December Diaries: Giving Thanks to 2016

Where do I even start. I actually just took a break from writing to scroll through my Instagram that I believe has some of my key highlights and also because scrolling through my planner right now doesn’t sound too appealing. psht.

A lot of bad things has happened this year, the most significant of which is the flood that will probably be engraved in one to a side of my brain for a very long time. Today though, I am going to narrow it down to ten good things that happened this year because it’s important that we focus on the positives. So in no order whatsoever, here are my list of thankfuls for 2016.

The Month of December

December is always stressful., which is also probably why it is first on my list. There is not only the end of the year rush, but also all of our special (and expensive) days. This December was even more stressful because of work, a troublesome shoulder and back and lots of other little struggles that I continued to battle;

because end of the year = birthdays = end of expectations, loss of hope and basically cause for mental tantrums

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Also one of my favourite people got married this month. ❤

Big Changes 

I don’t get too personal in here because as a writer, this blog not only becomes a representation of some of the shitty work that I may do but also a space where a lot of the people I know refer to, lol. But career wise, there has been changes. Good changes I feel, or at least hope. Like many things in life, I try to continuously find stability within myself and my career as a writer (and whatever else that comes out of it) is an area I like to work on as well.

In other news, I got a car

In other news, I got a car.

Family

My sister has been fortunate enough to fly down almost every month since the middle of the year and we hope that she will permanently be here in Colombo very soon. My extended family suffered from the devastating flood but besides the house and some other material possessions, they are safe and good.

Food = family.

Food = family.

Mum’s Presentation

My Mum made a stellar presentation at the Human Rights Commission on the work she does and I was lucky enough to go see it. Akki and I are really fortunate to have a mother who believes and is truly passionate about the work she does.

Letter Earthlings Grew Closer to my Heart

My favourite past time is not only writing letters, but to inspire people to write letters. Letter Earthlings has become one of my most looked forward to activities every month and this year in particular has truly help bring the initiative really close to my heart. I sincerely thank my friend Nivendra for letting me be a part of it.

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Discovered a New Coffee Place

Or my favourite coffee place! It’s a pity that I don’t grace coffee shops as much any more but if I were to, I know where to go and might have a bit of a tough time knowing what I want.

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Travelled a bit more

Across Sri Lanka and to East Asia. Some trips were on work while the rest were adventures with those I adore the most. I am grateful for being able to do what I do and the opportunities I get.

I know Cambodia was a highlight but my heart will always be with the sea.

I know Cambodia was a highlight but my heart will always be with the sea.

Made New Friends, Grew Distant from Some Old Ones

It makes me a little sad to talk about this but the realisation has simultaneously helped me learn and grow closer to old and new friends who have come into my life in the most unexpected of ways. For those who I may have distanced myself from, I’m sorry but I guess it worked out for the best. You will always be in my heart and I will always remember your birthday.

Those who came into my life and for those who have been here with me, thank you. You mean more to me than I will ever verbally let you know.

Wrapped more gifts!

Gifted grew slowly on the side.

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We took on orders we could execute and didn’t for those of which we knew that we either didn’t have enough time or enough resources for. Thank you for all those who ordered with us and believed in us to add some magic to your loved ones special day.

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Fell in love, again

With the same man of course, haha. But this year has been one of truly understanding him (and I hope vice versa, lol), knowing that he will be there for a very long time. If he chooses not to, I will buy him back with all the confectionary, speakers and car parts left in the world. Muhaha.

This was from 2015 but the next picture in this series of pictures was definitely my favourite <3

This was from 2015 but the next picture in this series of pictures was definitely my favourite ❤

But thank you once again for all those who have been a part of my life and given me everything that you have. It’s been a rushed year, but a good one, I like to think, despite all that has happened. We are older, not necessarily wiser but have grown to become more content with what we have, the people in our lives and most importantly, the little time we have.

I hope 2017 brings you nothing but sunshine.

Written as part of the Giving Thanks series – Week 35

December Diaries: Adult Accomplishments

It’s been a while. I would like to think that it is work that kept me from writing here, which isn’t far from the truth because the word “busy” is nothing short of an understatement now. I have a 2016 round up post coming up one of these days, at least on one of these days I will sit down to reflect on it.

Of the many things I want to write about today, I want to focus on measuring your life’s successes or accomplishments with the results of your children’s actions. Eek. That doesn’t sound half as nice as what I actually have in my mind.

I know in the past I’ve written on childrenfailed adults and long back on parenting. The most recent I’ve written on is “On Marriage and (having) Children” that actually is a favourite post of mine.

