The Relationship Saga

And in a world more connected than ever, most people find themselves more disconnected than they have ever been. We can connect on WhatsApp, Social media, the phone- all the time and yet in this fast paced world though we’re always seeming to be connected we’re often more alone than we have ever been.

This was the discussion a girl friend of mine and I had for more than a few hours this week. And it wasn’t even the first time I had heard this complaint. It was far too often, from far too many people for this to be a coincidence.

Connection requires work. Connection requires commitment and Connection requires both parties to keep at it!

And when I felt the same way a few years ago.. I set out to make a Commitment Cheat Sheet… to help me keep and nurture relationships that meant something to me…

So here’s a peak-:

  1. Make a list of just the closest friends (CFs) you’d like to have in you life and make sure you call or meet them once every 2 weeks at least.
  2. Do Date night. Even if you’ve been with your husband for tons of years…date him, reconnect. The only thing constant is change- so both of you will keep changing. Get to know the new him.
  3. Be social. Get out at least once a week with one set of your CFs so you can do a face to face reconnect.
  4. Laugh more. Play games rather than watch TV. Connect, talk and have fun with your friends. TV is a wonderful medium for stories but real stories happen only when you actually participate in them. Be a part of your own life story not a spectator.
  5. Put a schedule together which forces you to challenge yourself to connect. Make it a routine, till it becomes a habit.
  6. Find common hobbies/ activities. I hate the morning walk… or actually hate getting up at 5 am… but the plus is I get a leisurely coffee chat with the uncrabby husband (he’s a morning sparrow, I am not) and a walk where we find tons of puppies and lots to chat about.
  7. Be present. Your CFs have something major happening in their life/ they aren’t well- check up, be present- care.
  8. Don’t look at your phone during dinners/ events. Respect the person/people you are with.
  9. Give yourself a break. All relationships change. Some change so much they become unrecognisable. Try as hard as you can, but remember sometime you need to let go. Reward yourself when you try. Don’t berate yourself.

Relationships are hard and connections even harder. In a world of a few billion- you just need a handful of connections but even those take work. Remember, it may look easy from watching a good relationship but both people work very hard with many off days to make that work. Instagram and Facebook stories are just that- stories. They are not reality.

P.s. (Palat says)-: At the end of the day, all the fame and money make for comfortable beds and homes but homes are only homes when you can fill them with people you love.

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F.R.I.E.N.D.S

I was never good at making friends. As gregarious and out going that I seem, most of it is a facade and those who know me know I am actually quite conscious of how I am viewed, worried about being judged by you and fiercely private about my thoughts and fears. Trust doesn’t come easily to me.

I started working at 16 and then became even more wary of ‘friends.’ They became transactional relationships. FRIENDS was a great concept on TV but for me that was it- fictional and a comedy- something that could not truly exist..

And then I changed.

Over the last few years I have started seeing people as different versions of me- each flawed, insecure, with their own set of fears, but just trying like I am to make the best of each day. And as I started seeing people for more than their Facebook profile/ status – I learnt that people could become more than humans who wandered in an out of your life- they could in fact become friends.

Now I’d love to give myself full credit for this realisation but in the spirit of honesty I must credit the husband , ever so little, for looking at my many flaws and loving them. When he peeled the many onion layers I had protecting me, and showed me that flaws aren’t all bad… I realised I could do the same for others.

Of course every so often you get a rotten , smelly onion- but I guess that’s the risk you take when you try to connect.

And in a world where we have more Facebook and Insta connections than real friends, I think you owe it to yourself to look for actual connections. Hate someone, love someone- but have some emotion for them!

P.s.. (Palat says)-: Connect. Offline.

The Exhaustion of Being

justbreathe

 

So over a dinner with friends the other evening, it seemed like everyone was suffering the same malady… ‘I’m exhausted!’… ‘Done by 9!’….’Cant’t get out! Don’t even want to!’

The problem, we realised was not age… (despite the snickering yawns) or our jobs even…. it was just mental fatigue and the aversion to just do anything after the very long days we were all working.

A movie, a dinner, friends… were just more work… no fun!

When did ‘stress’ replace the word ‘life’?

When did ‘monday blues’ become ‘everyday woes’?

Between traveling in the city, impossible deadlines and the non-stop desire to keep moving life just became one long never ending day.

Stop. Sleep. Breathe. The world won’t fall off its axis without you.

I had a great night’s sleep last night and woke up to a perfectly brilliant morning where nothing was more or less stressful then the night before… The world hadn’t stop turning and life was a little easier thanks to the fact that I was in better humour!

 

 

Dis-connected

In a world that’s terrifyingly small and connected and where now gossip doesn’t need to be limited to streets or apartment buildings and where everyones business is public knowledge now…it was terrifying how disconnected one can feel despite all these seemingly meaningful connections.

It’s been a long few weeks. With ill health in the family, I did what I did best- retreated into a zone, put my head down and just did what was necessary to ensure everything was okay (as much as I could).

There was work. There were meetings. There were clients. And there was home and family and the hospital. And it was almost like these worlds were completely exclusive of each other…

 

And that’s when I realised the important connections and most importantly the important disconnections…

Life is not about the likes and the happy emojis or even the angry or sad emoticons… it’s about the actual connections…

If you haven’t heard from someone for a week or 2… do you pick up the phone and check on them? If you haven’t connect with a ‘friend’ how long do you wait till you call/ connect/ visit…. Or do you wait for the shallow ‘Status Updates’ or PR Related FB Posts?

How long is too long where friendships are concerned to be out of touch?

And when did Facebook replace actual face time…?

Any way on a positive note– #allswellthatendswell ! And I’m back on FB and my Blog now :)!

 

i love you. i hate you.

Those petty fights.

Who was wrong? Who was right?

