Another week ends, and the end of 2014 is around the bend. Thoughts of what I started out with now resonate with what I actually ended up doing. I now realize that I need to set more goals, more ways to help others, more ways to write, more ways to be better than the Sanjay the year before. I experimented with various things this year, but one of the most fulfilling ended up being when I took a fast from Facebook. I realized that it represented my life in a way where I spent too much criticizing others or how they could live their life better when, in fact, the only person that matters is what I do with myself. So I think slowly I am going to disengage from social media where the conversations are all on the surface. Everyone has an opinion, and that’s great for them, but for me, personally, I want to see what I can contribute to this world as opposed to what I can take from it. Yet it’s also addictive. I catch myself constantly checking what others are saying. Grimacing at some (most of the posts), as well as enjoying others. I am like a rat doping myself continually on the pleasure centers, foregoing nourishment and mental health.
Yes, that, too is a an opinion, but one I don’t need to share with others constantly. I see a “holier than thou” attitude in myself that I don’t care for. I took this journey for myself so I can be better for the people who are important to me. That does not include what I feel others should be feeling or thinking. It’s hard not to get caught up with that when you begin checking as frequently as I have. So I think I will begin working on that. It is a will power thing. I find myself with a lot of excuses as to why I cannot do another fast so for now, I think I will do what I did last time which was delete the app from my phone.
Wish me luck. Lets see how long I can last :)
It’s been almost a month since I last blogged. In that time, I managed to write 50,000 words, enough to be considered a winner for Nanowrimo, grow a moustache for Movember and raise almost $600 and completed my first month at crossfit. I also managed to reach my fastest 10K ever (1 hour, 11 minutes and 11 seconds) where at the end I seriously felt like throwing up. For you non math majors. that’s an average of 11 minutes and 27 seconds, nowhere near Hussain Bolt, but for someone like me, a great milestone. Someone marvelled at all the things I am doing, and my first instinct was to tell them about my wife’s patience and secondly about Zen Habits, the Sea Change Program, but then it also hit me. It is my unwillingness to just be comfortable. I mean what’s the point if I am not growing, not learning, not doing something with my time, energy and money? Don’t get me wrong, I am also constantly failing, and as Leo says that’s part of habits. That’s part of life, the learning process. If we don’t fall down, how else can we learn to get back up.
Are there days I feel lazy? All the freaking time.
Do I give up? More often than I care to admit.
Do I struggle at working out? I have to finish a crossfit class where I actually got through the Workout of the Day.
So these past four days, I just slept in and rested and just did nothing. And as much as I felt recharged, I also felt anxious. I am not content. The next step is getting that first novel draft edited, do some charitable work that allows me to use my talents (if I have any) to help others, and get my weight down to the ideal of 210 pounds. Also, all along to spend time with my wife that is meaningful and lets her know that she means the world to me. I know my ambition and lack of communication are a lethal combination sometimes in how I inform my wife of my goals. I am sure its frustrating for those close to me to not know what’s going on in my head, but trust me it’s all geared towards me being the best me I can be.
Hang on tight, its gonna be a wild ride.
So I am now at 10,000 words, more than I have written in decades. I am also clean-shaven for Movember after a decade. It’s funny to me when I speak to other writers lately about the reasons why they cannot do Nanowrimo. From “I have to outline to no time”, I have heard it all. But recently a theme has come up. What if it’s no good? What if it’s a waste of time. That’s the really big worry . It comes down what if I spend hours upon hours for 30 days and have nothing to show for it. Just 50,000 words of crap. My answer is simple. You won’t. If Nothing else you will write something unique, different. Just let go. I am in the middle of a Novel, something I thought impossible a few years ago. I am 35 pages in, and I admit I am dying to edit, to delete, backspace some of the shit that spews out of me. I dawdle on Facebook and Twitter in the early morning, but I am writing. I am inching forward. 630am every morning so far, I am giving myself the permission to be a writer. 9am I call it quits, and then my day starts.
I hope to start Crossfit soon so I can begin prepping for Spartan, and I am nervous. Isn’t it a bit much to add that to my life. Also, trying to do Zen Habits where this months habit is to spend mindful time with loved ones. Give them at least 10 minutes without interruption. And then there are some who have suffered horrific losses. One death. One fighting Cancer. It’s a strange and unpredictable world that teaches us that if not now, then when? Seize the day before it seizes you.
