The purpose of our lives is to be happy

It has been a while since I have written anything. It’s not that I have lost the passion to write or I don’t have any topic to write…! It’s just been a self-learning journey since last year.

The entire world was experiencing the impact of pandemic and I was just getting back from my trip to India. I was thinking great things about the year 2020 since I was able to spend time with my family and parents during the new year and so was happy to return back in California.

That time news of corona was vaguely heard here and there but by the time I resumed to my work, stories started erupting from different places and by the time I could process it, stay in shelter was declared by my company and my county too.

Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. ~ John Lennon

The initial period was more or less like a staycation, that doesn’t mean that we were not working or kids were not attending their classes. It was just that everyone is at home, we go to our work by joining our meeting calls via zoom and meet each other during our breaks, lunch time and best part is that there is no pick-up, drop-off or even commute to office. All this gave more family time, and kids and our pet Reyna enjoyed this reunion at home. Kids were baking and we as husband and wife were cooking. 

In a way pandemic made us realize that there’s more to life than just rushing and racing through out in life. The best part for me was that I could sit hours in my backyard and look at nature, I will never get bored of admiring the nature, the birds, the flowers, the fruits, the wild animals that just drop in at times and leave at their will. I never got tired and hence my office moved into my backyard.

Get busy living or get busy dying. ~ Stephen King

My early morning meetings were all from my backyard, the only thing that made me to move inside the house was, that even birds and squirrels wanted to join me on zoom. Too many to party at once!

That year 2020, was full of adjustments and unlearning and learning new ways. When I started getting pain on my right hand shoulder, I realized I cannot just work sitting anywhere but at a ergonomically set desk for me. 

It also made me realize all that cross-fit that I was doing has also come at a still. I was eating more than I was walking. I soon realize that our body is like a car, if we don’t daily start the engine and ride few miles it can get rusty and hence, my afternoon walk circling the neighborhood going uphill and downhill up to 5 miles and then doing some leg exercise in the evening. This went on few months but somewhere I was not satisfied. 

I tried to focus on learning some of the skills that will help me in my career and my role at work. Few certifications on technology and Agile course helped me to bring more clarity but after doing so many of them, I felt like taking a pause and decided no more!

I like to learn by doing things and not by reading and then writing exams. I prefer to learn on the job and do the work and learn from my mistakes.

I set some goals for myself and took the help of my daughter, I delegated her the task to pick a place for every weekend one hike. She has the freedom to choose the place and day. That worked well for us, every Saturday we went to different places in Bay Area for hiking and as we did one after the other, the hiking trail were also chosen harder than the previous one and this actually helped me to focus on my endurance. 

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough. ~ Mae West

So far, my mental wellness was all in the hands of Mother Nature and hiking gave a new diversion into it.

One thing is that you can focus on yourself from every angle but you cannot be unaware of what’s happening outside of you. It was sad to see news of people suffering and dying of covid around the world. There were speculations of many companies (pharmaceuticals and non-pharmaceuticals), working on the vaccine and I became impatient with that because people were dying in millions. This started giving me a weird feeling as what will remain on this planet? Will I be there or not? 

One good thing is that we don’t watch news, but my alarm after the mantras, it reads news to me and I felt that was enough for me to know rather than watching the drama on TV. Even then it was chaos everywhere. One after the other I heard about people dying and then a time came when I started to hear people whom I have known since childhood are also dying, some of them were my classmates from school and some from my college. It was heart-breaking and sad to see young people dying and then some died because lack of treatment – it was chaotic. 

The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain. ~ Dolly Patron  

Stay in shelter, continued and so did my hikes. New Year 2021, came with new hopes. By this time, I reminded myself that nature has a message for all of us and that is, stay home, see pleasure and happiness in simple things. The car that I leased after negotiating for greater miles was of no use as I was not even going out for grocery. I remember 2020, I didn’t leave my house until late 2020 because you cannot go out as a family and during week day hubby used to do the grocery shopping and weekends were stay at home. Playing badminton, celebrating life in the form of Mother’s Day, kids birthday and so on went on. Everything was online, whether it was work, kids school, celebrations or even gatherings all were virtual and somewhere I started getting this feel that this is the basic and be happy with it.

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. ~ Thomas A. Edison

The year 2021, came with many hopes and even though there were so many speculations about covid and its vaccine, everyone one by one based on their age and profession started getting the vaccine. These difficult time made me realize how privileged I am, that I have a job and that too I don’t have to go into my office to do the job instead, I can work from home. As the time came, I also got my vaccine and until then we as a family restricted ourselves from going out, or even meeting anyone outside of our family. We did keep an eye on our neighbors and senior citizens to make sure if they need anything that we could bring to them instead of they going out and make themselves more prone to this virus. We maintained our 6 feet distance with wearing mask and talked to our neighbors all this and more hikes with family.

Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game. ~ Babe Ruth

This new year also brought me to think some of my passions and love for music. I decided to learn guitar and that is still going on. Besides nature, music and playing guitar gives me immense peace and hence started strumming those chords. During this time, I started meeting my friends on the hike. We never went to each other’s house but met on the trail and left from there once we were done. It was one of those hikes, where my friend asked if I am interested in doing Half Dome. I have only heard of it but not much and I just brushed off saying will see. I was given 3 months time to make a decision but I forgot about that topic once it was done!

Again the topic came up and I realized its been 3 months and now I have to respond. My friend felt I am ready for Half Dome and little more practice hikes will help me gauge with the Half Dome hike. I was added into a WhatsApp group and we started hiking on Sundays, as Saturdays I was hiking with my daughter. 

Hiking for me is something to enjoy the nature, it is never the speed, because I believe in walking, seeing every flower, tree and sun and smell the flowers and listen to the wild birds chirp so I was completely shifted from this when I was practicing my hikes for Half Dome.

Not how long, but how well you have lived is the main thing. ~ Seneca

I really want to dedicate my next post on my Half Dome experience until then please do read and share your experience of this pandemic time.

I do want to take a moment and thank all the front workers, health, firefighters, our garbage pickup teams, and many more who were risking their lives by helping us in many ways to keep us going. It’s a huge sacrifice that they did and I want to thank everyone, because if they were not there our survival would have been worse. Imagine, if one week the garbage truck doesn’t come to pick up the garbage and then what happens its not just one home but the neighborhood, the community, the city and so forth we all be stinking in the filth. 

Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced. ~ Soren Kierkegaard

~ Dawn

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