Dec 31, 2018

2018 in review

Keeping up with the habit of reviewing the year gone by, here's how my 2018 went. 
I started off 2018 with a few intentions. I didn't want to label them as resolutions or goals as they sound too restrictive. 

As always, I wanted to try a few things which I've never done before. 2018 was the year when I ran my first 5K and 10K runs - 5K millet awareness run in Jan and 10K Pinkathon run in Feb. I didn't do any special trainings for the marathon as the regular yoga practice kept me more agile. My Yoga teacher taught me to concentrate on my breathing during the run and also a few stretches to do before and after the run. These helped tremendously and I completed both the runs without much tiredness or exhaustion and was able to recover quickly. Though I enjoyed the runs, I'm not planning to register for them anymore. Yes, it gives a sense of accomplishment but looking at the tangible (registration fees, petrol expenses to drive to and from the far-off marathon locations) and intangible costs (the daunting amount of plastic waste each marathon generates), I don't think they are worth it. If I want to set and achieve running goals, I might as well run around the lake nearby my apartment.

In 2017, I started to write detailed posts on ingredients of various packaged foods. Many readers appreciated the efforts and some of them even messaged me saying that they have stopped buying such packaged foods after reading my posts. I continued with reviewing more packaged foods in 2018 and analyzed over 25+ products in my blog. 2018 also brought me a few opportunities to speak to parents/communities on what goes in packaged foods. I enjoyed preparing and delivering the talks as they combine my two favorite interest areas - public speaking and nutrition. The most memorable talk was the one I gave at Bhoomi College to students pursuing a programme on sustainable living.

The no-junk-food birthday party continued this year and though it was a FLOP, I'm glad I stuck to my beliefs. I continued the same practice for Halloween celebrations as well. For most festivals this year, I prepared traditional sweets and savories. I want my daughter to be aware of various Indian festivals and I plan to continue celebrating all festivals with the same traditions that my grandmothers used to follow.

This year, husband and I went for a couple of workshops together - First, a water colour painting workshop. We both had fun teasing each other on how our painting skills are so pathetic 😉 Then we went for a minimalism workshop, a topic that is of interest to both of us. This workshop introduced me to Durgesh Nandini, who practices minimalism and zero waste among various other things. I find her ideas very inspirational and easy to connect to. Call it serendipity, I bumped into her again in the zero waste meetup in Chennai. I visited her minimalistic home and we chatted for 2 hours on various topics. I returned home with a lot of inspirations and ideas to work in 2019.

I rarely take part in any activity being organized in my apartment. Though I want to, the timings are just not working out. This year, I participated in a poetry reading session and it was truly enjoyable. I read a few poems of mine and it was so interesting to hear poetry written by others.

After repeated failed attempts to get my voter registration done, I FINALLY managed to get my voter ID card this year and I voted for the first time in Karnataka assembly elections. This milestone needs to be tracked in my review.

On the professional front, I took up a consulting assignment to identify and define a minimum viable product for a particular area in the education space. It gave me good exposure to understand the current challenges students face in showcasing their capabilities and becoming job-ready. 

This year, D moved to 1st grade, which means an early school start time and 3 boxes (breakfast, snack, lunch) to be packed by 6:45AM. This has been a big challenge for me, since I'm a slow starter in the mornings. So my weekdays begin at 5-5:15AM and I finish cooking breakfast and lunch by 7AM, send her off to school by 7:15 and head straight to Yoga class. After Yoga, my work begins immediately after a quick breakfast. Since the weekday mornings have become so rushed, I decided to take it easy on weekends and I stopped my weekend breakfast catering work that I used to offer to my apartment neighbours.

Though I had set a goal of reading 50 books this year, I managed to finish only 16 and a few are in progress.

1. Keepers of the Kalachakra by Ashwin Sanghi
2. The Big Switch by John Thomas
3. The girl who chose by Devdutt Pattanaik
4. When breath becomes air by Paul Kalanithi
5. Naattu Marundhu Kadai by Dr. G Sivaraman
6. So you want to know about economics by Roopa Pai
7. You can achieve more by Shiv Khera
8. Aayiram Sooriyan Aayiram Chandiran Oru Bhoomi by M.Senthamizhan
9. Job Be Damned by Rishi Piparaiya
10. So good they can’t ignore you by Cal Newport
11. The fault in our stars by John Greene
12. Amma - Jayalalitha's memoir by Vaasanthi
13.When she went away by Andaleeb Wajid
14.Ikigai by Hector Garcia
15.The Great Smog of India by Siddharth Singh
16.Unavu yuddham by S.Ramakrishnan

We did 3 long weekend trips this year - Coimbatore, Ooty and Pondicherry. And frequent visits to Chennai. Other than these, we couldn't do much of traveling. 

Tried out 20+ new recipes, didn't track the count accurately. I guess it is not needed either, as long as I have the spark to try out new recipes.

It isn't all productive as it might sound. You want to know how I wasted my time this year? I binge-watched the series - The Middle, Castle, Young Sheldon, Zindagi gulzar hai and Humsafar. I'm a human! ;-)

So that's my long review of 2018. 

Let me share my intentions for 2019 - being mindful of my time and energy, minimize things at home and consciously reduce waste, invest more time doing deep work and consciously improve my focus and attention. Other focus areas like eating healthy, Yoga, staying active, no compromise on sleep will continue in 2019.

Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and peaceful New Year 2019!! 

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