Yes, 2022 will be special. It has to be. Keep faith in Robert Browning, who wrote:
“Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith ‘A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!’”
The Coronavirus may not be over, it may even be making a comeback through Omicron, but now we too are learning to live with our mistakes and our sins, so our perspicacious selves may pre-empt losses. We’ll all be different; we will see a New Year, a new life, new beginnings. We will realise that politics is but transient; like the pandemic, this too shall pass. We need to keep our sights on our families, our loved ones, our happiness, and away from hate.
Is it a given that this New Year will bring us to the doorstep of an El Dorado, or take us near the Fountain of Youth? No, it won’t. It will simply take us to a contemplative heaven, where we’ll learn to live within our means and our New Resolutions.
Will we be making new resolutions? Yes, we have lived to see it through, and we will. We deserve our dreams. But, this year we have to be careful about what we ask for. We need to remember what the pandemic took away from us, so we need to make the best of the times.
If you keep the above in mind, you’ll be able to easily realise the dreams that will keep you moving and happy throughout 2022.
Let us list 15 of the simpler ones to achieve.
1. Meet your parents more often, tell them you love them
In these days of nuclear families we have little time for those who brought us up, for those who took care of us is difficult times. Even with the strong family culture of India, tight financial and other situations, plus a huge pressure on time results in our family management being restricted to our immediate people as, forgetting that our parents and our grandparents are as close. Find time in your busy schedule, visit them, take care of them, take your children to visit them. These are important things that a child needs to grow up with.
2. Take time off to send snail mails, they mean a lot more than emails.
In an age of emails and instant messaging services, receiving a snail mail via post – okay, in India the postal system is a complete disaster, so use a courier instead – will be an even to remember. Do it. You will have use extra effort in finding the postal address first and do this diplomatically, because you want this letter to be a surprise.
3. Do some window shopping, without buying anything. There is no guilt in that.
This is an art. You would be tempted to go through them on your phone, but believe me, it’s way better to be able to see it in person, being able to touch it, and then control the urge to spend. That’s one great experie4nce, if you remember, from your college days, when money was at a premium, but dreams were not.
4. Take your children or your younger siblings to a nearby place of historic importance. Just a day trip will do. Or just land in the museum, how long haven’t you been there?
This is important. Call it a family outing. Take time off from the various screens that you and your children and people in your family have gotten used to, you will realise how much better the outdoors is. There is life happening and you want to be a part of it, you want your family to be a part of it. Feel the sun and the wind in your face, the breeze in your hair. These are not available on your phone. Plus the cosiness of family and the memories that they generate forever.
5. Every day, walk for 30 minutes, do some free-hand exercise.
Even if you aren’t the athletic type and you haven’t been doing this so far, it is time to start now. doesn’t matter how young or old you are, this will see you through for many more years that intensive gym workouts can, because walking in the park, or even on the streets early morning can rejuvenate your mind and your body.
6. Read a book a month. That is 12 books. On the long side, read at least six books this year: not the self help types.
Okay, if you aren’t a bookworm 12 was probably a very high figure quoted. Try six a year, or half a month, or (if you consider an average of 300 pages per book) 150 pages in 30 days or just 5 pages a day. Hey, you can do it. Two things: try to use actual books (that’s how I like it) and not Kindle, and even if this is a struggle, feel free to start with real thrillers. It always helps.
7. Call up an old friend or friends and meet up, share old stories.
These are the famous ‘adda’ sessions from yore. But they have to be physical. Maintain social distancing, observe all covid protocols, but do meet around houses of friends or even coffee shops. Such meets always invigorate the mind.
8. Choose some pictures from your phone or camera and print them, then hang them on the wall.
You may like paintings on the wall. Good for you. But if you have taken a great picture, do not restrict it to social media circles and in the digital format; print out, large, frame it and hang it on the wall. See how different it feels.
9. A family trip to the countryside.
No need to make this elaborate. Take your car, pack a few essentials and your family and drive out. Estimate around 200km a maximum range. Select a spot beside a river or a hill, have a picnic, play some games, come back before sunset. Feel the difference.
10. Learn to cook a couple of new dishes.
These days YouTube classes make things easy. Keep learning. One of those dishes will become your favourite and you can proudly show off later, with some of your own additions and alternations.
11. Make some new friends, in real life (not social media).
More difficult that it seems. Where do you get them? They cannot be workplace guys, not from the local market. So? Go to a book reading and start a chat with somebody. Or even a theatre. Try it, it’s worth the effort. These will be stronger friendships.
12. Slow down the pace of life for a while. Enjoy the moments, not just the hours. Enjoy the quiet a little more than the noise.
That’s it. You can achieve as much at this pace, believe me.
13. Cyber detox as much as you can.
This is a must. Just go off the net, be yourself, fly a kite, listen to the radio, if you have one. Disconnect yourself for a while.
14. Don’t procrastinate.
Hmm, tough one. You can try, today, or tomorrow, maybe.
15. Pick up a new hobby.
How simple is a hobby that makes you notice the colours of all doors in the neighbourhood? Try it.