Thursday, December 31, 2015

More Lessons

Last year I published this one month late, so I already feel like I won 2015.

1. On going home. The other day I was in the middle of a screaming match with my older sister and there was this one moment where I stepped outside of myself, looked at the situation, and thought: wow, I've learned nothing. I always thought my mettle was tested on the road, in the middle of nowhere, on deadline, but moving home from India for four months this year -- the longest I've been home since I was 17 years old -- taught me otherwise.

2. On emotional intelligence. The ability to effectively say what you mean and how you feel, and provide a space for others to do the same could probably end wars.

3. On sitting still. Let this year go down in history as the year I actually started meditating, and not just on yoga retreats, thanks to my friend Shreya and this app called Insight Timer. I probably spend nine-tenths of that time daydreaming, but those few moments of clarity are like hours of therapy and a chance to differentiate the reality I have created from what is actually around me.

4. On the art of disappointment. This year I applied for several fellowships, jobs and grants. And I went on a few dates. For some strange reason, approaching every single opportunity with a balance of delusional optimism and detachment is what makes me feel satisfied, even when they don't work out. Disappointment is much easier to brush off when you know you've done your part.

5. On chocolate. It's okay to like milk chocolate better than dark chocolate.

6. On fear. Last year I was nervous I wouldn't 'make it' in India. This year I was worried I would settle for a life in America where happy hour was the only thing I had to look forward to. Neither of these things happened: In India, I produced investigative projects, nuanced reports and met hundreds of incredible people with a record low of two bouts of stomach illness. In America, I spent much needed time at home with my family and managed to land a job that is exciting, valuable and well out of my comfort zone. Sometimes fear is the best motivation.

Inle Lake, Myanmar

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