I might probably be repeating myself here but some thoughts need to be stated a few times over because how else does a writer ensure that such frustrations are let out of their pea brains if not.

***

See here’s the thing that parents of the Baby Boomers’ generation need to understand. Your child is an important part of this society. We belong to the money-making-never-saving generation, despite the five, six or seven figures we earn now. We are to make supposedly wise decisions in life and these include calls we take on education, careers and relationship. But, your child is not the only child to exist in this world.

I know it’s contrary to our local culture and how we are brought up, but the idea of independence has always been important to me, of which financial independence takes priority. It’s a way in which I’ve been brought up and as far as preaching goes, I try to replicate it on all those around me. It’s fair for my folks to be proud of how my sister and I have turned out but truth be told, they have bigger accomplishments of their own that are unparalleled to ours.

And this is great.

It’s great that my folks are still individuals in their own right and have their own accomplishments to celebrate and NOT COMPLETELY PIGGY BACK ON THEIR CHILDREN’S ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND THEIR ABILITY TO BREED.

I apologise if the capital letters got in the way. It’s been coming a long time.

If I were to ever have children, of course I would think they are the greatest on earth and as a parent I would put their needs and wants before my own. However, being a parent does not mean that it is a loss of identity and individuality of who I am or what my Mother is.

Any marriage or child that my sister or I may have, will NOT be a measure of accomplishment for my family’s success.

and fuck you to all those who think that way.

While life in general should be celebrated, it doesn’t mean that you need showcase your family’s only “accomplishments” to the world around. Trust me, this looks as bad as wearing new clothes at a less-fortunate environment or showing your child extra-affection in an orphanage. Your unintended actions would not only be hurtful but a sad reminder of what the others around you have not yet “achieved” as a result of you make it seem as though having something that another person doesn’t, is a sense of accomplishment in this world.

If you have no purpose in life, I hope you find some in 2017. After all New Year’s are all about resolutions, finding yourself and all that shiz.

I get all my images on www.unsplash.com now :)

I get all my images on http://www.unsplash.com now 🙂

December Diaries: Gratitude

To all university students protesting out there,

I’m back with a bit of a rant today. It’s Christmas, the season of gratitude and thankfulness and the rant might seem a little out of place but the rant in itself is on gratitude, or lack there of.

Before you say anything, I don’t think I understand your cause. See I was among the “privileged” that was schooled in a semi-government entity and was even more (supposedly) “privileged” to have read for my degree at a private university in India. The experience in itself was a little difficult at first but to this date I’m grateful for having being able to study abroad for three years as it shed perspective and taught me a lot on independence, budgeting and most importantly growing up.

My Orthodox Catholic University wasn’t sororities and dorm rooms in cute skirts. Since I was in South India, this involved a lot of kurthas, shawls and a 2100h curfew at the on-campus hostel that didn’t give us food. My roomie and I moved out during the third year because they insisted on a similar dress code inside the hostel and fixed some CCTV cameras that we were not really down for. Also, we wanted to have some home cooked Lankan food once every four days. University also was 0900-1600h and 0900-1300h classes every weekday and Saturday respectively for three years with mandatory 85% attendance. If we failed to meet the criteria, we were first sent to a counsellor who would try and find out what the hell was wrong with us (family problems, relationship problems, mental / psychological problems, you know the dose) and then if we failed to make up for it, we were not allowed to sit for our finals without paying a certain fee of compensation (that varied according to the attendance percentage) – and let me not even start on the process when it comes to paying this actual fee.

On another note, I always believe that people who pay for their own things and possessions, often understand the value of money. This is why when I had to buy another Mac after spilling coffee on the Mac I already owned, my non-mathematical brain started doing a number of serious calculations in order to budget wisely and efficiently.

In Sri Lanka however, I have nothing against this free education system. I think it’s great that people are educated for free because it’s knowledge, which is a gift and is not equivalent to any sum of money (that you can actually pay, lol). I also have immense respect for teachers and lecturers because they take a lot of shit for very little pay (I speak of the government-paid cadre) and throw in a lot of their hours, despite the “paid vacation” etc.

Having studied under the similar primary and secondary semi-government school conditions most kids on the roads these days too were once a subject of, I don’t recall being taught to protest they way these kids are doing so these days.

As an “adult” in her 20s, I am thoroughly “aware” that most of what I have become now are partly because of the education I have received. And as most other adults out there, I am thoroughly annoyed at this group of ungrateful shit heads that keep blocking the roads that other working “adults” travel to work in, to make a decent amount of money before it gets cuts off to taxes and vat and other ridiculous nonsense that pays off tuition fees for these kids who know absolutely nothing on the value of money.

