Friday, January 08, 2010
Reflections Upon Return
I've been home in the US for a two weeks now, and still trying to hold onto the magic and peace I found in India. For me, it was a wonderful vacation because I was away from my daily grind. My life is generally so hectic as with a demanding job where multitasking is an expectation, as well as the obvious juggling of home and family. There, I spent a lot of time with our family and our focus was on how to optimize our time together. There were maids and nannies tending to all the tasks that usually overrun our lives here. So, even when I offered to help, I was told not to worry.
Normally, I'm constantly checking my work email on my phone. In this case, there wasn't much I could do due to the time difference. My colleagues were forced to adapt to the situations and come up with answers on their own. Before I left for India, there was a lot of anxiety around me leaving for 3 weeks out of the country. People were shocked when I said 3 weeks. People are out for 2 days and there's chaos. I tried to remind them I would return and the whole corporation won't collapse because I'm on vacation. I identified 6 people to cover various projects and tasks, so the burden wouldn't be on one person. Before we left, I was trying tie loose ends at work and prepare for the trip.
They say that on one's deathbed no one ever says "I wish I had spent more time at the office." I felt it more so with this trip.
I'm much happier that my daughter spent a few lovely weeks with her cousins and grandparents in India. She got a better taste of India as a country and the lifestyles that exist. We all had a good time bonding with our family and securing those relationships. When I grew up, we weren't able to go to India frequently, so we only have a handful of memories with my cousins and grandparents. However, the connection is still there with my cousins.
Even in India, I felt so clear headed. My life wasn't cluttered with promises to fulfill and negative energy. Part of my stress is the need for perfection in everything, which could make a simple task as writing an email into a stressful time consuming task. There wasn't the need to come up with solutions and answers all the time.
While in India, I also recognized some physical health benefits. I didn't need to have so much caffeine to get me through my day/evening. We had balanced meals, though we're not used to widespread. I've noticed that when I'm typing emails back to work, I tend to snap more at others around me. We had happier moments when I wasn't checking my phone. The one downside I felt was that I didn't get enough exercise as I needed.
After seeing how simply people live in India, I do want to make changes in my life. There isn't a lot of space for things, so you keep what you need at hand.They buy fresh vegetables everyday. We have such a "just in case" mentality where we buy everything. Maybe it's our environment. It's 20-30 degrees outside right now. I'd rather go into my pantry and dig out soups rather than go to the market for fresh veggies to make my own soup.
I'm looking to make changes in simplifying our schedules. Kumon is out. My family is much happier that we're not fighting over Kumon. We regain almost an hour in the evenings, which my daughter can spend more time practicing her violin and finishing up school projects. She's agreed to work on other math workbooks to keep up her skills sharp.
Delegating is an art that I need to master. My problem is that I enjoy doing certain tasks and will take them on just for that sake. But, I need to devote my energies on primary tasks that cannot be done by others. I see this being critical for an activity coming up in April, for which I'll be co-directing a children's program.
I've definitely returned with my head on straight. I can say my head was 100% turned the other way before I left. I don't want to be "Grumpy Mommy" anymore. Someone suggested to me that I meditate to find the peace I'm seeking. I thought about it and I realized I'm not seeking peace. I've found it.
It's as if I'm holding a cup of a precious liquid. My challenge is to go through my life without spilling it or having someone taint it! I think my key will be to conjure the feelings that I had in India.