At the end of every summer vacation, two weeks before the school started, my father & I would go to school to get a list of notebooks that I would need for the coming year. Our school canteen which also housed the bookshop sold premium Lepakshi Nandi notebooks. But, well, they were ‘premium’. So, I would sit on the scooter with my dad and goto this place called Chatta bazaar, a wholesale market in Hyderabad, where books could be bought for cheap. These books were cheap indeed, both in price and quality. I was not happy. Not because of the price. But, that they never emanated the scent I associated with a new notebook.
As a kid, I saw a movie where a family is brutally murdered before their child who helplessly watches the crime but is unable to do anything because of his age and limitations. The child, of course, then grows up to avenge his family’s murder, just like countless other movies that come out every year. But, the scene of the helpless child had a profound impact on me. Would I be able to save my family, if something happened to them? The answer was frustratingly ‘no’.
With the new year coming-in with its inescapable optimism, I decided to change the look of the blog. It had been same over the last two years and I was looking forward to a fresh look. Being an introvert, I had natural inclination towards minimal blog design with lots of white space & good typography. In the first year, when I had not yet purchased my domain and setup my own hosting, I even used the ‘Manifest‘ theme for its simplicity.
When it comes to new year resolutions, we all either want to start a new habit or get rid of an old one. Everyone loves the new year time. ‘Optimism’ is in the air. All of us look forward to ‘change’, sometimes even expecting/hoping things to change magically over night. We list down a few changes we want to bring about in our lives and start working on them, only to abandon most of them two months down the lane. Once optimism and euphoria of the new year subsides, reality sets in. We fall back into out rhythms, our comfort zones of how we do/handle things. New year resolutions, or for that matter any behavioural change requires great deal of patience and discipline on our part. Not, just limited to new year resolutions, I found the below two strategies help me in building new habits and letting go of old ones.
One habit I had, but fell out of, and, wished I had today was journalling. For over five years I’ve been trying to get back to it, with limited success. It was not easy. Last year, I made a conscious decision to write again, that’ll I document the conversation I was having with myself, the thoughts running in my brain. I took stock of my then present situation, analysed how I worked, what my preferences were, and looked for areas causing friction and designed a way to make it work. This is what I did:
When I was in school, we had a very strict teacher. He used to come for the subject I hated the most – maths. One day, while handing down the answer sheets of a slip test, he stopped at my friends’ desk and started chastising him for the low marks he got. My friend never reacted, not sure if it was out of respect and fear or just disregard, but, my teacher got irritated and called him a ‘thick-skinned buffalo’. I felt sorry for my friend, but, we all laughed. And, that word stuck with me for ever. I wished I could have a thick skin, not just to take the criticism of my teacher but also of the world.
One of the advices you get from ‘pro’ bloggers when you are about to start a new blog is to be on every social network conceivable and engage the crowds on those platforms. But, being on every platform is not just limited to bloggers. I personally know many folks who are on every social network I know, tweeting 4 to 6 times a day, posting pictures on Facebook & Instagram, pinning posts in Pinterest and god only knows what Google+ is now, but have presence there too. I have my personal account/blog page on Facebook, blog accounts on Twitter & Google+ and ’use Buffer to cross post. But, whenever I cross post, I feel guilty. Questions swarm my mind, Am I adding value? Am I spreading myself too thin? Am I repeating myself? Do I need to say this? Or am I doing this only to play to the gallery? Do I have enough, valuable, unique things to say/do in every social network? And, recently a funny thing happened. I joined Instagram. Why?