Wednesday, December 15, 2010

You deserve to feel wonderful



A good friend of a good friend died  two days back. It was all of a sudden, a cardiac arrest. I have met the person but cannot say that I am a 'friend'. Yet the death did affect me.


What is it about deaths (even of people we do not know)  that affect us all so much? Is it the warning of our own mortality? Is it because we're truly powerless in front of it? Is it because it is a stark reminder that life is indeed fragile? Is it because it is a jolt of  fact presented to you in a manner  that screams that today indeed might be your last day?

In my twenties, I hardly thought about death.(At that age, who cared really!) But now, the older I get, I find myself realising more and more that every single day that passes, brings you closer to the date of your death. We all come with expiry dates and the clock is ticking.

 Most of us, especially if we're parents, hardly live for ourselves. This is more true if you are a woman. Somehow I find that men do not feel as guilty if dishes are piled up in the sink and the house is a mess. They would probably still grab that  mug of beer and catch that cricket match or football game or NBA match or whatever sport he is into. It is more likely to bother a woman who'll probably wear those dish washing gloves and get down to cleaning before relaxing a bit. (I am yet to meet a woman who says she can unwind completely in a dirty house).


But I am digressing here. The point I am trying to make is that all of us deserve to feel great about ourselves, every single day. Our loved ones too deserve to be made felt wonderful. Life is too short for quarrels, for petty misunderstandings (it is truly petty if you view it against the fact that for all you know that person may not be alive tomorrow), for harbouring grudges, for feeling down about whatever is worrying you right now.

There is nothing you can do about death, but there are several things you can do about life and the way you live it.

Here is my list to ensure that each day is a day well lived :

1.Express love:  Hug and kiss and tell my loved ones that they matter a lot. Somehow, expressing my emotions is very important to me and I am demonstrative by nature. (If I am annoyed that shows too even if I try to hide it :P ) There are many who are not able to express what they feel, even if they want to.  They feel it is understood. But the fact is even those people  who claim they are uncomfortable, secretly  like it if they are hugged and kissed. (Who does not want to be loved?) When I was doing my Masters, I remember reading up several case studies that demonstrated the importance of touch. This is a good article if you wish to read more about it.

2.Show Compassion: How is showing love different from showing compassion? It is perfectly possible to love somebody deeply and show no compassion. A case in point might be an overly authoritarian and disciplinarian parent who feels that showing love, hugging and/or kissing is a sign of weakness that may spoil a child. Compassion means looking at the situation from the other person's point of view and empathising by considering their needs and feelings. I have a few friends who feel offended if I am not available to them when they need me. They are unable to see it from my point of view and sometimes they sulk for days.

3. Make time for things that matter to you: To me, reading is very important. So is spending time with my children and spouse. I ensure that no matter how busy I am, I am available to the children when they come from school. It is very rarely that I have not been at home to greet them (with a hug) when they arrive. I also read to them at bedtime and then spend at least half an hour with them. Usually they cuddle up to me and tell me so much about their lives. Similarly I ensure that when my spouse comes home from work, I get exclusive time with him. I do not take phone calls at that time. We sit in the garden and have a cup of tea.(without the kids). It's truly one part of my day that I look forward to.I read every single day and I cannot live if I don't have a book to read.(currently I am reading two books and i always ensure I have enough stock of books to read).


4.Wear smart clothes:  I wear  comfortable and smart clothes that make me feel terrific, every single day and I just do not  save up the clothes for 'special occasions'. If you have not read the poem 'Millie's mother's red dress', do read it. It is a wonderful poem. When my dad passed away, one of the things which affected me most was giving away the new T shirts that he had never worn. I had gifted them to him and he had wanted to wear them immediately. But my mother (like Millie's mother) told him to save it and wear it when they would come to visit me the following week. There was to be no 'following' week. I still get goosebumps and a lump in my throat when I recall how delighted my gardener was when I gave away those T shirts to him.


5.Make time to  call up a friend and talk and laugh: Life always seems better after a phone call to a good friend, more so if the friend is a positive, happy person. Often I find that a problem talked over with a good friend does not seem such a big problem after all.


