This is the year that has gone by the fastest- is what I tell myself every December. Because it truly does seem that way. And so, as this year is closing to an end, I have been thinking along the exact same lines and trying to pause to reflect on what has been. Not for any revelation or grandness of any sorts, but simply because I fear I let a lot of precious moments pass by me because I was too busy trying to make things as close to perfect as possible. Does it happen to you? Do moments pass by and you realize it only later?
A lot has happened in this last year, the most significant being we became a family of four from a family of three and, we are filled with gratitude. It has been a busy year of learning and unlearning things, as is every year and it has been a positive year so far. But when I step outside of this little cocoon of ours, so many people continue to be in pain, in suffering that it at times feels selfish to be wanting a new pair of shoes. Refugees continue to fight for existence all around the world, for acceptance, for recognition; families continue to be torn apart by practices that are inhumane; the “I” reigns supreme and our glaciers continue to melt, religion still divides and turns friends into foes. Pretty grim picture…right? How to come out of this, I wonder.
The clock keeps ticking and with that, my mind travels in so many directions, trying to hold together thoughts- thoughts that want to talk about that beautiful sunset I had watched hiking among the mountains near a remote village near Osaka many years ago and the cathartic effect it had on me; thoughts that want to talk about my desire to travel around the world with my camera; thoughts that want to talk about how crazy it gets at times as a stay-at-home mom and not working; thoughts that want to talk about all the ‘what-ifs’ that got left out from the pages of the life. And then there are thoughts that are grateful and happy and silly and together, the good and the not-so-good continue to help carry on.
I have never done a ‘year-in-review’ post (not even when I had an account on Facebook) as I have felt I have not accomplished a lot as compared to the others. But I am changing that, as I am changing a lot of things, and one of the first things in that list would be- to let go and not overthink! I am sharing with you some of my favorite clicks of the year ( starting a tad bit early- Nov ‘18) and life’s big and little moments that are all special in their own unique way! I was inspired by some of my fellow bloggers (check their links….gorgeous photos!) and I am thankful for that:)
Nov-Dec ’18: Our baby girl joined us to be part of our everyday adventure and the big brother has been as caring and loving as possible, from the first moment they ‘met’. I had wanted to capture a good sunset on the 31st of Dec but this was the only one I could manage.
Jan ’19- Our little boy turned four and we celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary- we share the date! My parents showered all their love and more in taking care of us as we adjusted to the new routine. And we celebrated not only our wedding anniversary but theirs as well and it was the first time in 10 years that I was with them on their anniversary…such an awesome feeling! Also, I baked a fruit cake for the first time:)
Feb-Mar ’19: The good man and I went on our first ‘date’ after a veeeery long time and though it was for a total of 30 mins and the whole time I panicked for the baby at home, it was like a breath of fresh air:) We had a lot of snow again, something that my parents got tired of, but never complained having to stay cooped up indoors for all the months they stayed here. Our little boy started spelling on his own and I baked one of my most favorite cakes- the red velvet cake, also for the first time!
Apr-May ’19: My favorite season for taking photos and this spring, I took more photos than I had ever done before.
June-July ’19: I took photos of more flowers than I can ever remember having clicked and that was something new for me. Our little boy completed his pre-school and from the teary eyed kid who had walked in unsure into the classroom last September, he soon became this kid who couldn’t wait to go to school every day. Our baby girl had her “annoprashon“( a ceremony that takes place when a baby turns 5-6 months and gets a taste of her first solid food typically ‘payesh‘- which is a type of a pudding, made with milk, white rice and sugar. This is an important celebration as it marks her introduction to solid food) and it was a whole lot of fun dressing her up:) My father- in-law and mother-in-law were here to celebrate as was my sister-in-law and her family. It was surely a special occasion.
Aug-Sept ’19: It was about sunsets and rain drops, apple picking and our first picnic, solitary red leaf and the unmistakable blue sky, heralding the beginning of Fall.
Sept-Oct ’19: The little boy started Pre-K, we had beautiful evenings in the park running around and we made memories as a family during our first Durga Puja together. The good man carved our first jack-o’-lantern.
Nov-Dec ’19: Our baby girl turned one, mastered climbing up the stairs and brother and sister have been just in their own world, laughing and rolling around! There has been baking and decorating too, while the last signs of fall and the start of winter gave me opportunities for clicking some photos around the neighborhood. Our baby girl also just got her ears pierced and I still can’t wrap my head around that!
We make our memories and they are for us to enjoy whenever we want to. Sharing that happiness adds to the feeling of gratefulness. We learn so much along the way from each other that distances don’t seem to matter that much…our shared narrative keeps us together. This year that we are set to bid adieu to, ends a decade and we begin another one with the new year. It was a year, for me, of ups and downs as it was for all of us, probably. And while I generally don’t do ‘what-did-I-learn-this-year’, I am inclined to do one this time. I have been showered with more love than my heart could hold and I have been made to feel the exact opposite as well- unworthy of the slightest recognition; I have felt on top of the world and I have also succumbed to postpartum depression; I have laughed till my sides ached and I have cried till no more tears came. And all of that has helped me understand a tad bit more the slippery slope of our relationship with life. It is never going to be perfect and neither are the people in it. I read somewhere recently that ‘mindful life is not about the next moment. It’s about the present one’. It is so easy to read these quotes and get inspired and feel energized but it’s a whole different ballgame trying to put that into practice, to live by it. But when you think about it, is it really that difficult? I have been taking baby steps towards this and while it does feel daunting at times to live in the moment only, probably because we are not used to that, it has been invigorating for the mind. Letting go of feelings that harbor negativity is another lesson I am going to be taking along with me to the new year and perhaps letting such people go as well! This year has brought me many things but the gift it has brought me more than ever is a new perspective. Many things were not part of the plan but they happened anyways. Some brought joy while others were downright painful. But they happened. And my wishing otherwise did not prevent them from taking place. And then a new day also came and better things brightened up the grey. What have I learned, you may ask. I have learned to accept and move on, I have learned to keep my faith and know that it will work out, I have learned to not stop trying in spite of all signs pointing at the opposite, I have learned to keep breathing. I have learned to pause a little when needed and ask for help, I have learned to trust more and appreciate more. I am still learning. Learning from my kids, from the good man I share this life with, from my parents who I watch from oceans apart, from the kindest neighbor one could possibly have, from that friend who will run to my side if I ever asked her and the 8000 miles between us would not matter.
Life is unpredictable, but it still is beautiful. It submerges us in its never ending waves but also teaches us to ride along and ride out. It lays quiet at times and then springs on us moments that are unexpected and unsought, some euphoric while others woeful, but all riveting nonetheless. Learning to ride along and ride out is what keeps our love affair with this life so gripping.
Wishing you all a happy and peaceful year ahead. May we crank up the music a little louder and dance if we want to, or take up a new challenge and not be afraid of failing; may we never stop being kind but also protect ourselves from being taken advantage of because of that kindness; may we keep moving ahead with the sure, albeit a bit wobbly, steps and may we know we are all in this together. It’s going to be okay!
What are some of your takeaways from this year? Did you stumble upon something new about yourself that took you by surprise? Would love to hear from you.
Thanks for stopping by.