Brownness

On Memory

I hate to admit this so publicly, but one of the side affects of my stroke has some gradual memory loss. The way I combat is of course to write about the past or keep learning something new on MasterClass (Current classes Paul Krugman and Sara Blakely) or on YouTube (how to fill out out an I-129 application and top ten features of your new Macbook Pro) or using time to learn mindfulness techniques. It’s a constant battle as workload increases for which I am eternally grateful, but also makes the day a strain as I struggle to ensure I don’t miss anything. And then at the end of the day, to remember to be present to my wife so we can share some intimate time.

And each day is a battle. People share stories about the past and some I don’t remember at all, or I have a vague idea, but the minutiae escapes me. Sometimes I cover by nodding or just agreeing with their interpretation and others time a huge blank is there and I wonder what else I am missing. There are memories from a time period that are etched into me, and there are others I wonder if i will ever remember again.

It’s a strange thing to think about when I gather more and more things in my life that are so memorable, but I want to hold on to some special moments like the day I told Papa I was going to practice law full time, or the day Preeti and I got married, and we managed a mini concert for our reception. I don’t just want to hold on to the joy, but the painful things like the us praying out loud as my aunt transitioned. I still remember that pain like a boulder on me.

Or recently the tears that flooded my eyes as I watched a young father guide his son walk straight. I watched them from the second floor of my place, and I watched as the son wobbled into varying directions and the father guided him straight, and in that moment, my throat tightened, and tears came as I thought about Papa and what my life would have been without him. And so I continue this struggle to hold on. I have great reasons to do so, and luckily I am surrounded by loved ones who are here to remind me, refresh me, and reconnect with me.

And as always I am grateful for that.

Brownness

On Travel

Nothing like an impromptu trip out of the city to remind one that there so much out there to see even if it is a place you have been to before. It all comes down to when you go see it or what your mood is like, or at what age. Repetition can be the way to experience new things at a place even if you do stay at the same hotel, and do the same thing except the difference is inside you. It became a chance to catch up with friends living in that city, a way to develop a deeper bond.

After nearly three years, going to Vegas seemed surreal. Especially driving. It hit me that I am not used to driving long distances like before where four to six hours sounded nearby. So much has changed in the past years that things that I took for granted come in a new light. That’s not to say change is bad, but unplanned ones such as a pandemic due to continue to affect me in ways I had not counted on.

Yet again gratitude comes to the rescue. Being able to travel now with less anxiety is a boon, yet some habits are hard to break. There is some hesitancy being indoors with a lot of people. There were moments I caught myself thinking maybe I needed a mask. These are new habits from a strange time, and it is okay. It will take time to adjust. Already as the trip came to an end, my wife warmed to the idea of coming back with others, or perhaps doing other things.

This trip was just a reset. A time for us to reconnect with what we thought we could never do again. A chance to be a couple, and not have a routine, to break out of the humdrum of daily life. To go a distance far enough to recognize our blessings of what we have and what’s coming. I often wonder why I don’t travel more. A trip like this is one that makes you realize that we have friends now in a place that we used to just come stay in a hotel in.

And so as this week starts, I am determined to keep travelling, to keep finding ways to deepen our experience, and to know that we have loved ones in different place.

Brownness

On Mothers Day

Mother’s Day is always a full celebration with my mom, mother in law, sisters and cousins. It amazes me to realize how many I am surrounded by so many great examples of sacrifice, love, and patience. As a male, I take it for granted. Coming to my mom’s house, I turn into a son not the attorney. Going to my mother in laws, I become the son in law who gets taken care of. So the one day we do get for them has to be to make them feel loved and appreciated. But even on that day, both moms want to take care of others. It’s as if the thought of others doing for them what they do on a daily basis makes them feel uncomfortable.

It’s taken years for my mom to be okay with having others dote on her. My mother in law is still a work in progress, her good nature still will not allow her to sit still while others do the work. She still feels the need to help, support and ensure that others have a good time. And then of course I see my sisters, sister in law, and cousin also share some of the same characteristics, and I realize that giving is just in their nature now.