I am sharing here a poem which summarises what I believe in and follow:

To Have Succeeded

To laugh often and love much:
To win respect of intelligent people
And the affection of children;
To earn the approbation of honest critics
And endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To give one's self;
To leave the world a little better,
Whether by a healthy child,
A garden patch,
Or redeemed social condition;
To have played and laughed with enthusiasm
And sung with exultation;
To know even one life has breathed easier
Because you have lived...
This is to have succeeded.
Ralph Waldo Emerson



To me, that would be a life well lived and when it is my time to go, I'd have no regrets, saying my good-byes.


____________________________________________________________________

ps:  If you have your own ways to live a fuller life  that you can add to the list I shall update the post (and credit you of course) with 'addendums'.

Addendums (as promised)

From Ruchira:
1)Don’t color your life with regrets and sadness for what you don’t have. Instead stay happy by focusing on the positive things! Celebrate your life – After all you only live once!
2)Always Keep learning and doing new things – It’s never too late to learn something new !
3)Travel Travel Travel – Explore this world as much as you can. It’s a Beautiful place !

4) Its never ever too late to say sorry and patch up :-)

From Pia

Not to be afraid of trying new things
Not to be afraid of being adventurous
Not to be afraid of what people would think and doing what you
Accepting life as it comes ("Whatever happens, happens for good" - My husband Vinay keeps saying this)

From Shachi:
Learn to let go easily....forgive and try to forget as well. I find this very hard to do so.
-Be authentic - I see many people who try to adjust and tune to other people, so that everyone likes them. In doing so, you sometimes compromise yourself so much that you forget being true to yourself. I try not to do that as much as possible.
-Find happiness in simple stuff - for me right now, its my baby's smile :)

From Sheila:

1. Take life as it comes with a grain of salt and quit complaining.
2. Live in the present moment.
3. Show people that you care before it becomes too late.

From Sucheta:
try anything once.
-No regrets whatsoever.
-Learn a new thing ( including an idea/concept) everyday.
-With everyone you meet: Connect. Listen. Accept. Evolve. (wow, this just summed up what I have been trying to figure out about people for days!)

From Guru:

# Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn
a life around. ~Leo Buscaglia
#Don’t compare your life with others, you have no idea what their journey is all about.
#Learn to be happy with what you have while you persue all that you want.

38 comments:

  1. Very nice post P. I still regret meeting my friend in BBy last yr in december...she died in Jan :(

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  2. Very very thought provoking post !
    I agree with 1 and 2 completely. And wearing nice clothes does brighten your mood !

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  3. My own mantras to live a fuller life –
    1)Don’t color your life with regrets and sadness for what you don’t have. Instead stay happy by focusing on the positive things! Celebrate your life – After all you only live once!

    2)Always Keep learning and doing new things – It’s never too late to learn something new !
    3)Travel Travel Travel – Explore this world as much as you can. It’s a Beautiful place !
    4) Its never ever too late to say sorry and patch up :-)

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  4. I think the two poems "To have succeeded" and "Millie's mother's red dress" are contradictory

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  5. Ajay: No--they really aren't contradictory. Milli'e mothers red dress tells you not to be a door mat, not to be so self sacrificing that you ignore all your needs and always put others first (smallest pie and burnt toast), most of all to pamper oneself at least once in a way and to wear those lovely clothes.You can do all this and yet you can laugh much, you can earn the approbation of honest critics and you can find the best in others and all the other things the poem talks of.

    Ruch:Very good points! Will add.

    Chandni:Thanks--you mean you regret not meeting, right?

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  6. I agree with all your points, they are wonderful. Here are some of my thoughts to live life to the fullest:

    >>>Not to be afraid of trying new things

    >>>Not to be afraid of being adventurous

    >>>Not to be afraid of what people would think and doing what you

    >>>Accepting life as it comes ("Whatever happens, happens for good" - My husband Vinay keeps saying this)

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  7. Pia: The last point you made (whatever happens happens for the best) is really valid and I need to keep reminding myself that.

