It’s that time of the year again to reflect on the year gone by.
Right away, if there’s one word that’d describe my 2022, it would be gratitude. I remember penning the year-end review exactly last year, this time with a heavy heart.
2021 was a shocker of a year, with the sudden demise of my aunt, who was a maternal figure for us children in the family. She was among the youngest of my mother’s sisters and was barely sixty when she breathed her last.
My mother’s health hit rock bottom in 2021, starting at the beginning of the year with the second wave of COVID-19. The after effects of the pandemic continued to trouble her all year, with her health worsening towards the end of 2021. From speculations that it was long COVID to chronic osteoporosis and more, we were in the dark for the longest time about her condition.
It was around January 2022 when the doctors finally found the cause. My mum had Multiple Myeloma or blood cancer. Never in our wildest nightmares did we think that the cause of her sickness was cancer. I didn’t mention the name of the condition when I had penned last year’s reflections, because the news was yet to sink in fully among us. It took my mother the longest time to accept that she had the condition. It wasn’t until later this year that she told people of her condition – a few months after her chemotherapy was over. From shock to denial to anger to sadness to acceptance and gratitude, my mom has experienced it all.
If 2021 was a tough year, I was prepared for 2022 to be even tougher on the personal front. I knew the only way to we could make through this crisis as a family was to keep hope alive, and rely on the power of prayer. And so, we prayed, sought people’s blessings, and we got to witness the immense love that mom commanded from family and friends. It was indeed touching to see how everyone went out of their way to see that her treatment was successful and comfortable. So many miraculous things that just fell into place at the right time to ensure mom’s good health.
Frankly, all the materialistic achievements and successes mean so little when all you need is love. Having my mum still with me is a miracle, and I couldn’t ask for anything more seriously last year. Nothing else meant as much, either. I ardently wish she puts her health on topmost priority this year and leave all worries and concerns aside. Her health is still fragile, and she’s got a long way to go before becoming stronger.
I intend to spend a lot more time with mum this year. If that means cutting back on work, so be it. If that means losing a few lucrative opportunities, so be it. Somehow, nothing makes more sense at this stage than dialling down on unnecessary, superficial activities and focusing on what and who truly matters in life.
Anyway, let me quickly run through my 2022 for you.
My word for 2022 was “Balance”. After 2020 and 2021, if there was anything I’d learned, it was the importance of having a balance in your life. I’m a natural workaholic, and I realised how pointless it was to live this way during the pandemic. The pandemic completely shifted my perspective about career, especially. My career goals before the pandemic, now suddenly seemed so meaningless and joyless. So, I took a call to switch and steer my career in a whole different direction. I’d also decided I will not be working so hard to the bone anymore. Surely, not to the extent of neglecting health, family, and home. My mum’s cancer happened at around the same time when I was contemplating bringing balance into my life.
Here are some of my baby steps last year in that direction.
In 2021, if I crossed 2500 steps, that itself was a huge thing. By 2022, I could clock in 10k steps daily easily. I’m still not there yet with my sleep goals but I’m hoping to improve my sleep hygiene in 2023.
I continued investing in lots of books. I’ve also been spending on fashion. It might sound superficial, but this was a luxury denied during the pandemic. I’d never shopped online for clothes before the pandemic. Now, I think it’s the best way to shop when returns and exchanges are a breeze. You can escape the traffic and crowds.
I’ve always thought of writing as tedious. Yes, it is, but I’m approaching it differently now. To re-look at writing and make it fun again. So, I’ve been actively writing online and on paper as well.
I wrote a lot last year. There were platforms who wanted me to contribute regularly as a columnist and curator. I was skeptical at the start, given my work, home, and personal commitments. But, I’ve been able to manage it so far. I intend to keep up with the writing flow, and explore more terrains this year.
Professionally, it was a good year again. While I might be slow down on work, it doesn’t mean that it’s any less fruitful. The hard work I’ve put in the last couple of years has earned me an excellent reputation. Almost everyone who’s worked with me still turns to me when they have new projects. Work will always be important, but the trick is to balance it with other aspects of your life. It’s time to make the switch from hard to smart work this year.
Family And Friends
Family will continue to be the foremost priority. I’ll continue to don my maternal side for my mother and daughter, and be there entirely for them. Two different ages, two different demands, but they need me the most. Of course, the men in my life will also matter. They’ll need me as much as I need and depend on them.
Friendships are important. I’m glad I could maintain some great friendships, even with some of them being in distant lands. I met a few friends last year post the pandemic, and can’t wait to meet more in 2023 when they’re in town.
My social life slowly started opening up after my mom’s chemotherapy ended in June last year. It’s been rejuvenating, catching up on connections post the pandemic.
I’ve learned that as much as we can plan things, there are many factors outside our control. Sometimes, they help us. Sometimes we think they don’t. Eventually, we realise even it seemed certain situations might have even traumatised us, they actually helped us in the bigger picture of life. I take solace in the fact there’s a higher force in play who has our back in all situations.
At the end of 2021, I’d said how I’d realised it was important to be kind to those who’ve been unkind to me.
At the end of 2022, I want to let go of all things fake. From being truly honest with oneself—letting go of habits and tendencies that don’t serve me any good, and even connections that aren’t true.
It doesn’t mean you’re any less kind, but you only have so much capacity and you can only give so much of yourself to others. So, why not be true and fully present to only a few and do it well? So, that might look like cutting down on time spent on social media and feeling the need to chase metrics of likes, shares and engagements.
In a nutshell, to be honest with oneself. Be true to you. There’s nothing to prove to anyone else.
2023, I give you my word.
My word for 2023 is “Surrender”.
On that note, here’s wishing you a happy, safe, and prosperous 2023! Signing off with this Camila Cabello’s song, Bam Bam because 2022, despite the heartaches, scares, and tough lessons, you’ve still been kind.
* This blog post is a part of the #LetsSayHello2023 blogging activity by Swarnali Nath.