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Revel in small victories

Reflection

Reflection

Typically, year-end stories are serious, contemplative pieces to be accompanied by introspection and a sigh. They revolve around the dreaded "R" word that emerges from dusty closets every December - resolutions.

Lofty and often unattainable, they are doomed to be broken, forgotten or abandoned until the end of next year. Most don't even last as long as the leftover plum cake from Christmas. Well, this ain't that kinda story. This is a snarky toast to all the things that went right in 2017, and to some of those that didn't. So please, leave your resolutions at the door. All you will need to contemplate the year gone by are your sense of humour and a pencil.

So, prepare to dance a jig, bring out the bubbly, or at least pat yourself on the back for every item on the list that you have accomplished. (Disclaimer: The categories have been sequenced in random order and are not indicative of any grand design.)

Work

If you are one of those fortunate few who have had a relaxed end to the year, then you were able to tap into some of that holiday cheer in the air. If on the other hand, year-end work has burned off your festive spirit, fret not. You can attribute it to the vagaries of working in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world.

* There was one 23-minute period a few months ago, when you actually had zero unread emails in your inbox. Bonus points if you also finished replying to all of them.

* You managed to conquer your to-do list. Once.

* You added at least one achievement or skill that you take real pride in.

* You spruced up your LinkedIn profile. Who knows what exciting opportunities the new year will bring?

* You got a raise. Or at least worked up the courage to ask for one.

* You accepted that stretch assignment.

* Offered help to someone, simply because you could, not to gain something from it. And asked for help when you needed it. These are two sides of a coin called collaboration.

* You've kept abreast with what's going on in your industry and the business world at large. Irrespective of whether you are in tech or not, the words - big date, AI, machine learning and IoT are not Greek to you. Bonus points if you have a point of view on these you can defend.

* You worked up the courage to talk to that attractive guy or girl on the third floor. Even if it was only to ask where you could find Anita from HR.

* You are getting better at networking. A 60-second conversation in the lift counts as networking, right?

* You have started spending some time every week developing your startup idea. You realise that it has the potential to change the world, but unless you sacrifice some of your Netflix time, someone else might just change the world first.

Relationships

* You took your kids out to the park instead of handing them your phone, iPad or laptop to watch videos on YouTube. Sure, they are educational videos, vetted by other helicopter parents. Bonus points if you taught them how to play lagori or gilli danda instead of catching up with your WhatsApp messages.


* You sat down and had an actual conversation with your parents. Just to clarify, asking if the maid has left or if they have taken their medication does not count as conversation.
* You complimented your partner after he/she took the trouble to dress up for an evening out. Bonus points if you actually noticed what he/she was wearing. Double the points if you planned that evening yourself. Triple if you planned it with your partner's interests in mind.

* You braved the pre-election road-repairing frenzy to catch up with an old friend on the other side of the town, instead of forwarding that carefully curated husband-wife joke on WhatsApp.

* Listened, really listened when someone was talking. Without interrupting, without jumping in to list the 16 reasons why they were wrong, and without sneaking a peek at your phone. And without offering the 21 solutions you could think of. It might seem hard to believe, but the world's problems do not rest on your shoulders. Let's leave that to Atlas, shall we?

* You walked away from an argument. Agreed to disagree, when you could have told them a thing or two. After all, you read a newspaper now and then and follow all the important people on Twitter. You are therefore, something of an authority on most subjects.

* You took a step towards being more assertive. Instead of sniping behind someone's back, you chose to punch them in the nose instead. Much healthier.

I, me, myself

* You lost five kilos. OK, at least one kilo. Or at least did not put on anymore. At the very least, you made up your mind to do something. Buying a new weighing machine counts. Don't worry too much about this one, research agrees that weight-loss resolutions are the first to crumble.


* You read one book. Yes, even if it was by that author that no one has heard of, about the secret love life of arachnids. The topic is irrelevant; research shows that reading significantly reduces the risk of dying of chronic ignorance.

* You went on that solo trip you have been planning ever since you saw your colleague's amazing pics on Instagram. Or at least you intend to. It's not easy planning travel these days; so much information on TripAdvisor to process, so many blogs to read. Research, after all, is key. And while you've got your nose to the research grindstone, the next set of pics have appeared on Instagram.

* You finally got around to decluttering your closet. Bonus points if you donated the spoils to charity.

* Congratulations, if you have managed to do the same to your life as well. You have evaluated the people in it and the value they bring. You have sorted them into categories labelled keep, toss and toss now! Periodic spring-cleaning of your friend list is de rigueur.

* You might have accepted a friend request from that weird neighbour across the hallway in a moment of inclusive largess, but he/she is now crouched in a forgotten corner of your friend list, mining your personal moments for nuggets of juicy gossip. Go on, take a deep breath, hit 'unfriend'.

* You quit one bad habit. Smoking, drinking and gambling are passé; millennial vice lists include overdosing on caffeine, posting your daily routine on social media, not exercising enough, not travelling enough.

* You invested time in a new hobby or interest. You are not quite sure what to do with your collection of broken mug handles, but who knows, you might just become the next Pinterest sensation.

* You joined that running group in your locality, or did something vaguely resembling exercise. It doesn't matter that others automatically associate a gym sighting of you with an upcoming wedding, or a recent trip to Decathlon. And so what if your laboured breathing startles the canines in the neighbourhood.

* You overcame one fear. It doesn't have to be a really big one, like a fear of cockroaches. Even small steps count, like eating out at a restaurant without checking out all the reviews on Zomato.

Being a civic-minded citizen

* You did your bit to ease traffic congestion. You took public transport, walked, cycled, or carpooled to work whenever you could. Alright, UberPool counts too.

* You took one teeny step towards a greener lifestyle - stopped using plastic bags, hosted a green birthday party, started composting kitchen waste, collected e-waste from your neighbours and deposited it at the office drop point.

* You carry a cloth bag when you go shopping. So what if that's only to save the 20 bucks the supermarket charges you for a bag.

* You carry your own water bottle, even though it looks so much more fashionable to be seen drinking only mineral water.

* You held onto that empty soft-drink can or chips packet till you found a dustbin, instead of tossing it out of the car window because look how dirty the roads are anyway, right?

* You made time to volunteer for a cause. You find the time to teach cricket at the local school, donate books, or have joined your office CSR initiative.

* Bonus points if you actually did any of the above without arguing about how industries, cows or people from a certain community are contributing xx% more to all planetary ills and therefore change should logically begin with them. There's so much more we all can do here, but let's begin first, shall we?

Investments

* You had bought a bitcoin, if not a couple of years ago, then at least in early 2017, before it began its stratospheric climb.


* You managed to buy property that is not on a lake bed, is approved by RERA and local bodies, and allows you to take diversions depending on which road is being dug up or filled or white-topped.

* You know that mutual funds are subject to market risks, and you have read the offer document carefully before investing the couple of thousands that you were otherwise spending at the mall.

So, how does your scorecard look? Feeling better about 2017 now? For those of you whose pencil was idle for most of this assessment, relax. There's always next year. After all, that's what Decembers are for. Let's agree not to use the "R" word, though, shall we?

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