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  8. i should call up my friend back home....been many days...i am ignoring her being busy with college and stuff

    an eye-opening post...truly life has to be lived to the fullest filled of love with no time for grudges

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  9. i should call up my friend back home....been many days...i am ignoring her being busy with college and stuff

    an eye-opening post...truly life has to be lived to the fullest filled of love with no time for grudges

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  10. the post really touched my heart... indeed each day is special... and these moments will never come back once gone

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  11. Timely post indeed! A colleague lost his wife last Sunday - she was barely 28 and leaves behind an 8-month old son :(

    It does make sense for each one of us to truly appreciate each day.

    I always try to be an optimist and see the brighter side of life even though I may not have something positive happening in my life.

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  12. Great points...something I would like to add:

    -Learn to let go easily....forgive and try to forget as well. I find this very hard to do so.

    -Be authentic - I see many people who try to adjust and tune to other people, so that everyone likes them. In doing so, you sometimes compromise yourself so much that you forget being true to yourself. I try not to do that as much as possible.

    -Find happiness in simple stuff - for me right now, its my baby's smile :)

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  13. Great post.. just came at the right time I needed to remind all these myself...

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  14. Very nice write up Preeti.. I follow your blogs but this one made me stop and comment.. whenever I get cranky with my husband due to stress (for no fault of his), I think of the number of wasted moments in our lives because of those unnecessary fights.. Yeah we all are mortals.. Our life is measured by the moments we love back our loved ones..

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  15. Hi Preeti
    I read your blog but don't usually leave any comments but cannot stop myself today. I faced the death of two loved ones in the last six months, both of them untimely and shocking. I agree with all of your points and would like to add
    1. Take life as it comes with a grain of salt and quit complaining.
    2. Live in the present moment.
    3. Show people that you care before it becomes too late.

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  16. This is one of the posts that keep me coming to your blog! (so are all others, but this especially so).
    About death: I feel I think about it more than the average person my age. Everytime, it only inspires me to live a happy life.
    About your 'points' to a fuller life: BINGO!
    Tick marked each one as I read. Others being: -try anything once.
    -No regrets whatsoever.
    -Learn a new thing ( including an idea/concept) everyday.
    -With everyone you meet: Connect. Listen. Accept. Evolve. (wow, this just summed up what I have been trying to figure out about people for days!)

    Truly amazing post Preeti, keep 'em coming :)

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  17. Preethi
    Very touching..

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  18. Nice post. It is all too easy to talk of all this, but it is often too difficult to practice these, when you ought to practice them. Will you wear all those nice clothes, if no one really cared what you are or what you wear?

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  19. Sasi-pository: of course I would!! I wear them for myself not to show others.I wear it as it makes me feel good. I do practise all that i preach. people who know me in real life know it well.

    Aswathi:Thanks

    Sucheta: Good points you made too. will add them :)

    Sheila: Thanks for delurking. Will add your points.

    Manasa: very valid and relevant point you made. Such a waste of preciuos moments right? But then i guess it is only human to get irked at times.

    Siri:Thannk you

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  20. Shachi: lovely points you made. Will add.

    Palsworld: It's really good to be surrounded by optimists.

    Rajlakshmi; True: time gone is gone.

    Aparna; call her soon :)

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  21. Hey Preeti - Good to see your insight about Life. There are so many day-to-day activities which can make us feel "Better", but you have captured the excellent one's here. But I stronly feel you have missed out the need of spending some time with "GOD". Prayer and Spirituality (irrespective of religion) adds so tremdous joy to your life - that you always will have the hope and desire to wait for "Tomorrow". Good blog anyway..

    Cheers,
    Chris

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  22. That was really nice!

    Your posts indeed gives such a good thought and messages that I look forward to read it..

    and thanks for making us realize to live our life to the fullest! Life is great and we have to make it special..
    i liked point no 3 in your list very much! :)

    have a great time!

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  23. I really do not know what to say, this post comes just a day before my mother's second anniversary.

    She left us without much notice and I am so thankful that I could let her know how much she meant to me much before that.
    Life is too short for petty things to matter and by the time you realize it, it might be too late.

