Another exciting filled weekend filled with great friends, my beautiful wife and dog, and life lessons. Bella turned 7 this year, and it astonishes me how a 9 pound animal with four legs can bring so much joy to us. From the mornings where she hops and follows my every move till I take her to a walk to her running around like a crazed sheep in circles for a few minutes then sleep all day, Bella is one of those let’s just “well rested” animals. I am grateful for who she is though. I never thought she would provide me so many lessons on taking care of someone.
Over the weekend, I had some great friends come over. It hit me that I have known them for decades, and it brings me great joy to know that we are still in touch, still connecting, and I am still a big mouth. This is an old habit of mine where I get too comfortable, and share too much details that no one’s business. It’s a lesson I am still learning. I share too much, and even though I’d like to think my intentions are clear, there is a part of me that knows that I am being judgement. Being “holier than thou”, and it has no place in my life as I myself am deeply flawed. Who am I to judge? (paraphrasing the Pope here). So with deep humility, I apologized. Before pride would me defensive, and all the reasons would come up why what I did was OK, but, to me, it was clear. If I hurt someone’s feelings then I need to make right. It is something that I am still learning.
A last-minute road trip to visit our location in Daly City. At first, annoyance. Why me? But then it hit me, and my excitement grew. I love long drives. That feeling of floating by places and buildings as you get to a new destination. Ok new is an exaggeration, but it has been several years since I have gone up north. Which is sad really since its only 400 miles away, and it hits me that I love travel. Love the excitement of meeting old friends and gaining new experiences. Yet it has not happened in a while.
The other strange thing is the excitement I feel to be away from all the daily distractions, just listening to music or Ted talks and just cruising. Just thinking, feeling, breaking down what’s been going on. That floating feeling, knowing I know my destination. In the last few years, I have felt lost and wondered where the hell I was headed to. But a road trips allows me that space to know in comfort that there is an end point. Just like life. There is a point to it all. All this from a the simple idea of road trip. Who knew?
I admit that for a few moments last week (ok more than few), I had a difficult time finding reasons to be grateful. Attending a funeral for a friend’s father and watching helplessly as they broke down took an emotional toll. It made me wonder how quickly things can shift. In those moments, nothing else mattered. All the problems I thought I had, faded into noise . They meant nothing. So much of my time wasted on things that really didn’t matter in the long run.
Death is a reminder that we are not here to stay. I believe most of us will never know when we will go. All we have is the present moment. It’s not easy. Too often, I let the negative thoughts in my head take over, and then all I do is worry about the past and future. It’s a tough cycle to break. What good is it to waste so much time on things you cannot control? Yet, I seem hardwired to do it.
It is not a coincidence that a family friend and others started a gratitude chain few weeks ago. It is as if the universe conspired to forcefully remind me to count my blessings, love the ones that are in my life, and connect with all the ones and things that truly matter. It is not easy, but it is also yet another reason to not take myself and my life so seriously. There are more important things to do like take a moment, breath in, and be grateful for what I have.
I struggle daily dealing with the feeling of failure. Most times, I see it too late what I could have done differently. I admit, more times than not I go into victim mode, feeling sorry for myself or helpless. I believe what I think others make me out to be. I become the Sanjay who disappoints, who fails, who is selfish, uncaring, who only sees his own pain. Yet all that is my interpretation. It is also easy to do. It is easy to just feel sorry for myself, to blame myself, to say so many negative things to myself. The truth is that no one can say anything worse that I don’t say to myself. I am my own worse critic. Sometimes, it is ok, but more often than not, it can choke me into inaction and uncertainty.
The thing about leaping into many things is the constant self-doubt. I also tend to cocoon myself and not talk to my loved ones. I don’t tell my wife why something is important or what I am thinking. I take it all in, and just act as if nothing bothers me while inside I am suffocating. Yet I fail to do the simplest thing which is get grounded, remember that I am fallible, that I am loveable, that I am full of promises and capable of good and bad. It’s all a package. I could wallow, and while it can feel good in a sick way, it does nothing to solve what needs to change.
So I get to shift, leave those thoughts behind. Know I have this moment, and only this moment and what I choose to do in it is up to me. I could wallow or I could shift. So I shift. And shift, and shift until the Sanjay I beat up on is left behind, and the one standing in front is the courageous one, the one who finishes. The one who shifts into possibility and responsibility.
I am going to be honest. Doing community service is not all fun and games. For me, at least. Yet it is more than just helping people, it is for a very selfish reason. To grow and stretch myself so I can be a better Sanjay for those around. It seems odd to say. In a few days, I will be staffing for a leadership program. The hours are crazy, preparation is key, and we get to be always seeming in control. I am scared shitless. Not just because of the time commitment, but the very real question, will I screw up other people? But then again, that’s always the reason NOT to do something. No more backing off. No more making excuses or finding reasons NOT to contribute. I get to be selfish. I get to be comfortable being uncomfortable no matter how many reasons I find NOT to do it.
It’s not easy, I admit, but complacency only goes so far. I admit it does sting when people mention that I post so many things just to show off when my only reason is to inspire. And yes there is pride. Just like others mentored me and allowed me to grow into the person that I am today, I now get to be in the same position. So what the hours suck? So what I have to put other things on hold? The point is for once do more for others than for me because ultimately it grows me. I would call that a Win Win.
The warm buzz of a complete weekend still resides inside me. Being witness to a couple taking the next step of commitment not only reminded me of how love progresses, but of how as humans we look for connection and a partnership.
What good are achievements if you don’t have someone to share them with? We all need a cheerleader in our lives. Someone who believes in us more than we believe in ourselves sometimes. I admit it’s not easy to make the transition from a lone wolf to sharing all your moments with another. When my natural self is to always just count on myself, it’s a huge leap of faith to surrender myself to another completely.
Yet that is how a fulfilling life occurs. When you know someone has your back. Pure and simple. That emptiness in you dissipates when you know that no matter what, someone is there to listen to you. Quoting my niece’s recent song “You matter,” that’s what marriage means to be. Someone saying to me I matter.
I am sure there will be some eye rolls at my post. After all, it can also sound like you need to be seen to matter. Or that you need to be praised. No actually, you don’t. I just think that just like it takes two to create a human being, it takes another to see for who you are. It doesn’t matter as to gender, race or sexuality. Just that there is someone out there that you have a life connection.
P.S: Congrats Sabina and Ricky Sood. Looking forward to the wedding :)
“What did you do this weekend?” A common question for Mondays. Before, I would spit out the same thing. “Nothing,” “Not Much,” “the Same Ole.” That’s not to say I didn’t do fun stuff, but really, it was usually the same thing. Now I can say I volunteered on Friday and got to know an amazing organization, The Child Abuse Prevention Center in Orange County which does this amazing annual event where victims of child abuse and their families receive free school supplies, education, food so they are less isolated and know where to go for resources.
Then Saturday, I joined a new running club and met 12 committed runners at 6:45am (who knew people wake up early on Saturday?!), and discovered I don’t have to do just long runs to prepare for my running events but can do interval training. I was nervous because I am probably the slowest runner on the planet, and was convinced I would embarrass myself. Instead, I met a group of committed people who were extremely nice and helpful.
Then later on that night, I went to an old friend amazing cookout and learned that I missed the last four years for no good reason. And even later, got to connect with some dear friends.
The point of this post isn’t to brag about all that I am doing (even though it sounds like it), but that ever since I started saying YES to ANYTHING that makes me nervous, my life has changed for the better. There is still so much to say YES to (travelling with the wife, finding new adventures, creating new experiences with the ones I love, and I now realize that uncommon weekends should be the norm not the exception.