I know it’s a cliched title and you’re expecting the content to be the usual round-up of the year gone by. Actually, it’s not. It’s not a summary of the year. While bidding adieu to 2022, it’s not like a sum up of the things left undone, the dreams not fulfilled, the friends not met, the places not travelled to. I mean is there ever a list of things not done which ends, are we ever free of regret? I don’t think so. If anything, I think all of us, without exception, share a list of what has not happened or not done or not got which is longer than the list of things done or achieved.
C’est la vie!
And why is that? Maybe because as humans we are never ever satisfied with what we have and always aspire for more. Maybe because it’s these diluted aspirations which keep us hopeful about the future. The gelatinous turbidity of our lives ensconces our hopes reminding us of the knob on the walking stick used by Richard Attenborough in Jurassic Park. The tiny mosquito embedded in the surreal glow of the lava rock, remember it?
But we are neither the mosquito nor are we thankfully stuck in some lava rock. We’ve life force throbbing through our veins constantly reminding us to keep moving. But moving does not mean just breathing and ticking another day off from our calendars. It means doing something that at the end of the day when the head touches the pillow, there’s a sense of achievement or a certain calmness that comes from knowing you’ve done your job.
So, how do I describe my 365 days of existence? It’s been a roller coaster year. I’ve had my share of ups and downs, hit a few plateaus, and still going strong. If there has been something consistent then it’s change, and I’m savouring every bit of it. The year started when I was still a teacher to a bunch of precocious yet adorable first graders. They tested my limits, and I pushed them to outdo themselves. It was a contest I didn’t mind losing and anyways I won either way! A most fulfilling commitment I could ask for. While teaching is such a wholesome and satisfying profession, it’s also the most undervalued, underpaid and underrated. Sad but true.
Moving on, not satisfied with just teaching, I decided to do more. I decided to open a store, online mind you. For a person who runs a mile from the gadgets, this was a big, big step. Back in front of the computer, starting from scratch, it was a journey of self-discovery and breaching new barriers. I’ve learnt many new things – learnt to use some apps (struggling through a few others), explored social media, attended a few online courses (never knew there were so many of them making learning anything possible) – as I entered the new parallel world of the online. Believe me, I never felt so unsure of myself. It’s been overwhelming and challenging but that’s the fun of learning and trying something new.
New starts, renewed efforts
It was as if 2022 was willing us to live our lives, make up for the days lost to quarantine. And I for one don’t want to miss out. While I play catch-up with life, work goes on. My struggles with getting things done online wear me down more than my class full of 7 years olds. If remembering passwords of the email accounts wasn’t enough, now I’ve got a dozen other sites and apps I need to use. Scribbling passwords here and there and then later struggling to remember which is which, is mentally fatiguing. And to add to my misery is the fact that my struggles provide ample entertainment to the rest of the family.
Anyway, I think I’ve come a long way from swearing under my breath every time I’ve to put the password to calmly looking at my diary page and deciphering it. The page where I had scribbled every detail looked like a high-level code which needed the expertise of codebreakers. Finally, after weeks of struggling with matching the correct username and password, I had a eureka moment and made a nice table for myself. For all my fellow humans struggling through the maze of passwords and usernames, I’m sharing this table with you.
I strongly believe that learning has no age and that it keeps the mind active. But navigating through the online world gives me palpitations. Every time I tried something new, I would start sweating, my heart rate would shoot, pulse would go galloping and my normally active brain would act like a clump. But I had to do it, so I would bravely venture where I never dared before and keep my fingers crossed, prayed to every god I could think of and hoped most fervently for someone to call up so I could promptly get up and not have to go through it. Good nobody called (they knew, either way, I wouldn’t pick up) and I trudged through the session and finally made it across.
Looking out to new horizons
I can now proudly say that this whole learning experience has been an eye-opener and the amount I’ve learnt in the last few months would not have happened had I not decided to take the plunge. Moving out of your comfort zone is the most difficult thing to do. But once that’s done everything else falls into place. You’ll definitely find a way to deal with it.
Not one to back away from a challenge, my decision to start an online store took everyone at home by surprise. But they stood by me, became my safety net, my biggest cheerleaders and, most importantly, my teachers. They taught me most things, from using apps to setting up things to everything and for that I’m grateful. Of course, they can’t give up on the opportunities I provide regularly to have a good laugh at my expense but I’m counting those as payment for their 24×7 services. A good bargain, don’t you say?
That’s 2022. Moving into 2023, I’ve big plans and am keeping all my fingers crossed. Of course, you’ll be there to witness (some of) it yourself. If you’ve any ideas or suggestions or advice, drop a mail or write in the comments section. It would be nice to hear from you. And in the meantime, do visit the store and see how my struggles are taking shape.
Keep dreaming and working towards them. Wishing all of you a wonderful 2023!
P.S. If you’re looking for printable calendars and planners online for 2023, you can check out my collection at the Etsy store.
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