9 years, and an engagement.

Dear Zonk,

I got engaged yesterday. Officially. An actual ceremonial affair with 20-ish people in a lounge with a chunnar and tilaks and rings and everything. The rings were fucked up and have now been sent for repair. The lounge was nice. The people were lovely, and everyone had a nice time. And C and I blundered through the whole thing like the awkward, ungraceful, over-sized children that we are. We figured that we really aren’t built for this stuff. So we went to Hamley’s when it was done and bought ourselves things – I got a skinny monkey named Murphy who looks kind and sad and flops around, and C got a cheap looking tank to assemble and practice his painting on.

And then I came back home, and I thought of you.

Here’s something I realised right away –
I’ve been writing here for almost a decade now.

I was 19 when I started this blog – a skinny, whiny, morose little person who wanted to be a copywriter and played guitar for several hours at a time and drank copious amounts of DSP Black and Old Monk.

I’m 28 now. I’m not a copywriter. Not in the terrible advertising kind of way, that is. I no longer make drawings on Microsoft Paint. I’ve forgotten how to play several songs that I’d spent ages learning. I’ve gone from not-really-painting to painting for a living to painting once a year or so. I’ve been broke, then less-broke, then sort of rich – and I’ve still not managed to figure out where all of my money goes. I’ve taken up and abandoned several things – the violin, the Irish tin whistle, a bullet journal, a blog (which is not abandoned, no it’s not!) I’ve learned to stop panicking. I’ve become a decent designer – accidentally, perhaps. I’ve made a best friend on this blog. I’ve gained 10 kilos, at least.

I’ve won some, I’ve lost some. Not a bad 9 years, all in all.

But the point is, that for 9 years now, I’ve pretty much been talking nonstop. And some of you have been listening nonstop. That’s really something, Zonk. It really, really is.

If I invite you to my wedding, do you think you’d come? I really hope you do. Because you’re as much a part of my life as anyone can ever be. I’m glad I have you around.

Thank you for listening. 

Love always,
K.

 

Finite

Dear Zonk,

I went for a funeral today, and I’d gone for another one about a month ago. One was for a friend’s grandmother, the other for C’s grandfather. Both of them had lived long lives, both had been sick and suffering for a while, and both their deaths were expected.

And yet, both funerals were heart breaking.

I guess it’s because expecting a loss doesn’t make it any easier to bear. Life does not prepare you for Death.

But if we can’t prepare for the one, we might as well make the most of the other.

Wait But Why published this article two days ago. It’s one of the shortest articles on the blog, and also one of the most hard hitting. It breaks life down into years, weeks, days, number of pizzas to be consumed, number of days you have left with your parents, and so on. You get to see mundane things laid out as a bunch of boxes. You get to see how many you’ve ticked off. You have no choice but to think about all the Life you’ve burned through already, and how little you have left of most things you take for granted.

Read it, Zonk. I suppose we could all take the time out to think of all the things we should be doing and all the people we’ve been ignoring and all the conversations we’ve been putting off. Go home early tomorrow. Eat slowly. Say I love you to someone. Don’t be checking your notifications while you’re at it. Call your mom if you haven’t already.
Because, you know, life is finite. There will be a last for every one of these things.

We’re just wired not to think this way.

 

 

Things I learned in Pondicherry

  • It feels good to walk barefoot on warm, dry brick. It feels amazing to go barefoot on grass. Damp grass is better than dry. Dry sand is fun, and wet sand is nice but not worth the mess it makes.
    My feet have strong opinions about these things. i just couldn’t hear them before.
  • Banyan trees are unbelievable.
    In the center of Auroville is a Banyan tree that’s about a hundred years old. Its branches are massive and run fully parallel to the ground and the roots that grow out of them have burrowed back into the earth and thickened into trunks.

    In the center of Auroville is a Banyan tree and I swear it is a forest all its own.

  • Silence can be both ominous and divine. It all depends on whether you’re indoors or out, and whether it’s day or night.
  • Vacations are nice because I’m allowed to sleep at any hour of day without fear of feeling wasteful or depressed.
    Time Without Consequence is good in small doses, I think.
  • Vacations are nice because you’re forced to step away from my bubble.
    I almost never step away. But I did now, and I found that if you go far away enough in time and space, most things aren’t as crucial as they seem.
  • My nephews can go days without playing Angry Birds. They just need real things to do.
  • We don’t appreciate wind chimes nearly as much as we should.