However, their lack of gratitude does not stop there. Once they (finally) graduate, 800 years later, they are old, with only one degree and no work experience. They become frustrated mid-20s adults who still continue to live off their parents, shamelessly too, I must add, angry at the rest of the world.

Honey, the rest of the world was trying to move on in life despite you blocking the roads with ridiculous protests of not wanting to go to university for 80% of your student time. After all, what else is a full time student expected to do but study? Have you ever even stopped to think as to how privileged you are to have made through the cut off mark and eligibility criteria to start with? 

No? I didn’t think so either. 

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If it helps, think of the starving children in Mongolia children your age in rural Sri Lanka who do not have an opportunity to complete their secondary education, let alone university because of the family responsibility they took on after their father, a farmer, committed suicide after the last drought.

You don’t really know how that feels do you?

I don’t feel it either, but I’m trying on my part to do what I can for my family and to my country by being a “productive” working citizen paying a massive amount in taxes for your education and their spending.

I hope someday, soon, you understand how frivolous (and inconvenient) your actions are.

From,

A concerned, tired 20 something who did not make the cut off mark that the “privileged” kids did and chose to study in a private “privileged” university abroad

December Diaries: Six Impossible Things before Breakfast

Have I told you that Monday is one of my favourite days in the week?

I think Mondays are great because I have realised that I’m most productive before late afternoon, so the earlier the start the better it is going to be. Like today, before 1300h (now), I managed to get my car cleaned and sparkly, finish up some pending insurance work, collect a parcel from the GPO, get copies of all my documents and finish up a good deal of Christmas / birthday shopping, while making some calls for appointments during lunch.

#ProductiveAF

Yesterday was a downer, but today is a nice and sunny day. I don’t know what the rest of the week is looking like, but there will be its ups and downs, as life rightfully should be.

Special thanks to everyone who had panicked messaged / called me. I’m fine (ish). Will be better in time, but I think the downers would probably reflect more given that I have intended to blog as often (if not daily) as I can. But you guys are stars ❤

<Be in the moment.>

I got excited about 

Lunch. I did not have rice in the morning because I was busy slaying the world so resorted to three peanut butter sandwiches. They were great no doubt, I LOVE peanut butter. But the rice was what I was really thinking of while waiting for the postal guys to call out for parcel “64”.

I will be excited about 

Seeing my friend Lasantha’s short film on the 08th. I am mighty excited for all of my favourites creative ventures and the 08th is looking forward to, big time. You could come too, if you are interested! There is apparently free wine.

Also, I’m still emailing carefully Google-d positive thoughts to those who want. Do let me know if you would like one too.

December Diaries: Retrospection

I’ve been terrible and missed quite a few days already. In my defence, I got busy. Like real bat shit crazy busy. I’m still figuring things out slowly from the recent turn of events. It would be an understatement if I told you that I’ve been making progress. The end of the year blues doesn’t seem to help either.

Does that happen to you too? Do you feel sad, miserable, depressed (not used colloquially) even when the year comes to an end? I usually find myself feeling a very unusual sense of regret. Regret in itself is a funny feeling because I don’t feel it usually because I don’t regret things in life. I’m not lying. There are things I am disappointed about in life and things I cannot change, but the most amount of regret that I would have felt at that point was nothing short of momentary and it later found itself to the category of “acceptance”.

I’ve been doing a lot these days too. Accepting. I’m not happy with a number of things around me and there is either little or nothing I can do to change my circumstances. However, that too has found itself to the box of “acceptance”. I’m blaming it on the end of the year blues, because it gives me the same sense of hopelessness and misery that I feel at the end of every year. I still am unable to fathom as to why I feel the way I do because it’s not as though I have targets, goals or “resolutions” set out at the beginning of the year.

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But this year, like most years, I am lost. 

It’s a little difficult to write about things I’m at present grateful for given the way I feel, but here’s a lovely article I came across via Facebook.

I’ll be back with more sunshine tomorrow.

Do let me know if you are still up for some positive vibes delivered to your inbox every morning!

December Diaries: Mock Run

Oh hello December!

Or almost December. I woke up early today. Like 0630h early. With the help of an alarm of course (after sleeping at 0200h #impressive). When I used to go to school, my dad would do one of these days before the day term started and call it “mock run”. Of course, my eight-year old self translated this to “mockraan” that only made sense later in life.

I am determined to do daily December posts. The month has always been close to heart. However, this time around daily blogging is influenced by way of seeking gratitude. Yesterday was a start and the rest of December will be mix of gratitude, some rants and life in general.