You took too long on saying I love you. You think I’m fat? You don’t buy me anything. You forgot my birthday/ our date/ to meet me.

Who was wrong? Who was right?

Those petty fights.

You don’t care about me. You don’t listen. You shout too much. You nag to much. I hate your friends. You hate my drinking/ football/ work/ late nights.

Who was wrong? Who was right?

Those petty fights.

You left me alone. You yelled. You talked to her. I hate your ex. You hate my mom. I hate this car. I hate your hair. You hate my dress. You hate everything I wear.

Who was wrong? Who was right?

Those petty fights.

Every moment could be our last. Do we really want to go fighting or being fought with?Is it really important? Is that what we really mean to say?

I love you. I’m sorry. I tried. I mean well. You inspire me. You challenge me. I must be better for you.

Please. Love me. Thank you.

 

Expecting NOT to Expect

Expectation is the root of all heartache

William Shakespeare.

Those of us who believe we don’t expect anything from anyone are lying to ourselves. We expect love and support from our friends and family. We expect growth and satisfaction from our jobs. We expect belief, trust, security and help. We expect dreams to come true and love stories to just happen. We expect.

And then we’re shocked when we’re stabbed in the back by ‘friends’ , hurt by loved ones, not trusted by work-mates and saddened that our dreams have to continuously evolve and even then may never come true. Easier said than done- stop expecting.

And if you think the external expectations that we have are hard, well take a good hard look inside. Often it is OUR EXPECTATIONS of OURSELVES that let us down even more than the expectations we have of others.

We expect to reach the top and whereas our fathers and grandfathers enjoyed a steady and positive growth in a company that they chose to work with for 15, 20 or even 30 years we need  to be at the top yesterday and if that doesn’t happen we shift job,we shift career and we work harder to be at the top at the cost of our health , our families and our happiness!

We expect the perfect spouse and hold them and ourselves to such ridiculous expectations and criteria that we both fail and end up in a bitter marriage or any even more painful divorce.

The solution? Well to stop expecting is not really an option but may be we can cut ourselves and others around us some slack. These are some truths-:

  1. Dating is hard. Marriage is harder. They both require work. When the make up is off and at the end of a bad day- all you have left is the both of you without any pretence and charade and that’s the truth. You are not going to wake up every morning perfect and he’s not going to come home every evening happy. Expect this.
  2. Don’t give your trust to everyone. Everyone may not be worth it. Even with friends, hold a little back/ Don’t expect them to hold all your confidences or bear all your burdens. That’s unrealistic. Open up slowly. Trust less. Make stronger bonds with a few.
  3. Work hard and ensure that your bosses and you know your worth. DON’T EXPECT a raise or a promotion. Ensure they know your worth and ensure YOU KNOW YOUR WORTH. This will give greater job satisfaction and also benefit your company. An unhappy employee makes for an unhappy company. If you feel you deserve more, before jumping ship and leaving the company- tell them. Give them a chance to live up to your expectations. They will only know of your expectations if you tell them!
  4. Be realistic of what you can do in a day , in a week, in a month. And make others aware so that neither you nor they over-expect from you. Aim for the stars but be prepared for the sick days, the setbacks, the days where everything goes wrong and take every moment one step at a time.
  5. Do not expect others to work to your time just because you do. Stop expecting others to live up  to your standards WITHOUT lowering your standards.
  6. TELL PEOPLE YOUR EXPECTATIONS OF THEM. Don’t EXPECT THEM TO GUESS!
  7. Be realistic in your expectations! You wanted to be able to live through some of them not die of a heart attack trying to achieve any of them.
  8. Give WITHOUT expectation. That way you’ll always be surprised.
  9. Love WITHOUT expectation. That way you’ll find love.
  10. Work on your dream WITHOUT expectation. That way your dream may come true :)!

 

 

Help me!

“Help me!” – two words that have got such a bad reputation in the English language! “Help me!”- shows weakness.”Help me!”- shows inability. “Help me!”- is pathetic, laughable, unmanly,namby-pamby and just downright sad!

Instead of asking for help , it seems to make more sense to commit suicide, kill others, kill ourselves, commit divorce, burn children,abuse and hurt pets-those are the more acceptable solutions!

And I am angry. Not a shocker for those who know me….But now I’m really mad.

I do not want you to find a counselor or a support group or a really good friend- I want you to get help and be UNAFRAID TO ASK FOR IT!

In India we have always perceived those who’d seek a counselor’s help a little bit nuts… I mean you have to be a little mad to seek help that your friends and family can’t give you. I mean our parents never needed counseling- why the hell should we?!

But today is a different generation. We are a generation who don’t finish work at 6 p.m., who have to reply an email at 11:30 p.m. at night because that’s what ‘Smartphones ‘ are for, who have heart attacks in our 30’s because we’re a generation of plenty- plenty of food, technology AND stress! We are a generation who create smart Status Updates despite being laid off work or stuck with typhoid! We are a generation who misuse the words- “I’m fine”- because we don’t need pity, help, sad eyes! We are a generation who are anything but fine!

Our parents went home to family. They stopped work. They shared stresses. They had friends- some real friends that didn’t judge based on appearances. They had stresses. But they had people around to help.

I am angry some days. I am scared, tired, alone, afraid,outraged, shocked, violent. Some days I want to break a plate or 25 plates, or hit a wall or curl up and hide. And this is okay. Because I am human and it’s normal to feel a range of emotions – sometimes all at once and sometimes all in one day.

But let’s make it acceptable to ask for help. Talk to someone- friend, confidant, counselor- work out the stresses, the stressers, the anger, the pain. And let’s start healing before we keep exploding.

And as a friend to someone today when you ask them how they are- really mean it and… DON’T ACCEPT THE ANSWER -“I’m fine!”

fine