Changes – Part I (Where I got sick of the story line)

Dear Zonk,

I’ve been making vague posts about Changes for a while now, and I think the time has come to tell you everything. It’s kind of a long story, but you’ve trudged through so many of those here by now that I think you’ll maybe stick around for this one too. Because, you see, this is a big deal for me.

So, here goes.

I’ve never made any real decisions in life. I’ve just sort of drifted into this point in time and space by accident.
I spent most of my teens believing I’d grow up and be some sort of writer. And then one day I happened to paint a pair of shoes. My friend Frank liked those shoes, and he happened to make me a Facebook page and people happened to place orders. So I painted more shoes. And then, when I got sick of the smell of canvas and rubber, I started painting other things. The whole painting thing took on a life of its own and it took me to some really random places. Which I liked, mind you. I didn’t know I could paint till I was 20, and I didn’t know just how much I’d come to love it until much later, when I started painting small canvases. It never made me much money, of course, and I knew that at some point I’d have to get a real job doing real things.

At which point, C suggested I learn Photoshop. He pointed out that if I can do art I can probably do design and I thought – wow, this is so much cooler than MS Paint. So he taught me some basic Photoshop, and I learned more and started doing some freelance design work and then that took on a life of its own. I got a shit agency job that set my career back by thousands, hated it, stuck it out and quit it 6 months later to join Webly. That was almost three years ago, and Webly’s been on a roller coaster ride of its own since then. And I rode along and evolved in a very peculiar and unplanned direction: from Graphic Design to Web Design to eCommerce to UI/UX.

If you’d met me three years ago, you’d never have predicted I’d specialize in UI/UX Design someday. I wouldn’t have predicted I’d specialize in UI/UX design someday. Or that I’d actually be good at it. But I did, and I am, and honestly, I enjoy it.

Only I’m not a UI Designer at heart. At least, I’m not only a UI Designer. Or even a designer at all. And I’ve been unhappy for a while now because at some point, I turned 25. And when you’re a quarter of a century old you begin to feel less invincible. Things begin to feel more transient and you realize that time and youth are running out and if you don’t like where you’re heading you need to start rerouting now. Old age will happen to you someday. And then, when you’re 40, and you look back at things and ask what you’ve done with Life and all the lemons it threw at you…well. I don’t want to say that I took those lemons and built some good UI.

Don’t get me wrong. UI Design is great. It’s challenging and fun and it takes time to get good at it. But you see, Zonk, I used to do a lot of things. I used to paint and make music and blog like a maniac. (A cookie to you if you get the reference.) I still do all of those things, but only barely. I last painted in October. I have only 2 posts on Bleak Person Chronicles. I’ve been playing more music lately but these spikes happen in fits and bursts and I’ve found that I can’t sustain it.

And so, I panicked. And I told myself that by December, I will Make Some Changes and then proceeded to do absolutely nothing. And then December rolled around and I panicked again and told myself that by March, I will Make Some Changes. And to make sure I did that, I let the people at work know that Changes were on the charts and I’d be doing something differently by the time March ended and I might even leave. Nobody knew what the fuck to make of that, of course, because I really didn’t have a clear idea of anything to begin with. I only had a whole lot of discontent and a sense of tragic waste and a vague need to do something about it.

And now, because this post is getting way too long, I’ll break it off here and go into the actual changing bit in part II.

2015

Edit: All of these resolutions I have underway are only surviving because of my first resolution, which I forgot to mention. I am reading less this year.

Dear Zonk,

2015 is over two weeks old now, and I think it’s time I told you more about the many things I’ve decided to do this year and how I’ve fared so far. First, you should know that I’ve never before made so many serious resolutions. I suppose it had something to do with being young and dismissive and disrespectful of Time. Time sucks, you know. It fucking flies. You get years and years of being obscenely and undeniably Young. And then suddenly, before you know it, you’re making little tick marks in the “26 to 30” box in surveys and questionnaires. It’s alarming when that happens. Because, you know, you were in college so recently and you’re so used to being young and that whole aging thing wasn’t supposed to actually happen to you…

But it does. And it would have been nice to have gotten a head start on this whole Making The Most Of Life thing. But I pretty much threw away my early twenties being lax and lazy. So, here I am now. 26 and reeking of regret.