So I began a Facebook fast, and I can’t help noticing the irony that this post will post to my Facebook timeline. It’s as if I need the constant validation that someone is reading my story. That YOU know that I am NOT on Facebook. I have become addicted to telling everyone how much and how far I have run to bragging about my Spartan run. Like those goals wont matter much if the 500 plus people on my social media don’t know about it. It’s such a relief not to check constantly to see what I missed in the past few minutes, but on the other hand, I have played the crap out of Words with Friends. Tried tweeting, but really it feels like a bunch of status updates that no one responds to (really 500 followers and not one of you has anything to say to me?)
Yet really what it really comes down to (and yes here comes the excuse), is that I am a writer. And writers write to be read. Which led me to realize that I had completely stopped reading. It was as if I had decided that I no longer needed to grow up. Yet it was reading and write that caused me to analyze who I am as a person and who I wish to be. As much as I talk, I really don’t say much to the ones near me. I spend a lot of time in my head, and for those closest to me (cough, cough my wife), it can be highly aggravating.
I don’t know when I became so social and introverted as the same time. It’s as if I am saying nothing, just taking up space so you know I am here. I shared too much of the things that don’t matter, and not enough of the things that can make relationships stronger. It’s as if I am talking on mute, and there are no sub-titles.
Hello? Anyone there?
Another Monday, the memory of the Jassi Sidhu party and the Spartan run already fading away as well as my cold and the aches and pains that came with it. It’s funny when you are in the thick of things, it all seems to important, so urgent, but when it’s done, it’s just another task. I am proud of myself for once not getting myself overly anxious about the party or the run. Perhaps it comes with experience or my daily meditation. But really it comes from the realization all this will pass. That nothing is ever really an emergency. There is absolutely no reason to ponder things that you cannot control. It can be tough not to wonder, I admit. Yet, more than that it just is accepting that what’s happens is gonna happen no matter how much you stress about it.
I rediscovered reading again. In the past 2 weeks, I have managed to read 3 books already (Think Like A Freak. The Son by Jo Nesbo, The Book Thief), and now starting The Sleep Doctor by Stephen King. I forgot how much I love reading a few pages, and then putting the book down and truly just enjoying the satisfactions one gets from the imagery presented the authors. It is probably one of the few times that I know I am truly enjoying myself. I am already looking forward to getting a new stack of books. Although I have a Kindle and the first generation Ipad, nothing is quite like holding a book in your hand or putting that CD in.
Yep, I am officially old school. I still buy CDS. I am still buy hard cover books. I still make my own playlists, and download (mostly) legally. I still promote events to people I actually know rather than just bombarding it on social media. It’s funny but what once was cutting edge is now just quaint. A very big eye opener.
August has turned into a busy month already. From partaking to weddings, to running 4 times a week, I have now added doing a bhangra show early September. Yet none of it feels like work (except for some of the weddings), and I realize that I still miss writing daily, still want to do things with wife, still want to do all the other things in my life. Yet, this moment, more than anything else I need to be here for this moment. It’s so easy to live in the past and future, thinking of what has been and what is to come, and not just enjoy the current moment for what it is. So I am using the post to just be. To know that all is well. That it’s not about me what’s going in my life. That all I have right now are my 5 senses, and this present moment. Am I tempted to think about the Jassi Sidhu show or the 13 miles run coming up? Yes, of course, but then I catch myself just sitting here and being grateful. Alive. Present. Happy. Fulfilled. Determined. Focused.
Zen Habits is teaching to try to slow down, to see what the moment is about rather than focus on what’s ahead or behind. Too often, it becomes about expectations for myself and others instead of just realizing that at end of the day, nothing really matters except for the relationships with yourself and your loved ones.
My name is Sanjay Sabarwal, and I am a word stealer. I eavesdrop everywhere I go, and put away the snippets of conversation I hear. I read various articles, stories and magazines, and pocket away interesting verbs and action sentences. I squirrel away images that come in front of me when I walk my dog. I hide away tidbits of friends’ conversations for some future use. Again, and again I steal words. Some days, I am melancholic about my need to be such a thief, but then there are the days when I am sitting in front of the laptop, and those words come out from various from their hiding places and help me weave together an altogether fictional story built on truth.
I am tempted to warn my friends to watch out for my habit . When I was a novice, I didn’t have the sense to edit out contexts and emotions which made me a biographer, and the brunt of many a fight about why I didn’t just keep my mouth shut. Then it hit me that I didn’t need to be a recorder just a thief, and so I began stealing. It has been my most satisfying tool in writing. I no longer have to worry about words, just how to use them.