Saturday, June 20, 2015

For the Love of Life

Its one of those Saturday evenings again. When you feel bad about half your weekend being over and partly relieved that you still have Sunday. As I write this post, perched on a chair by the window sipping on a hot cup of chai, a cool monsoon breeze caresses my face. I just love watching it rain from indoors. It brings over a sense of calm and peace.

I start thinking about things I have been wanting to do all this week. After a busy week with loads of piled up work, I finally have the time to act on these things. On Monday, I was watching this movie called 'Julie and Julia'. A beautiful film about how a young woman pursues her passion for cooking taking inspiration from an imaginary friend. The main protagonist takes up a challenge to complete all the recipes from her favorite cookbook in a year. She not only goes on to complete this challenge and actually bags offers to publish a cookbook.

'Julie and Julia' was truly an inspiring film to me and I am sure many others. Watching it actually gave me these ideas in the first place. I have been giving it a lot of thought all week. I thought to myself - 'Why not take up a 1 month challenge to do things that I have been wanting to do?' (yeah 365 days is too huge a target to keep up with). I decided to take things up slowly and build up on it. Since my mind is always buzzing with ideas about the million things I want to do in life, I made a list of things I want to start right away. These are easier things to do which are in tune with my daily routine. Here is my list:

1. Wake up early: Wake up at 5 am in the morning.
2. Exercise: Exercise at least 5 days a week.
3. Cook: Cook something everyday. However small, even if it is just a salad or an appetizer.
4. Journal: Write in my journal everyday.
5. Blog: Write a blog post everyday.
6. De-clutter: De-clutter something everyday.
7. Artwork: Spend some time on my art work everyday.

So these are the goals I have set. I am taking them up step by step. Listed below is my progress on these goals:

1. Wake up early: I usually set and alarm for 5 am but wake at 7 am and then hurry about to catch my bus to work. This week (starting Monday) I set my alarm 30 minutes before my usual wake up time. And surprisingly started waking up automatically 5 minutes before my alarm set off. In fact, this morning I woke up at 5:30.

2. Exercise: Waking up at 6:30 does not leave me with much time for exercise. For now, I have decided to start with the weekend. Just today and tomorrow.

3. Cook: Since weekdays are almost totally devoted to my job, I get little time to indulge in cooking for myself. So I decided to started with some basic, quick and easy stuff. These are the things I made this week:
  • Monday: Stir fried veggies
  • Tuesday: Mixed veggies with mayonnaise dressing (cant call it a salad with all that rich mayo).
  • Wednesday: A basic omelet.
  • Thursday: Masala papad ( a disc shaped, crisp Indian food served with a mixture of chopped onion, tomatoes, sev - another noodle like Indian snack.)
  • Friday: Fried eggs.
  • Saturday: Pizza (made with a whole wheat flour base and topped with veggies and cheese)
  • Sunday: I have planned to cook Murg Makhani (also called butter chicken - a North Indian style chicken curry). I will be updating this.
4. Journal: I have decided to start with writing twice a week in my journal. So far I have written an entry on Tuesday. Next will be either today or tomorrow.

5. Blog: Writing a blog post everyday seems like a faraway thing to me right now. Let me just start with once a week. This way, I can document my weekly progress right here.

6. De-clutter: De-cluttering is not something that comes naturally to me. I have always been a hoarder. I hold on to things thinking 'What if I need them later?'. I am just getting rid of one small insignificant bit everyday. This week, I have thrown away old receipts, bits of paper, old cosmetics and out of date medicines.

7. Artwork: This is something I have not been able to do all week. Since I am taking it slow, I will start with once a week. Maybe I will work on a piece tomorrow. I will update this later.

My goals for the coming week:

1. Wake up early: Set my alarm clock 15 minutes earlier than last week. So 6:15 am it is.
2. Exercise: Exercise on one weekday and the weekend. That will be thrice a week.
3. Cook: Cook something everyday. However small, even if it is just a salad or an appetizer. Also cook one complete meal a week.
4. Journal: This will mostly be the same as last week. Its a difficult habit for me to develop. So its twice a week for now.
5. Blog: Same as the previous one. A difficult habit.
6. De-clutter: De-clutter something everyday. Next week, I also plan to de-clutter my inbox.
7. Artwork: Spend some time on a few sketches/paintings on Saturday or Sunday.

Phew! So this is just something I have started. I am choosing small things which are easier to do than most. Gradually, I will build up on these. The idea is just to go with the flow and enjoy this learning experience while getting things done. I will be writing about this once a week to keep track of my progress.

The inspiration for this 'challenge' partly also comes from Leo Babauta's blog - Zen Habits. I still have a lot to learn as far as minimalism is concerned. But Leo's philosophy of life is what impresses me most. I am aiming to be efficient at everything that I do and have a great time.

I watch the sun set. I think about all the stuff planned for the coming week. For the first time in ages, I have actually set targets and planned to reach them. That in itself is enough to keep me motivated. Every morning this week, I have been waking up with a smile, excited about the day to come. Never have I been more eager to face the day at work (weekdays are still not as great as weekends, but its a start :) ). I hope to have a lot of fun as I begin this whole new journey of self development.

Let me just end this with a picture of the pizza I made today.

Veggie Pizza
A veggie pizza I absolutely loved making and eating :)

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