Monday, January 31, 2011

You are on the clock, . . . GO!!!

It is January 31st of a brand new month, of the year 2011; which by the way marks the beginning of yet another brand new decade in our lives! Believe it or not, the year is just about starting the race to the finish line yet again. Yep!  For me, there is still ample time to turn this year to a successful, pivotal and remarkable year for us all individually. We still have ample time and opportunity to soar beyond our wildest expectations towards our dream spouse, dream home, career, etc. It does however, require that every second of our day be used productively to the best of our abilities!

I have said a lot of time in my prior articles that one of the wisest words ever written  is what is known as Newton’s third law of motion; “To every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”.  Ever wondered that we are blessed with the luxury of 24 hours in every single day and yet, we never seem to accomplish what we set out to do, ever! Ever wondered why two seemingly similarly situated individuals could go through life with staggeringly different levels of success. One going on to achieve huge success and the other only barely managing to get by on a daily basis?

Take a minute of your day to observe how the clock constantly ticks from seconds, to minutes, to hours. These hours turn into days, months, years, decades. It just does not stop for anyone. It therefore becomes imperative that every single minute counts and must be utilized effectively or else, another decade will roll around yet again, and we are still in the same place, probably whining about how difficult life is. We are all equally given the luxury of the 24 hour days and individually make choices of how we spend these hours.  We must undertake to utilize these minutes effectively by taking positive and affirmative steps and actions towards meeting our set goals, objectives and aspirations. Constantly ask yourself during the course of the day whether you are being productive, destructive or dormant with your actions in trying to navigate towards your set goals.

 We also have a choice to do absolutely nothing, may be seat on our butts and complain and watch others manifest their goals and dreams. For such people, going by Newton’s law; there will be a zero net effect on their current individual situations in the coming months and years. There are others who have tried the same thing (destructive or dormant actions) over and over and over again with the same net results – failure?  If you are one of these people, you must know that It is time to try something different.

On a closing note, and in the spirit of having an honest conversation, ask yourself this - When was the last time that you did something that made you really proud of yourself, and gave you this huge sense of accomplishment and probably also put you on a natural high? Really!  Be honest. It may have come from doing something that you really loved; or achieving a set goal or it may have been that you stepped out of your comfort zone and still gave a stellar performance, or something as simple as what I did over the weekend which was cleaning out the kids' play room that turned into a hot mess since after ChristmasJ. It made me feel really proud as it was a chore that I had dreaded for weeks.

If it has been a while since you did a thing like that, your goal after today must be to re-create that moment again by stepping up and out of your comfort zone. Try recreating something similar to that action you undertook that led you to that great moment! That is clearly the path that leads to greatness! It is usually a priceless moment; the kind of moment that Whitney Houston called, “A moment in time” in her song, “One moment in time”.  If it has been a while since you had that “moment” start today!

Now, step out and walk confidently towards that Dream. There is a caveat - you must put in productive seconds, minutes, and hours during the day before the Goal/Dream takes flight. You are on the clock and it is ticking. . .  

Now, GO!!!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Circle of Life

It was a couple of days before Christmas of 2010 and I was trying to tidy up things around my home and at the office. I was sitting at my office desk and staring into space. The wide-eyed stare began at least initially as my futile attempt to take one last quick glance at the “one item each Christmas shopping list” that I had posted on my wall when all of a sudden, I became lost in the space of my thoughts; simply staring at and through the wall. I wanted each of my children to list only one item they wanted that would make their Christmas extra special and they did on that paper. Dad and I will get it for them was my promise.  They have finally demystified the Santa illusion and knew mom and dad got them their presents and not Santa:-). I slipped back into the present and knew I had to leave right away. Like NOW!!!

I rushed off from the office for my last minute shopping to pick each of them their one special request and the emotion sweeps over me yet again. The holidays make me cry a lot for some weird reason. It might be the sentimental Christmas carols on the radio that trigger the sniffles or the sheer thought of what Christmas use to mean for me as a child. I could also attribute it to the astounding role reversal that happened to me really before I knew it. (That is what it feels like sometimes). Some really short years ago (it feels really like yesterday), my mom was doing just the same things that I was doing now, shopping for our new shoes and making our dresses, and baking cakes and chin-chin( fried dough usually made in West Africa for special occasions) in the days leading up to Christmas.  

My sisters and I were equally busy during the season just decorating and waiting for the big day.  All of a sudden, amidst these thoughts,  I really actually smelt that divine aroma of my mom’s Christmas baking  . . . Jeeez !!!  I swear even the air in my car also traveled  down memory lane with me.  It smelt the same way the Christmas air smelt when I was a child!  OOOOOOOOOkay . . . , that did not help my nostalgia at all. Another melt down began as I was stopped at a traffic light. The emotions quickly overwhelm me again and this time I felt the need to pack my car and really let it out. I ruined my make-up :-( Really bad idea for someone who is planning to shop. Walking into a store with a fresh and puffy face bereft of make-up is never coolJ. Miraculously, I managed to get through my shopping just before the 24th.

Back at the house, it was Christmas Eve for us. We (the children and myself) called my parents and wished them a happy Christmas since they were six hours ahead of us in Africa. I spoke to my mom and was just content to become the child from yester years all over again. (I usually do that in my room with the latch securely locked for privacy :-)). We talked about how Christmas used to be and she joked about still trying to add the last button to our dresses on the eve of Christmas so that we could look our best on the big day. I told her how nostalgic I had been feeling lately and how I finally metamorphosed into her in a lot of ways. My sole concern like hers in those days was to make tomorrow as beautiful as can be for my children. Somehow, I had lost my sense of fun and wonder that I had as a child for the season. I didn’t care for any gifts any more. I had other responsibilities reeling in my brain and was only wishing that Christmas passes really fast so that I could address them.

My mom was emotional as well and explained she and daddy were also adjusting to their respective roles of grandparents to fifteen grandchildren. She reminisced about those days when our home was crazy lively, almost rowdy sometimes and definitely a lot of fun; a sharp contrast to its current state of dead quiet. She had only daddy with few friends and relatives that will stop by on Christmas day.

Mommy called it the “circle of life”.  “It is a blessing, my daughter” Mom said. It is meant to be that way. (Oookay  . . . more sniffles . . .  thank you very much! . . .) Every culture of the world have parents who hope their children grow up very well-adjusted adults, leave home, get married and hopefully take care of their aging parents.  It would happen to my husband and I sooner than later, she said. Those words were true but really scary. The thought of this crazy and lively home where I am constantly screaming for me to hear myself and save my sanity soon becoming quiet and lonely is really frightening .  “Yes,” she said, “they grow up so fast”.  I told mom that I am still adjusting to the role of “mom” even though my oldest is almost 11. It is such a wonderful blessing to be “mom” yet that role is not for the faint of heart. We wished each other a happy Christmas, hung up, and I went on to get a really blissful sleep.

Christmas finally is here!!!! YEAH!!! Everyone is screaming in excitement (including my one year old, who had to join the chorus :-) because they got their special presents.  They were beyond excited! I looked at them and felt really proud of myself. I did it!!!  

I am still drawing my own “circle of life”. One day my children will fall in love, marry and leave our home and have their own kids. They will begin their own individual journeys.  They would begin drawing their own circle of life. I hope that I am able to create just enough memories in them that they can savor as adults the same way I am still savoring my mom’s.

I totally agree with mom! This is the way that it should be!