This is being written from a place of privilege. The majority of the people who will be reading this, will be reading this, also from a place of privilege. Keeping this in mind, I wanted to share a small thing that has helped in times of uncertainty, stress and general melancholy.
Many of us have heard about keeping a Gratitude Journal. I’ve tried it and I still do it intermittently and I vouch for this approach.
Basically, you have a paper diary – or even a blog – and you start by writing into it on a daily basis. A list of things in your life that you are grateful for. Do this regularly for a few days and see how you feel. Over a period of time, I’ve started doing this on an SOS basis – not daily.
Mainly, what it does for me at least is that it allows me to drive focus away from the things I am complaining about. Most of the things that I complain about are things I have no control over, which makes the complaining pointless. But I enjoy whinging. It assuages some part of my lizard brain. It makes me feel like I accomplished something. This bout of complaining usually involves venting to someone in-person ( usually B – and he listens patiently, for the most part ) or venting online, which is a waste of space, all things considered. What gives me the right to pass on my complaints to the feeds of others? At best they will ignore me. At worst, they will block me – because who needs the added negativity in their life anyway?
Instead, I choose to focus on the things I am grateful for. Thankful for. I’ll share a list.
Today, I am grateful for :
- Not being alone during this quarantine. In fact, being with someone who loves me as much as I love them.
- Both my parents being alive. I know I can’t see them – but we can do a video call whenever we want. They are STILL HERE.
- Food. I am grateful for food. On days I’m bored, it’s rice and lobiya. On days I’m feeling like trying something new, it can be atte ka halwa and cucumber chickpea salad with beer or whiskey. I’m grateful that I’m not starving. I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to explore my relationship with food and cooking.
- Air-conditioning. ( I’ll forever be grateful for this during the Indian Summers ).
- Instagram and Twitter and Facebook and YouTube and the millions of people who share their journeys online. I know that I am not alone. I have access to the lives of millions. It is inspiring.
- Being able to share my own journey and life online. I’m grateful for having my blog, my Instagram channels, my YouTube channel, a podcast! ( there are some people who actually want to listen to me TALK! )
- Paints. And paint brushes, and an easel and the wooden bases of brooches so that I can experiment new styles. Heck I even have a functioning online shop where I can list my art and some people are STILL buying my art even though I cannot ship it to them right now!
- Mobile phones. I can talk to literally anyone I want. About whatever I want. I can talk to friends who are halfway across the world. The lockdown has meant that I have reached out to more than a few that I had lost touch with over the last decade.
- My plants. They give me joy. I like digging around their pots, observing the insects, figuring out what best insecticide I can whip up at home. I like looking at the green every morning. I cannot go out in nature right now ( not that there’s a lot of nature around where I live in Gurgaon anyway ) but I can sit on the floor amidst my plant pots and I can talk to them.
- Sleep. I can sleep. I am being able to sleep. The older I get, I worry about insomnia – I’m a worrier – but I’m being able to sleep these days. Extremely grateful for that.
- Camera. I’m grateful I have my photography equipment with me. I can shoot self portraits, still life, whatever I want! There’s so much I can experiment with even though I’m indoors.
- Photo archives. To be able to look at my past self. To reminisce and get nostalgic. To recognize my growth. It is a privilege.
- Apartment. A 3BHK in Gurgaon? Who am I kidding?! I’m insanely grateful that I’m able to afford rent for something like this! I never imagined that I would be able to do this. I have THREE balconies. So what if I only ever clean one and the others are over run by pigeon poop. I still got them.
- Washing Machine. Because excuse me but I ain’t washing clothes by hand. But you know what? If the washing machine did break down during the lockdown and we weren’t able to get a repair person, I’d probably try to learn more about how the machine works and try to fix it. If that didn’t work, I’d be grateful for at least having a space where I could wash my clothes by hand, if required.
You get the drift?
Maybe you are in lockdown alone or maybe you’re with someone you don’t particularly like. You HAVE TO FIND A SILVER LINING my friend. Find it and then write about it everyday. In a gratitude journal or on a blog or even just on your Instagram feed or Instagram stories. It WILL help you develop a different perspective to this whole COVID19 lockdown situation.
Another small suggestion would be to unfollow those who regularly post about how sad or depressed they are about the lockdown situation. This is not to invalidate their feelings – we all deal with facts in different ways – it is to protect your own mental health. Feelings spread like wildfire. Distress especially.
If you’re feeling sad feelings after reading this, I would suggest you unfollow me too. There is nothing more important and sacrosanct than your own mental health. Especially if you have nothing else to worry about.
Yes we are all insignificant in the Universal scheme of things and in the relentless march of time. Life goes on, with or without us. There is no denying that. But you can make the ride a bit nicer for yourself by recognizing all that you have to be grateful for around you.
This too, shall pass.