This smells like a year-end post. It has all the ingredients – the googlies life threw at me, the good stuff that happened, the lessons I learned from all this because it’s either that or go into therapy and pay to learn them. It’s too soon for a year-end post, I know. But who is to say what will have happened by December 31st? Nobody knows. And so, with this elegant segue into Life Lessons 2018, here goes nothing.
Good things first. My second book ‘Swear You Won’t Tell?’ finally came out this March. (If you haven’t already, give it a read. If you have, thank you, you’re the best!) Considering it took three years to write, one year to get rejected and another to get published, I’m thrilled that people have liked it enough to leave flattering reviews on both old and new media (if that’s you, reader, I hereby craft the adjective ‘megabest’, in your honour.) I’d be lying if I said there weren’t times I was discouraged by all the rejection. As a writer, it’s incredibly easy to doubt yourself. Besides, I was navigating hitherto uncharted (for me) waters with this whole comic thriller business. But it worked. Staying the course, not giving up, doing all that nonsense self-help books tell you to do, worked. Which means the next time someone tells me I’m not good enough, I’ll take it on my chin and not my self-belief. One hopes. So, for lesson one, I will quote Aerosmith: Dream on, dream on, dream on, dream on till your dream comes true.
Now, to the bad. This has been a tremendously bad year, health-wise, for Rook, Pookie and me. Between Pookie’s middle-of-the-night forehead gash, my slipped disc, Rook’s dengue, my IBS and my brutal eczema, I thought we’d exhausted our being fucked quota. But then came Diwali. And with it, a severe rash that now has me looking like Wade Wilson, minus the Deadpool suit. I’m an itchy, scratchy, tetchy mess. Sleep is impossible without antihistamines and I get barely 4 hours of it at the most, before the itching begins again. Looking in the mirror is an exercise in self-flagellation. I have begun to think of my previous eczema flare-ups with misty-eyed fondness. Poor Rook walks around like someone who’s had all the fight kicked out of him. And me, I’m doing the most Pinterest-y thing ever: writing in a gratitude journal. Why? Because turns out, counting your blessings gives you some perspective. A positive one, at that.
Which brings me finally, to the ugly. My dad was recently diagnosed with cancer. He had a cancer scare last year, and this year the scare turned real. He’s due for a 7-hour surgery in the next couple of days, which might just leave his face irreversibly altered. You want an anti-tobacco ad? Here it is. You’d think a parent undergoing a serious ailment would change life as you know it. Not mine. I’m still battling AWOL maids, a demanding 4-year-old, mother’s guilt, work stress – the works, really. Because (cue Life Lesson theme) life doesn’t wait because there’s a crisis. Groceries don’t magically appear in your pantry, vegetables don’t materialise in your refrigerator, and the endless annoyances of the everyday aren’t put on hold. They can’t be, see. And perhaps, that’s the point.
Perhaps that’s what they mean when they say life goes on. Life, in all its ordinary and extraordinary glory, simply continues. It continues throwing bouquets and curve-balls at you. You can duck, catch or be smacked in the face. But you can never see them coming. All you can do, is go on living. Go on doing things you love. If you don’t love what you’re doing, stop and find something you do. Go on dates with someone who makes you smile. Take your kid to the park or the beach and become a child for a few minutes. While you still can. Because you don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Oh, and perhaps most important of all – quit complaining. If things are bad, guess what? They can ALWAYS be worse. That’s the single most important thing I’ve learned this year.
End of sermon. And a happy November to you.