Overcome with emotions, I have choked up more than a couple of times in the past couple of months due to work related changes. First my boss was let go, the team I was part of disintegrated. Then I found a home, a sweet and cosy one, where I was welcome with open arms, and found myself surrounded in an atmosphere of trust, growth, and development. Just as I saw the pieces of the puzzle fitting together, my new team got split last week. I am in a new team with a new mission under a new boss.
Change is the only constant. It is inevitable, hard, and disruptive. I remind myself that it is also an opportunity to explore how I can rise up to the challenge, and solve new problems. The first time I had a big change at work several years back, I remember my former boss telling me, “Sometimes what seems like the worst thing in the moment, may turnout to be the best turning point in your life,” that’s something that has stayed with me. It was true, with that change I went on to learn new things, meet some inspiring leaders and team members, who have shaped my work ethics and enhanced the breadth and depth of my knowledge base. I have been fortunate to have been under managers who have championed for me, nurtured me, and have had my back. No wonder, I choked and grieved. The changes felt like a loss. Loss of a leader, mentor and friends.
I am not the kind that proactively seeks out change. I get cosy and comfortable in the status quo. So all these ups and downs at work, is life’s way of making me exercise my resilience muscle. I am reminded of the saying, don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but today I close my eyes, and hold all the folks at work who have moulded, supported, and inspired me, and offer my sincerest gratitude for their trust and confidence in me. I wish them well in their endeavors.
“How is your health? How are you doing?” have been my standard text messages to a good friend every two or three weeks ever since she was diagnosed with cancer last summer. The answers have varied depending on the stage of treatment but the tone of her responses has remained consistently calm. You could see that she is hanging in there, taking the treatment in stride. And when I met her last summer she said she is falling back on data supporting her diagnosis rather than being swayed by emotions. It’s one thing to say something but another thing to put it in practice under trying circumstances. I salute her courage, resilience, and the ability to stay above the noise. Wishing her the best of health, now and always.
Gretchen Rubin and her sister Elizabeth in Happier with Gretchen podcast have a segment called Goldstar and Demerit. Think of Goldstar as a pat on the shoulder or a smiley face 🙂 and a Demerit as a kick on the bottom or a frowning face 🙁. In a fit of silliness, I started doling out Goldstars and Demerits to the kids during the trip and somehow it has caught on. Every now and then, the boys now come up to me and ask , “Do I get a Goldstar for cleaning up?” “Do I get a Goldstar for doing my homework on time?” I think it is beginning to mean something to them, I can see their eyes shining at the mention of Goldstar. Funny, what started of as a joke is evolving into something more meaningful.
Why not some travel related Goldstars to all of us?
- Goldstar to Da, for taking the plunge, and booking the tickets. I kept dilly dallying, procrastinating and feeling utterly overwhelmed. Not knowing where to begin, I conveniently resorted to inaction. Also, Goldstar to Da for constantly making conversations with the Ticos to get local knowledge on places to visit. Thanks to him, we visited the botanical garden and learnt about the artisans shops, which we would not have uncovered otherwise.
- Goldstar to Hari, for carrying us through this trip with his spanish. He has had only two years of training at school, so is not an expert by any stretch of imagination. Yet, he conversed with the driver, the shopkeepers, and the restaurant folks. Thanks to him, we did not feel the pinch of visiting a country that spoke an unfamiliar language. Mighty proud of him!
- Goldstar to Ram, for being a trooper. The child had ear infection, bronchitis, and was coughing throughout the trip. But he held on, did not complain, and was eager to take in the travel.
- Goldstar to yours truly, for ensuring the house was in order before we left and that our routine would be seamless following our return. I also read up a lot and familiarised myself with the Costa Rican culture prior to the trip.
- Goldstar to my friends, P and V. We went to Costa Rica from New Jersey. P’s place in NJ is like a second home for us. We go there without even packing our toiletries. Not only did we have a good time there, P helped us with all things that we would need before and after travel. My childhood friend V, did the housekeeping for us here, and welcomed us with home cooked meals and groceries for this week. Truly, I have the best of friends!
I read on FB that this week is Transgender Awareness Week. So thought I would share something that has been brewing in my head for sometime now.
