All is vanity | Vanity of vanities

Another Yom Kippur.

Instead of going out, I stayed home tonight in the hope of getting some planning done. That did not happen. I made a list, though. I must start somewhere.

I have been tired and sleep-deprived this week, and not admittedly for the best of reasons. I need to take a break from work, to relax and watch the flowers in my garden, to spend time with friends and to replenish myself emotionally in their warm company. Also, free, unconditional hugs. Kindness is rare, and kindness of touch is rarer.

Earlier this week, I was looking at the train-wreck that one of my former lab-mates has made of his life. It has been heartbreaking to watch it happen. I had not been close to him. Our paths had never crossed except on Facebook and at the coffee machine. Yet, to see human tragedy, brought upon by choice (plenty of it), was unpleasant. He is brilliant, has a great job, earns well, lives cosily and yet things had gone to hell because of his choices in partners. I did the best I could – I retreated to my life, read and wrote, played and distracted myself from the sight of it. It brought to me questions of reciprocity and expectation once again, and I was in no mood this week to think harder. What would be the point? There is little you can do except love and and stay strong in yourself, and perhaps one day it will be your time to receive. It is sometimes daunting to accept that; as a writer, love is more than an emotion you ride the high of – it is fuel for the pen just as it is fuel for the heart.  At least, for me, writing has never been able to take hatred or cynicism as motivations. Even when I have written of grief or the lows and the darknesses of life, it has been rooted in love.

The episode reaffirmed my decision to stay off social media. I am productive, focussed and content when I am not looking at ups and downs in others’ lives. Perhaps that makes me selfish. Does it matter, when I have found a way to stay centered and content by filtering out emotional turbulence caused by the constant negativity on social media of all sorts, from Huffington Post to Facebook? I am less informed than I ought to be, certainly, and I am weeks delayed when it comes to the current events. I find I mind less than I once thought I would.

I still check the weather.

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I am still thinking about my Thanksgiving plans. I do want to go somewhere new. I do also want to go to Atlanta. I want to be at a large table, celebrating Thanksgiving with a family. I have fond memories of years past, first when we walked amongst red leaves under the bare trees at Emory sipping coffee from Highland and talking about Tapiola that had brought us together, later when I watched a young man, bundled in blue and gold, attempt to chop firewood valiantly before giving up the task to his father, later when I drove down the winding California 1 by gorge and ocean in awe of the sheer majesty of nature’s craft, later when I returned to Atlanta again to be fed and warmed by family and a hearth beloved.

I need more earrings, I am told. I own little in the way of accessories, so I suppose it wasn’t a surprise that someone noticed the fact.

I need more scarves for the season! I miss sorely my green scarf which had been with me for years and had to be finally surrendered to its fate during a move.

I have a new dress and it is lace, thanks to an early birthday present from a friend who made a trip to Daejon for a conference recently. It is quite Korean in fabric and make. I like it already.  White is my favourite. It is a nice pairing to the extremely well-made, tailored salwar that I received from home, sent for Onam. Even if my mother does not like white, she picks white clothes with her customary attention to detail and care that guarantees excellent results.

It is time for birthday presents and Christmas gifts. The coming weeks are some of my favourite ones of the year. Getting cards and presents never gets old.

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