    Thanks for the post, it took me back to some very good old days.

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  24. very nice post :)

    here are my some of my fav quotes:
    # Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn
    a life around. ~Leo Buscaglia
    #Don’t compare your life with others, you have no idea what their journey is all about.
    #Learn to be happy with what you have while you persue all that you want.

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  25. I agree with you. very nice post. do you love hindi poetry ? please welcome on my blog.

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  26. A brilliant post that will stay long in the mind of a reader. If we lived our lives on the presumption that every day was our last day, we would have a very different perspective on life. I don;t know about the dress smartly bit (being sartorially challenged !), but every item in your list resonated hugely with me.

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  27. So true Preeti ! I can absolutely relate to what you're saying.
    Actually, during my college days, whenever I felt a little upset, I would go out into the market, buy a bright shade of nail colour, and paint my nails. I am not kidding, but that seriously helped me feel loads better! Am long, out of college now, but this trick still helps me:)

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  28. One of the best posts from your stable... A very optimistic and true portrayal of what exactly should life be.. Awesome.. Absolutely rocking poem.. :)

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  29. I really liked this post a lot :) Looking forward to more such posts!

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  30. Hi Preeti,
    I 've read your blog a couple of times before. And this post is really good, the reality of life.
    I lost my dad a year back, and still wish i could see him once in my life :(
    Also saw your pencil art. Wow!!!

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  31. "To have played and laughed with enthusiasm
    And sung with exultation;" - awesome lines and an equally awesome post. Sometimes it is easy to focus on the big picture. Perhaps, this post is more about the focus on the little picture and doing things that make a difference to you.

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  32. kudos to preeti.. who knows how to write .. and straight from the heart.. oh yes.. jz reading u and knowing that ppl like u exist.. it makes me breathe easy.. definitely so..

    keep scribbling.. u have all my love..

    another wanderer in this lifetime :)

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  33. About death...yes, theres something about it that affects us all. Personally, my fear is more for losing the ones I treasure most in my life...my secret prayer to god is - if it has to happen, then let me die first than let me see any of my beloved's departure.
    I dont claim to be a martyr, but I dont have the strength in me to bear a loss! :(
    Loved Millie's mother's red dress poem - so true...even now there are countless such mothers who live their life for other's sake.
    And Emerson's poem is a keeper! Thanx Preeti for a wonderful post & the list !!

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  34. Hi Preeti, its such a touching post. Even I have this habit of saving my best dresses for another day. The red dress poem describes it perfectly well, thanks for pointing out. As always you have inspired me :)

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  35. Soulspeaks: Glad you cold relate and liked. It is true about the clothes :)

    SK:Thanks for the appreciation and kind words :)

    Shalini; Thanks so much for a fab compliment :)

    Bharath: true--thanks. Yes it is the little things that make a big difference.

    Meenakshi: The ones who have passed away live on in our hearts. Thanks :)

    Tranquility: Thanks :)

    Sushobhan:Thanks so much :)

    Mistress of Art;That is something I havent tried! :)

    Ramesh: Come on! You are ALWAYS smartly dressed!

    Dr.Sharad Singh: Will check out--In school I used to admire the work of some Hindi poets like ramdari sinh dinkar. Its very long since I read Hindi poetry.(My english is definitely better than my Hindi)

    Guru: yes--valid points

    Wanderlust: Those who pass away live on in our memories and thoughts.

    Swetha:Thanks a lot :)

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  36. Chris: i guess I left out God as everyone does not believe. Many are spiritual but not religious.To each their own.

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  37. Preeti,

    BELATED MANY MANY HAPPY RETURNS OF THE DAY. MAY ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE.

    Will come back to catch up with pending posts a s a p.

    Take care

    PS : Delay is due to non availability of internet at home.

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  38. realy a great post ...

    My views

    Have Patience ..
    Ready To Take Valuable Risk..
    Give your full dedication to your craft..
    Be Honest..and try to make others happpy as much as u can..in form of any kind of happiness..

    My warm Reagrds To all of you..

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