Chasing the bright side

What does not kill you, makes you stronger. Does this hold true when it comes to the pandemic? Have we become less artificial and more real, mentally stronger, more connected to our fellow beings and a wee bit more sensitive (and sensible) than usual?
Last Updated 30 January 2021, 20:07 IST

Life’s short and unpredictable and the previous year proved that to us many times over. While 2020 has prepared us for the worst, it’s also a year that compelled us to look at the bigger picture. So much so that it has gotten most of us to sit up and take note of how much we’ve focused on the superfluous — holiday spots that offer nothing more than a few Instagram pictures, vying for a promotion in a dead-end job just to keep the status quo, falling back on comfortable yet erratic lifestyles, ticking off ridiculously unhealthy weight-loss goals over overall fitness and the like. Come to think of it, has the pandemic pushed us to think in the right manner?

So, here comes 2021 — staring right into our faces, prodding us to look within before we set our resolutions (and abandon them by February first week). We speak to a few enterprising youngsters to understand how they hope to continue the good work, so to speak.

Nothing for granted

“My new year resolution is all about living sustainably, investing in self-realisation, spreading kindness and positivity. I’m very fortunate to be living in Ooty as I get to work from home. Working with nature through cultivation of fruits and vegetables has taught me so many lessons such as being humble and paying attention to details; this really makes all the difference,” begins Armaan Junaid, a homestay owner. “The past year has proven how crucial it is for people to get better at life skills. I want to resolve to never take anything for granted as that’s something we definitely end up doing unconsciously. I realised I am a terrible cook and I intend on fixing and changing that.”

While pursuing spirituality is a subjective concept, Nastassja Suri, co-founder of a rhythm-based spinning studio, believes being grateful and taking little but consistent steps toward spreading positivity can go a long way. “My new year resolution is to live life fully, from a place of love, as I strongly believe that love has the power to conquer all and to heal all. My goal is to tap into this higher frequency and give every conversation, every exchange, and every action, no matter how small, my all,” she enthuses.

There have been signs of this for a while now, but Covid-19 was the holler that shook us to our senses, avers Nastassja. “I was reminded to be grateful for things that I took for granted — good health, a roof over my head, and the outdoors. I spent a lot of time reflecting and reading during the lockdown and am of the opinion that if we spend more time feeling grateful and expressing gratitude, our world will be a much brighter, stronger place.”

Scores of individuals have different things to look forward to in the new year, but nothing adds up to much without self-love, opines Reecha Agarwal Goyal, a Delhi-based author. “Maybe I have been a good daughter, wife, daughter-in-law, sister and mother but after a few years, if I accidentally catch a glimpse of myself, will the reflection smile at me? Would I stand having my duties fulfilled towards her? Would I have taken care of her well-being? Would I have made her happy? And, will she thank me? I think I have some responsibilities towards this person that I see in the mirror and I am looking towards fulfilling them this year.”

More often than not, obsessing over the need to stick to one’s resolve can leave you overwhelmed. So, remind yourself to be patient with yourself as you ready yourself this new year, shortly after a turbulent one is left behind, cautions Mehak Grover, an author. “The desire to make, pursue and stick by a resolution is a personal choice. Some achieve their resolutions of becoming fit, more punctual, living a stress-free life, upping their productivity, and so on. Some just leave the stress and forget about their resolutions. But, in the process, what we forget is we need patience and perseverance. And once we know how to deal with any situation with forbearance and dedication, there is nothing one can’t attain. This year, my only resolution is how to become more patient, forgiving, contended and happy — to myself before all.”

Mindfully looking ahead

That said, living mindfully is the way forward, as setting achievable targets might offer temporary respite. But, it all boils down to being grateful for what is, in the now.

“My resolution is simple: Living mindfully, enjoying the blessings hidden in small everyday activities — be it a videocall with parents, playing with your child, spending quality time with family, volunteering for service, reading, writing, gardening, arts, all of these can actually be intrinsically satisfying and a source of joy. Setting ambitious goals and achieving success does bring a spike in happiness, but eventually, old habits set in and people return to their baseline happiness going by the hedonic adaptation phenomenon. So, in 2021, let’s go beyond hand sanitisation to mind purification,” opines, Dr Farah Naqvi, a professor and writer, concluding, “As we enter a new year, let’s strive to leave back those negative thoughts, fears, grudges, other’s opinions, hate, comparison with others, and worries about things beyond our control. Instead, let’s intend to smile more, replace screen time with me-time or family time wherever possible and live mindfully with gratitude.”

(Published 30 January 2021, 19:44 IST)

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