another shower another thought… what do I need to do to come out of this lock-down better than I came into it.
We’re all locked up at our homes supposedly helping the world fight the invisible enemy. This is a nice global detox that is working or at least should be working at so many levels. For starters the amount of plastic waste flowing into the oceans has reduced significantly, same for the amount of toxic fumes from transport and industry. People are not consuming as much processed food, refined sugar rich treacly sweet soft drinks. Even consumption of tobacco, meat and alcohol is down by a significant factor. No one is out on the streets so crime is down as well specially crimes against women. De-Tox at multiple levels as I said. So the thought was “what could be the extra bit that as an individual I could do to somehow make this work wonders for me as well”. I thought about it and here’s what came to mind:
- sleep better: People when they hear sleep better immediately think lights out at 2100, hit the ground running before sun up. No. I meant better not harder. Every individual is different and every individual has different body clocks. Most people, fit into the nine to five pattern and it suits them well. However, depending on how a person works and plays there are those who do not fit into the early to bed early to rise pattern. I for instance go to sleep not before 2AM and usually wake up by 5:45AM! But sometimes I also feel like sleeping on till maybe 8AM. No consistency is my motto in life. Consistency is for condensed milk, real people are not machines or milkmaid condensed milk… real people are variables not static at least should be. Routine is all good but then anti routine is also a routine, think about it. Variable sleep patterns has worked very well for me because I work with teams in different continents, including west coast of North America and eastern Australia and New Zealand (as opposite as opposite ends could be). More important I live mostly in my own head (oh man it’s a star-wars battle zone in there most days… light sabres, blasters, force chokers the whole shebang). With the late to bed and early up routine I can do my thinking in peace, at least peace without in any case… within is more of a day of the week/side of the bed dependent status. So what do I mean when I say I want to sleep better? I guess I just mean I want to sleep guilt free. It’s fairly difficult to sleep guilt free is what I have realized over the past so many years. It is probably something that will never happen but this is one thing I would like to attempt to fix at some point. Some people will say “what you’re experiencing is not guilt but sleep apnea and you can easily fix it by sleeping in a pattern”. No, that is not what it is and if you think you can out shrink the congregation of shrinks in my head you can go take a hike (and tell yourself what I really wanted to write while out hiking). So yes I need to work on sleeping guilt free, it’s more of an in the head thing really. Maybe try out disciplined sleeping for a while. Maybe not worry about leading by example too much, after all guilt free sleeping is a trait to pass on to the kids that is equally if not more important than disciplined hours. Sleep needs to be meaningful not routine just because you’re supposed to.
- Read better: in a word count sense I probably read around 50000 (yeah fifty thousand words a day). That’s roughly 100 pages single spaced. I read anything and everything even crappily put together stuff like news reports (seriously editors need to be shot up their arses for passing the sort of content that gets published, badly researched, badly worded and what-a-wow grammar). I just don’t have the patience to stick with a single book for too long which is why I binge read books when I do read books, like start in the evening, read through the night and be done by dawn then go watch the sunrise as I process what I just read. Most of my reading is disorganized and what I am doing is mostly picking up data which I process offline into information. That’s the thinking part which requires the odd sleeping patterns, the rumination bit. Now during this lock-down I would like to figure out how to stick to a book across days. Read consistently maybe start with 20 pages a day and work my way up. The idea is to organize my reading so that I can reduce my post processing, the thinking and at the same time read more. Right now because binge reading would interfere with work I read maybe one book a month with consistent controlled reading I would be able to move that up to four a month. That is an inspiring target. Let’s see, in the immortal words of P. T. Barnum, it starts tonight! (ok just the on screen Barnum.)
- Eat better: Simple, just eat less of sugar, spice, oil and all that’s nice. Focus more on raw foods, unprocessed and minimally cooked. I anyway follow the intermittent fasting pattern of eating (a little more rigorous than Jain meal patterns a little less rigorous than Ramzan fasting). This is not to lose weight but more to clear up my head and refine my thought process. You see everything so far, sleep, read, eat, has been leading up to better thinking ability. I guess now I know what is most important for me, my thoughts. So yes put into my body what is only absolutely essential. Pay attention to my food and if possible go on reducing it to the point where all I eat is what is best for the head. It’s a struggle everyday when there is so much more of the fried, over spiced, cheesy, oily, super sweet goodness just right there for the taking. Try I must for in giving up benefit there is a lot (not Yoda speak).
