year. But the thing I love the most about the BuJo is that there is no more blank-page guilt!  If for some reason I feel like not planning ahead for the coming week or several weeks, I needn't do so and can take up planning when I want to without leaving any blank pages. The funny thing is, since starting BuJoing, I have not wanted to stop planning, which actually makes for much more organized living...

Among the several things I used the BuJo for, one was tracking the number of books I was reading. I started tracking from September 1 and entered the names of books that I read in their entirety. I no longer read any book that has not drawn my interest in the first five pages or so. Even so I completed 60 books in 4 months - an average of 15 books per month. No wonder I do not have enough time to blog any more!!! So one of my resolutions this year is to read fewer books - I'll let you know how that goes, but I am not very optimistic myself! I have also decided to write a precis of the books that I read. So far on the 6th day of this year I have written 4 precis :). And here is a collection of books on my desk waiting to be read in the new year..

2016 has left so many memories - I don't want to call them good or bad. But I have never had to encounter such emotional pain in any year before. As if the passing of my mother was not enough, my uncle - Ma's brother - too passed away after a lingering illness. It was a year of funerals. Five of my friends lost their parents last year and it seemed as though condolences were never far from my tongue or the tips of my fingers.

But one thing I realized this year is how sorrow happens to deepen relationships that are worth the name. Shared joy is all fine, but I have found shared sorrow halves the pain and deepens fellow-feeling. I am so grateful to my friends and relatives who stood by me in this trying year. This is the year that I really blessed social platforms like Whatsapp and Facebook. They brought my friends even closer.

This was also a year of traveling and new experiences like scuba diving among coral reefs and watching a  football tournament final in a stadium. It was also a year in which I could attend three reunions of old classmates. I am still savoring the laughter and fun of those gatherings. Apart from the Lakshadweep trip, our later travel was mostly for visiting friends and family, rather than just pleasure trips. 

In fact, relationships has been the kind of the focal theme of 2016 - whether it be among friends, relatives or neighbors. And if I had not got the message, I got the link of a video about the results of a 75-year-long Harvard study that was conducted to find what brings real happiness to people. It underscored the importance of maintaining good relationships. If you have not done it already, I recommend that you watch this video too. The minutes you spend to watch it will surely be some of the best investments of time that you can make. 

Our year ended with remembering our mother once again...

This year we chose to spend the first of January quietly at home, catching up with extended family and spending some quality time with each other. It felt so good, the calm and the quiet. I hope that will be the theme for 2017. 

Wish you all a wonderful new year!

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