And so as usual gratitude floods me as I see my amazing wife go out of her way to ensure all the moms know how we feel about them. I am still mostly an observer (although I do make a mean spicy Shakshuka), and as the exhaustion hits at the end of the day, it hits me that each of the mothers does this every single day. And I take in their goodness, good naturedness, and thank my blessings. Here’s hoping that one day I am able to repay all the gifts.

Brownness

On Learning

This past week I got a new laptop, and it hit me I have a chance to organize it in a way that makes sense. I know the window for change is limited before I go the way of the past, and it got me thinking that while I love learning some things, there are others I am just content to ignore from the knowing the features of my car to perhaps knowing how to use Microsoft Word better as my law practice grows.

One of the pleasures in technology is having the latest and greatest but that value gets losts when I fail at the effort to actually learn what makes it that. My failure to learn gets me a better thing that does not work as advertised simply because I am too lazy or reluctant to learn. That gets to change. There are so many areas I get to learn about, from installing the sound bar that stares at me each time I enter my house to being unable to explain to my wife how to use the car without a key card to feeling there is more to Microsoft Word than just typing into it.

I get that information overload is a thing as well, but not knowing the things I use regularly a bit better does me no good either. And so with the new month comes the goal of learning but not just of a personal nature but of the things in my life. I know if I can make that as part of my morning routine, I am setting myself up to win. It is in these small things that larger change comes from, and so I embark on this goal. Wish me luck.

What will you be learning this month?

Brownness

On Growth

This past week, I got a chance to work on something new in my law practice, and it revealed that my love for learning something new but fear of putting it into practice still reigned supreme. Gratitude flooded me because as usual my best friend was there to give guidance, but this time he also did something different. He gave little to no revisions after going into detail on what needed to happen for the upcoming hearing. He gave me enough rope to pull myself up, but I could have also hung myself if I hadn’t put in the time to learn what needed to happen.

Did I make some mistakes? Yes, of course, but not something so big that my client didn’t get what they needed, and so I took the win into the weekend, where finally I got to spend time with an old friend where it just feels like we are take up where we left off. No gaps, no awkwardness, no lacking of conversation, just good times that made the night go way too fast.

I realize I need more nights like those rather than the ones where I feel left out, not part of the night, and it hits me that it’s on me. I either participate or I don’t go. It’s a hard lesson when compared to the nights that are effortless. I realize that I wish to control all my interactions the way i want them to be, and that’s guaranteed to make me feel left out. All roads lead back me, to my growth. It is not another persons job to entertain me. It’s a two way street just like the hearing earlier in the week. I got the results that I wanted because I got guidance and also because I put in the work.

That’s what growing up is about: rather than wishing for how life needs to be, it’s about putting in the effort. But it’s also acceptance. Sometimes, you are part of something that brings someone else joy, and if they are your loved one then that’s all that matters. It’s what allows you to grow closer to them, sharing time with them doing the things that they like to do even when you don’t because they do the same.

And so I keep learning to grow, to focus on letting go on how it should be and soak in on what it is.

Brownness

On Spending Time

This past weekend I got the privilege to spend extended time with my 6 month old nephew and 3 year old niece. My wife and I got to play slumber party for the entire weekend. While my wife and mother in law did the hard job of feeding, changing, and putting them to bed, I got to hang out, play, hold, cuddle and just be a big little kid with them. My job was way easier because well I am not very mature to begin with (I own it), but more that, my heart overflowed with love and gratitude to my brother and sister in law for allowing this precious time with them.

The kids may not remember when older, but for us, it was a true joy to be the first ones to hug and hold them first thing in the morning. There is a special type of happiness that comes with seeing their eyes light up along with a bright smile just to lift ones spirit. It’s addictive, and one that I even crave at this moment. It’s also work, but one that doesn’t feel like it till they are in bed, and it hits you that their parents have been doing this without complaint for a while. A new appreciation grew for them. While I managed some decent sleep, the wife didn’t fare as well, but seeing her joyful face it was apparent there wasn’t any regret there.

Its time like these that remind me that too often the time spent in regret or judgment is wasted time. That there is so much good in life with others who accept you unconditionally, see the best in you, and want you around. That kind of love can fill you to the brim which is exactly how this monday feels. Not a burden, but a day to be celebrated. And so I enter this week with gratitude, love and and non judgment. Wish me luck! 🙂