- Write more: I write for myself and I write around a fraction of what I want to write. There were at least five different subjects I wanted to write about last week and this of all things is what I finally end up writing… not just that I had three stories for kids two of which I told the girls, stories that were never written down. The point is that when I read stuff I have written long back it helps me understand my own journey better. It helps me see where I was and where I am now. That all of these can at some point go into a book (not using the word best seller on purpose) and help me accomplish a life goal thereby satisfying all my well wishers who have always told me that I ought to be a famous published author (again not using best selling author on purpose). Apart from that when I write it helps clean out the injectors firing in my head. Helps calm the demons.
- Be more grateful: Every morning I wake up I walk to the room where the kids are sleeping and I watch them sleep for a minute before cuddling them one by one until they kick me away or return the hug depending on the mood of the day. They are not interested in the sunrise well the elder one isn’t, the younger one on the other hand is quite excited about it, she jumps onto my back and we go watch the sun come out then she goes back this time to mamma and sleeps for another hour or so. Later in the evening I try and tell them a story but most days I ignore them and continue to work because they get a lot more excited and adventurous with me trying to put them to sleep. One story leads to another to another then something else and before we know it it’s 11PM. I am grateful for the children and Sonali who is possibly the best possible person ever. I mean if she has put up with a crackpot like me and managed to stay sane through it all she has to be way above average. I just don’t say it enough to the people who make this life worth living. So yes that should change, they deserve to know. I am very good at ruining relationships and destroying friendships. Somehow never valued the bonds people form over cups of coffee. I would like my story with my immediate family to be different. It is now that I can talk to them and make it clear that I value them more than I show. An attitude of gratitude will only help keep the mind calmer and not agitated because of the cacophony of the unsaid. If it’s out there it’s not going to take up headspace. Simple.
- Pray more: Well that one is contentious. I never pray. I need to start though. No not because I’d like to have a conversation with God, that’s an ongoing dialog never needed any ritual for that. I need to try and pray at least once a day because meditation and yoga. Early morning I think would work well maybe even late night before going to sleep. Helps gather thoughts and organize priorities.
- Exercise regularly: I used to be a gym rat for a while when just out of school. Then again a little later after we got married. Then again before Ria was born and later again before Ira was born. I used to run a lot as well. Close to 16kms daily was the average at one point a few years back. Then like with every passion I have ever nurtured, I quit. Recently I was again walking quite a bit, close to 10Km a day and then this lock-down happened. Even so I’ve been managing decently well with around 5km per day of walking. Also been doing the seven minute workout courtesy Ira. I am thinking of increasing the frequency of the 7 minute workouts to twice a day in a week or so and also up the mileage bit. Apart from this the house work ensures I get a reasonably decent amount of activity in a day. Just need to stick to it and ensure I’m as fit, even fitter, going out of the lock down. So yeah more and disciplined exercise.
- Get better at photography: I’m reasonably ok at it but need to work a lot more at framing and technique as well. Essentially practice the s**t out of it. Since there’s practically nowhere to go to this is one pursuit that is truly rewarding. Lots of free courses online and the results are always different even with the same subject. Will make a blue bird box soon there is this nice kingfisher that has been calling out every morning around 5:30-6 from the Eastern side and then through the day from the West. Got to get it to come up and pose for a few.
- Work more talk less: The more I work the better I feel about life in general. So yes keep myself busy.
- Consume less negativity: Politicians are not my friends or relatives. I need to avoid news completely and stop talking about what is going on in the world. It’s not like I have any power to change things by talking about them. All I am doing is sharing my burden, of bad news, with people around me. They may or may not feel about the issues the same way as I do. Every happening does not need to be researched and debated. Avoid news avoid the trap.