A colleague of mine is a transwoman. I have known her long before she transitioned (from male to female). When she disclosed her transition, it was a shock. I did not have an inkling! She has been generous about sharing her journey, educating the rest of the world about what it is to be trapped in a body that one does not belong to, about the high suicide rate amongst transgender people due to family pressure and societal stigma. It is not a life choice, she says. You don’t transition because you want to, you transition because you have to.
Can you imagine what a person with that condition must be going through? It must be an unbearable, excruciating, and lonely journey. Kudos to them for going through enormous physical, emotional and mental pain to be true to themselves. As a society, we have a lesson or two to learn. To not judge what we do not understand. To not dismiss what we do not relate to.
I am proud of Massachusetts that voted YES on ballot question 3, which is s a referendum on the state’s 2016 transgender rights law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity in places of public accommodation, in the midterm.
On a side note, I thought Arundathi Roy did a fabulous job of articulating the inner turmoil of transgender people through her protagonist, Anjum, a hijra, in her novel the Ministry of Utmost Happiness. It’s worth a read.
Around last presidential election, Dan Rather showed up on my FaceBook feed quite frequently as a couple of friends liked or shared his posts. Intrigued, I too started following him. For the most part, he provides commentary on the political scenario although there are times when he writes about sports and science. And what a find he has been! His words not only inspire but also therapeutic, the kind that comes from someone who has seen more of life and has wizened up as a result of that. He is level headed, gives hope when the world around is in despair, and he always always reminds you to take a look at the big picture and to never ever give up.
A couple of weeks back I watched the RBG movie/documentary. Please do yourself a favor and watch this one. We are all lucky to have someone like her in our lifetime. She made her mark against all odds in a male dominated profession and shed light on gender discrimination. Of all the things she said, the one that stands out is how her law studies gave her respite from her child and how her child gave her respite from work.
My deepest gratitude to Dan Rather and RBG for being such strong, fierce, personalities that we all can look upto and take comfort in. God bless them!
Forward: Go Alabama! So very glad that the electorate rose above political loyalties and did not vote for the wrong candidate. This is a much needed glimmer of sunshine in an otherwise cloudy political environment.
Backward: On Point with Tom Ashbrook is one of my favorite radio shows/podcasts. It’s the one I turn to when I am in the mood for in-depth analysis of current affairs. I used to heart Tom Ashbrook, and have fancied interning for him, for the show. Just the thought of having so much intellectual fodder to chew on used to give me the goosebumps! So, I was incredibly sad to read this news from a couple of days back. Who knows what the truth is but there is no smoke without fire. And no excuse is good enough to mistreat another human being.
Today, at work, someone I interact with sent a very thoughtful and heartwarming thanksgiving mail . When I wrote back to her, she said, “You give me credibility more than you know. Thank you…!”
As much as I would like to think that I derive fulfillment from the intrinsic value that my job gives me, I felt much appreciated with that personal note and external validation. It made me feel that what I do matters and that it’s important to do my job to the best of my abilities.
I am thankful for the much needed reminder that a small thank you goes a long way. When someone has made a difference, it is important to take the time and effort to express genuine appreciation.
As I pulled into the parking lot to the Indian store, a lady came up to me and did something very unusual. She had used only one hour of the two-hour parking ticket that she had paid for, so she gave the receipt that she had saved so I could use it. This is such a small thing that says a lot about a person, don’t you think? It was just 50 cents, she could have let it go. She took the trouble to find someone, explain the situation, and make them take the spot after she pulled out. And she had nothing to gain out of it. I was touched by this gesture.
In today’s gratitude journal, I am thankful for all the times that I have been at the receiving end of these act of kindness. It does not take a lot to create a ripple. These acts of kindness inspire me to never shortchange on kindness and generosity. With all that’s going on around us, the world can use all the kindness it can get!
I take the train at Newark, NJ Penn Station to return home. Like last time, the time before last time, and the time before that, the place depresses me. A sense of misery takes over me as I see jobless, homeless people loitering around. The telltale signs of poverty is there for me to read. I wonder what their story is. I wish life was a level playing field. I pray that their circumstances change and that they have better days ahead.
I sigh heavily and send thanks to the power above for giving me a darling family and a welcoming home to return to.