Tuesday, January 12, 2016

On moving on and learning to live in the moment

{view from my bedroom; barn full of bulls not pictured}

We're two weeks into 2016 and I'm just now thinking about how this is the first year I didn't make a resolution. On New Year's Eve, my family and I gathered around a table talking about the year that had passed and the goals for the one to come. The night before, we had discussed what had been good  what we had accomplished and overcome and learned. I spoke about how 2015 had been the best year of my life so far. I grew, I moved on, I gained, I lost. Living in Spain and all the travel I've done this year have had so much to do with why this year meant so much to me, but if I'm being honest with myself 2015 was about even more.

For one, I became closer to people who have been part of my life for various amounts of time. I built stronger bonds with different parts of my family. I opened up to some friends in ways I never knew I could. I met new people from different parts of the world and different sectors of my life, people whose presence and friendships I am so grateful for. Sometimes, I can't believe how lucky I am — how many friends I can call family, how much of my family I consider friends.

At the same time, I decided halfway through this year to move beyond relationships of all kinds that didn't make me happy. I decided to let go, to remember what sort of friendships were worth waiting for through the rough patches, and what sort of friendships were just rough. And letting go definitely isn't easy and it definitely doesn't come naturally to me, but I did it and I'm happier for it and next time I won't wait so long to do so. I'm learning everyday to be more open, less scared. Happy people are kind people, and I've been working on both aspects of that, too.

So that had a lot to do with not making resolutions. This year's been good. I've let go of a lot of self-doubt and anger and hate and I've learned to move beyond certain aspects of my life that make me unhappy. I'm not in a perfect place and maybe I never will be. But I'm working on making progress and being in India is helping with that. I'm pushed every day both emotionally and mentally. I'm often overwhelmed by what I have to deal with, what I've been fortunate enough to never deal with. So India is making me think and feel and in my books, that's almost always good.

But as happy as I am and as focused as I am on moving forward, sometimes I can't help but feel stuck in the past. For one, I can't stop missing Spain. I think about it every day and talk about it nearly as much. Yes, it was a part of me and always will be, but why can't I just focus on now, focus on being here in the present?

I get frustrated that I'm missing Spain here, now, in India. After all, it's not as though I'm unhappy here; in fact, I'm grateful to be doing all that I am and so excited for the classes I'm taking and happy to be around the people I'm with. Yet here I am thinking about how I should have gone out more in Madrid, about the cities I'll visit when I go back, about the people I met and the people I miss. Is there something wrong with me? Or am I glorifying my experience? Am I remembering it with rose-tinted glasses?

{exploring Segovia with some au pair friends}

Part of me knows how much Spain meant and means to me, even through the days and weeks when I was weary of traveling and lonely and restless and underwhelmed. And when something means a lot to you, it's hard to let go. This can be said of relationships of all kinds, of experiences that change you, of aspects of your life and yourself you have to accept as part of your past.

So I think I'm in grief. Not deep, painful, agonizing grief the way you feel when you lose a loved one forever. Because if I truly wanted to, I could go back this summer, go back right now. I know I can't, that I shouldn't, but if I wanted to, I could. But I think it's grief nonetheless.

I've been following blogger and social media kween Ella CerĂ³n for quite some time now. She wrote recently about how she spent her New Year's at a party deleting old contacts from her cell phone. And when I read that, I immediately began doing the same. Former classmates I hadn't spoken to since high school, bosses from jobs I'd been happy to leave, acquaintances I'd met in the freshman year rush to make quick and close friendships, and all the other people I knew I'd never want to hear from ever again — all gone.

It's amazing how much crap we hold on to. How many years we spend holding onto a phone number just in case, how much time we invest in a friendship that's better off in the past, how much energy we put into glorifying the past and worrying about the future.

I still think it's important to look back. You are where you come from, where you've been, where you're going to go. But sometimes it's important to just shut that all off and appreciate where you are right now. So I'm working on living in the moment.

At times like these, I always turn to Vonnegut. One of my favorite Vonnegutisms, coming not from Kurt himself but from his uncle Alex is, "If this isn't nice I don't know what is." Maybe I need to practice mindfulness, need to allow myself to feel the pain and grief of missing people and place and time, but throughout that, I need to focus on what I'm grateful for.

And in the spirit of appreciating how fortunate I am, I just want to thank you for reading. Whether you've been following OMS for the year and half we've been around or whether this is the first post you've read, thank you — I love this blog and put a lot of thought into what I post, and it means the world to know that you care to read what I have to share.

{celebrating my aunt's birthday with dinner at the Jewel of Nizam}

~ V


  1. Virali,
    I really enjoyed reading this one. I'm happy to see you writing and sharing your thoughts. More because I almost feel like getting back to it myself and reading this post is pulling me out of the writers block.

    That bitter sweet longing for the old time, old place, old people is there to stay. Or at least I feel so. I've never been able to go back to it even when I went back to the same place, same people... it was as if it was that time more than anything else. Best way to look at is be grateful that it happened and I truly am for all those times in my life and from what you said, it is apparent that you are too. I'm happy for that and for you.

    Keep the posts coming. I enjoy reading them and somewhere in all of your writing I see part of me and that's what connects me to them. Can't describe it in any other better way than this.
    Love you,

    1. Thank you so much Kanan Didi! Yes, please do continue writing. I'd love to read what you have to say! And yes, I'm beginning to understand and accept that this longing and loving will never go. And like you said, showing appreciation and expressing gratitude is the best way to cope with the feeling. As always, thank you for your support and for the kind words.

  2. PS. You look amazing in both the photos!