Too much has happened the past few days for me to be excited about approaching the end of the year, however the goal is to stay positive and I will look into little bits and bobs of things to be happy about.

www.unsplash.com offers free pics for everybody :)

http://www.unsplash.com offers free pics for everybody 🙂

I Got Excited About

Leaving home and heading to work this morning. It’s exciting and I was excited to get to work and now it’s midday and the excitement (yes that’s the third time I said that) has managed to retain itself. I’ve reminded myself that things could be worse, but it’s not and for that, I am eternally grateful.

I will be Excited About

Meeting Akki this evening. She landed this morning but I didn’t see her this morning because of my extra excitement to get to work (among other things I had to do) but I’ll be seeing her soon.

Gratitude Star

My wonderful friend, Pavithri has this beautiful habit of sending in positive quotes every morning. So I’m not one for quotes but lately, I’ve been reciprocating and even looking for that right quote (and not sharing it on Facebook, lol) has helped me become a little more grateful to all of the many things I have around me.

We all need someone like Pavithri in our lives, who will not only go that extra mile to spread joy but also truly believe and want the other to be happy.

Comment below if you need a positive message delivered to you and I’d be happy to email you one every morning.

Happy December!

To 2015

Despite being the day following a full-moon, the sky’s lights were not of the moon but of floodlights that shone from the construction sites nearby and a few other hoardings and buildings’ neon signage.

Standing outside the balcony, reflecting on the year’s events like most traditional people on social media would at this time of the year, I thought to myself that if I were to ever write something of worth, those would be my opening lines. But until then (and reality may have it that there may never be such a time) here’s my recap of the year gone by.

It’s somewhat personal, but not too personal because, I have issues and also as I get too protective of the people who is closest to me and thereby consciously refrain from divulging too much information. Do keep reading if you have nothing better to do on Boxing Day (or you just read my ones on 2014 and 2013, lol) and genuinely like sneaking up on other people’s lives on the internet because you are just as shy or intimidated or socially awkward to ask how they are IRL.

Haha.

I will stick to my five-pointer scheme from a somewhat successful but miserably-failed attempt of Giving Thanks from earlier this year and will try courageously hard <cue Hercules> to fit all in to five numbers in no order whatsoever.

  1. Perspective

It’s a broad sense of the word and perhaps a cheat word too, this year, as most of my years in to the 20s, have been one filled with perspective. It has actually given me more perspective on my frequent-feelings of purposelessness thereby helping me try to find purpose.

A book I’m currently engrossed in (yes, I have found something that can capture my attention for more than ten minutes) tells me the following:

Usually, what you wish for doesn’t fall in your lap; it falls somewhere nearby, and you have to recognise it, stand up, and put in the time and work it takes to get to it. 

The coming of perspective is often similar to the waves we find ourselves engrossed in while sea-watching (seeing?); you know when you sit on the beach and watch the sea for a countless number of hours or is that just me? It comes in small quantities first and then slowly begins to unravel larger waves, ideas and thought bubbles when the oceans deems you ready for it.

The perspective always ensures that it lurks around in some back alley like a creepy night crawler and grabs you (in the best possible sense of the word) when you feel as though you are ready for it.

I always like to think that every year that passes us by makes us wiser, stronger individuals and this year has been nothing short of it.

2.  Positivity

Overlapping with perspective unravelling is the power of positive thinking and no I do not mean that in The Secret (Rhonda Byrne) slash marketing tool kit kind of way.

I got myself involved with an old college senior’s initiative earlier this year, which was one of the key factors that may have contributed greatly towards my “increase” in positivity, positive thinking, be-safe-I-do-not-mean-marijuana kind of life high.

Twenty-fifteen has taught me the need to harness positive energies, positive thoughts and maintain positive influence in one’s life, in order to attain good if not great things.

My association with positivity has also made me lose touch with sentiment, and I mean that in a good way. I have begun letting go of many things that I once held sentimental and even have refrain from not capturing that moment and no, it’s not the seventeen-Seni hipster phase.

Instead, I try very hard to live in the moment, with or without pictures, with less material and just the happiness from the people around me.

Please do not form a mental image of me wearing ragged clothes from some second hand thrift store because Sri Lanka has no second hand thrift store and even if they did, I will not shop from there. lol.

My need for less material is not equivalent to lack of need for any material whatsoever. I still do want to buy a car, want to buy other fancy things that may come with labels when my wallet tells me that it’s a good time. But until then, I’m quite happy with the labels I seem to have bought for myself.