I’ve been brooding over this for over a year now: I’m not happy with where I’ve ended up a quarter of a century into this whole business of Being. And I figured I should stop whining and do something about it while I’m still a long way off from becoming a fossil. So, here goes. These are my resolutions.

  1. Become a healthier person. I’m an old lady. I have old lady bones that creak and click and muscles that strain too easily and a faulty neck and so on. I suspect this has something to do with the fact that my diet for the last 26 years has consisted mostly of starch and sugar and salt. Thin people take food for granted. I’m like that. I also don’t exercise enough, in spite of making serious attempts at sticking to a regular 7 minute workout schedule. So I plan to change that this year. I also really, really, really want a low resting pulse rate. But well. That’s a long way off.So far: Meh. I did a 2 week chip cleanse. That went badly, seeing as I’ve been stuffing my face full of chips ever since. I’ve not managed to do much working out. I’m trying to fix it. I really want to hit the 4 days a week mark soon. Well. I’ll keep trying.
  2. Figure out what I want to do. Because this is not it. There’s got to be something more. And there’s got to be time to hone all the skills I used to possess. I had potential in more than one area, you know. Maybe somewhere, some of it exists still. I need to figure out how to get to it.So far:  I’ve actually done okay here. I’ve been talking to lots of different people and thinking of possibilities. It’s all still kind of vague now. But I have all my fingers crossed. And if something works out, I’ll go get a haircut. Just saying.
  3. Make more music. So, I have no delusions about this. I am a decent songwriter. Sadly, I am also a mediocre guitarist and not much of a singer. I have a thin voice and a surplus of stomach butterflies and it makes me nervous to think of playing or singing around people. But, here’s the thing. I just did a rough count in my head right now and I have at least 9 songs of my own that I’m moderately proud of. 9 decent songs. That’s not bad, Zonk, if you think about it. And there’s more that I’ve left unfinished and so on.So my resolution this year is to make more music. Write more songs. Practice all three of my instruments. And, most importantly, record bearable versions of at least half of my 9 songs. You know, so I have something to show for it. I don’t want much more than that. I just want to be able to point to something and say – “Look. I made this.”

    So far: I’m actually quite proud. I jammed with new people on one song. I sort of finished recording another with C (I just need to add some violin parts to it, though we all know that could take months to accomplish). I practiced both guitar and ukulele a lot in the last week. I actually dusted off and tuned my violin this week. And I’m pretty excited about finishing the song. I’m seriously considering putting a WIP version up here. Who knows. Maybe I will.

  4. Bleak Person Chronicles. Sigh. This is the still-secret other blog I was supposed to have started last year. It exists. But it’s still not ready to be put out there. I have a lot of work to do with setting up and designing the theme and with you know, writing actual fucking posts. Like more than 2 a year, perhaps. Anyway. I’m sharing the link with you. And the password. Because, Zonk, you of all people deserve to know about any blog I’m trying to do. And also because maybe if I’m accountable to someone, I’ll do more about actually getting this off the ground. Here goes. Don’t share:
    Username: A Person
    Password: thisisasecret10

That’s all, and that’s already too much. I think if I manage to do well on at least half of this, I will be a happier person this year.

Goodbye, Zonk. And a Happy Saturday to you.

Love always,
K.

Labels

I’m in the bus right now, and when I look out I can see into the back of a car. There’s a small stuffed bear in this car, with all its parts labeled. Hand. Tummy. Ear.

Sleeping on my bed at home is a big floppy stuffed dog that I once got for my sister. Stitched into its side is an orange patch shaped like a bone, and on it, the word “dog”.

A lot of my nephew’s toys are like this. It reminds me of crayons in boxes. Simple and labeled and separate. And it makes me wonder why and at what point the labels disappear. I’m older now, and wiser, and I can name all the parts of a stuffed bear’s body. But I’d like some help with the rest of life. You know? It’s a strange and unfamiliar journey and I’d like some signposts along the way.
Glory Days. Heartbreak. Poverty Ahead. Bad Decision. Just Another Wednesday. And so on.

Where have all the labels gone? I want stickers pasted all over life with names and warnings and everything. I demand a massive signboard that proclaims, in large and friendly letters: Don’t Panic.