There are some occasions every year that I make sure not to miss writing a post on. One of them is my birthday. It usually serves as an annual introspection entry too, since it is close to the end of the year. I have heard that the Christmas holidays make some introspective. I have heard that birthdays do the same. Since they happen to fall close in my case, it is a regular introspection-fest in the last six-seven weeks of the year. Looking back, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 all had birthday blog entries holding varying levels of thought and emotion, some immediate and some stretched over that year. What I have cared about has changed over the years, as has the people in my life. In 2011, there was the freshly displaced ‘I’m not a girl and not yet a woman, in a strange land’ pathos. In 2012, there is a great amount of roller-coaster emotions (the Atlanta Symphony, Marcel, Skyrim, Sibelius, Kautilya, Babylon). In 2013, there is great determination to move forward, amidst a terrible job search and general living circumstances. In 2014, there is a painful writer’s block as well as the continued determination to make the best of circumstances and self.
One of the major reasons I keep this blog is to go back, months later, years later too sometimes, and read between the lines of what I had written, and to see what has changed. Some people find self in meditation, some in lucid-dreaming, some in physical activity, and I find mine in my own words and the spaces between them.
2015 has been an eventful year.
In January, fresh from tasting the wines at Sonoma, I returned to work on a major deadline and that went wonderfully. I was first introduced to the waltz at the after-party by a patient friend. It is a remarkably sensual dance, though it has less flamboyance compared to some of the popular dances these days.
In February, work was laid-back and I attempted to get back to writing. I heard about a friend’s job search travails after a MBA program and hoped for the best.
In March, my life was thrown into a set of major changes and I had to adapt.
April saw me moored on a new shore, starting over again. Starting over again is something I have become remarkably used to, over the course of my life. I fear that I won’t have this resilience the next time, but that is a story for another day. The first months of the year was emotionally a difficult period, and I had to change my living circumstances with short notice in order to improve the quality of life. This was highly stressful but worked out well in the end.
In April, I spent a great deal of time at the Ballet. I visited Los Angeles and saw that it was a city unsuited for someone with my temperament. I wrote; it was ugly and ill-formed, but it was progress. I spent hours in the Getty museum of art admiring watercolour paintings of ships. Rodin was around. I grieved the previous few months and what I had once found great joy in, and I sat down making lists to start attempting to rebuild. The plan was to binge-watch Star Wars and let the hurt wash itself out as I watched their Yoda. Somehow, I never got around to that, but I did binge-read Adam Smith and Mises.
May saw me in Seattle and I met old lab-cronies. I was very glad to meet an old, dear friend who had made tea for me so often in our lab. He spoke to me of humanoids and I listened, rapt, to his war-tales. There was an attempt from Babylon about mending fences, and I tried too, but we clearly spoke different languages at that point and I don’t think either of us really understood what was said by the other person. It happens. Too much water under the bridge.
June saw me running around to get my trip to the motherland approved. It was a warm and lazy summer, and much of it was spent sipping orange-juice on the patio and reading. I did a successful apartment-hunting for the second time this year and won a bargain price near Stanford for a short-term rental. Sibelius scoffed and complained about the air-conditioning. I dared him and he spent three days scouring Craigslist before admitting defeat. All was forgiven…eventually.
In July, I was travelling with family. I returned to work tanned and a few pounds lighter. There was significant finality in this month as we made our long-delayed decision to stop being a binary system. Whenever I have been asked by anyone about the ‘better-half’, I have always had only instinctual response. It is taking me a long time to break that reflex. You have loved someone for a very long time by choice, and been loved too, and that love has crept into the crevices of you changing the person you are, and it is a wild and new world you wake up to when you have decided to give that up after more than a decade of a mostly functional binary system.
In August, Sibelius dragged me to the symphony multiple times. We watched terrible films, ate tiramisu, avoided responsibilities and got fat. Worried, I ran to the swimming pool. Unbothered, he went off to torment his internship mentor. Since he seems to have semi-switched from his discipline to mathematics, I taught him Mathematica and the power tools of MATLAB. He took to it like a duck to water and was so smug until I tried explaining support vector machines.
In September, there was a racing car I got to drive. There was a lovely woman and I spent a great deal of time in her excellent company. She taught me to bake. I know how to bake cookies. She also taught me to make jam and can it. One of the coolest skills I have picked up in my life, even if I am not a jam aficionado. There was a traumatizing episode at work where they had professional make-up artists come in to help us look good for official photographs. I needed copious amounts of acai bowls to get over that.
In October, work took full-focus, though I managed to get a great deal of writing done too. There was rain, for the first time after a long while. I picked up some Japanese. I think I can handle ordering takeaway and ask for instructions on roads if needed. I drove to Los Angeles and saw an excellent rock concert. I received news that an old friend has finished his doctorate and was planning to take a research position soon.
November now. Looking forward to Thanksgiving in familiar and beloved settings. I have missed that.
Jumper season. I have managed to acquire a few ugly ones, somehow, thanks to a Korean friend’s post-pregnancy clothes-offloading in favour of making away with some of my best scarves.
I don’t have Christmas plans as of yet, but I think work pressure for the annual January media circus might take precedence.
Living alone has worked out exceptionally well for me so far. I have come to understand that I like being on my own, with my thoughts and quirks, writing and working at my own pace, without having to match someone else’s expectations.