3.  Love

Love came in all forms this 2015. Love in its obvious form from a supposed-love long lost (lol) #rekindle to the love of a child who met me for the first time who came running to say goodbye.

Love has also inspired in me more acts of kindness and positivity and the need to tell others how much they mean to me because I am not very good at expressing myself verbally without turning out to be a very badly done plumbing job.

4.  Solitude

I’ve always been a happy loner, we all know that and this 2015, I took myself on a little trip. I enjoyed the time by myself under the guise of a half-Indian, half-Sri Lankan lost writer who was searching for her soul amidst the shores of Hikkaduwa, lol, because let’s all face it, it’s easier to be non-Sri Lankan girl in the coasts of this country, or so my education, society and media have taught me.

My time alone also made me realise how much I enjoy being amidst the right company. The lone time did help a lot with the perspective seeking #ProWaveTip and while I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, I foresee changes that I can only term positive in the year ahead.

5.  Gratitude 

Perhaps a combination of all these factors combined, I am truly grateful for this year gone by. I have met so many new people despite my increasing social anxiety, continued to maintain (hopefully healthy) relations with those nearest and dearest to me and I am thankful to myself (in a not-so narcissistic way) for having been able to made (what I thought was) the right decision at the right time that was often guided by intuition and past learnings.

This year has been nothing short of humbling and I cannot even fathom at how fast it has gone by. For those who made it happen, all I can say is thank you and for those who might not be reading this and are no longer a part of my life, trust me, the feeling is mutual.

I hope you babies had a lovely 2015 yourselves. If you didn’t, take solace in the fact that you made it through the year and from what we know, the worst is behind us now 🙂

Let’s Talk about Birthdays

A few days ago, it was my birthday.

Thanks to a few close people in my life having publicised this on Facebook, the rest of Facebook got to know and the next thing I know, I’m sitting up early the next day replying to posts because, social (media) responsibilities.

Answering your question on as to why I continued to be on Facebook, I learnt (nearly the hard way) that if you happen to be the sole administrator of certain Facebook pages having your profile deactivated results in those pages being hidden / unpublished, which in my case would not have helped. I was vulnerable.

But, the main reason on not mentioning my birthday on Facebook or throwing a party to celebrate the birthday (also note that I don’t surprisingly drink on my birthday, wut.i.know.right,lol #wannabealcoholics) is because I simply do not like (celebrating) my birthday. Emphasis on the my as I love celebrating everyone else’s birthday. Hypocritical, af.

My twenty-something old brain tells me that the refraining of celebrations having begun with my once-religious ways (wut.i.know.right,lol). But as I grew older and approached my late teenage and then adult life, I genuinely grew averse to celebrating my birthday for reasons that baffle me or rather, unknown to me.

The best of my instincts tell me that it might also be the wannabe-hipster-ish-let’s-not-celebrate-major-events-in-life-unless-you-get-married-coz-you’ll-be-a-rockstar-and-it’ll-hopefully-be-once-lol syndrome, which I sincerely hope you understand, if not, go eat a cupcake.

<cue “aww”>

But as I grew older, my two-year studies of psychology (that may have led me to think that I graduated with a post-doctoral certification, wut.i.know.right,lol) likes to think that this form of abstinence (I like how I try to spice it up like my non-existent sex life) may have been an early manifestation of sorts for the type of social anxiety that I feel now WHEN I AM AROUND CROWDS, which may have also been caused by the sort of work I do (that usually revolves around the least number of people #happyloner )

I get anxious.

Lots anxious.

Especially, social (media) anxious because let’s face it, (most of) my life is on social media. I mean, do you know that if there was no internet that I might probably have to learn how to bake cookies, get into shape and sell them at these wash n’ vacuum places wearing a crop top and mini skirt?

<cue Dili> #DramaticSeniIsDramatic

But all said and done, I’m truly grateful to all who called and wished having seen my friends and families initial noise making online. I don’t judge you, no, I do that too, if I already don’t have your birthday written down. Most if not all, wish well and genuinely want nothing but happiness and sunshine in my life and I am truly grateful for it, but as those who are closest to me knows, quieter the better.

Like my first birthday in India. I spent the entire night walking by myself and nomming down ama(h)zing Bengali food for dinner and also treating myself to Gelato ice cream (because, student budgets) and then I come to hostel and find out that my friends had planned a big treasure hunt and dinner (with so many biriyanis!). My heart broke because I was overwhelmed and unsure how to react to these social situations. I was truly happy and awkward. Do you understand now? 

Also, no cake, because you’ll end up eating it, haha. The image above is what actually went down. I mean the cake, you little dirty minded thing.

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Write soon.