12 things I learned in 2017

What is it like to live the life of your dreams? A chance to do what you always wanted, without much interference and obstructions. A life worth documenting, for yourself of course. A life that inspires many others to be like you. The world is a rat race. People are not happy with what they have. Happiness! Well, it’s a subjective term. What make you happy might not work for others.

[Frame pause]

One more year has bled away. At the end of every year, I analyze all the good and bad things that occurred over and jot down the points where I lagged and need improvisation. It serves as the perfect documentation of the things to be looked back and the things to look forward to. Akin to the performance review system being done in companies during fiscal time of the year, the only difference is that here I am the person sitting with open mind on both sides of the table.

[Frame resume]

Thousands of desires, each worth dying for,
Many of them I have realized, yet I yearn for more.

In my quest to seek the meaning of life and henceforth happiness, I picked up new things, met people I never saw before, traveled places I had never been. This year, being less incoherent than the last, enlightened me about the things that I can pursue for long, as opposed to my other hobbies that didn’t live long enough to see light of another year.  As I inch towards seeing 5 summers at Microsoft, I finally have the answer to the very question that was itching in mind since quite sometime.

No matter how much my heart wants to pen it all down, I would like to choose another post for this. This is perhaps, the story of another time 🙂

2017 was the year of travel. 2 business trips to Redmond and 3 personal trips totaling 64 days, out of which I spent 49 days outside India, walking on the foreign soil. I traveled to Spiti (Himalayas) and my long time dream destination Iceland.  I learned what is it like to wander in complete wilderness in dark to chase something of value. Traveling has taught me to look life from a different perspective altogether. I now know that happiness does not always scream for money.

As I am aging (unfortunately), I realize that my interests are inclined more towards the artistic aspects of life. Artists are usually socially deprived and I am afraid to not become one.

When I wake up every morning in full health, I feel very fortunate to get a life like this. It’s not easy to forget the dark days of last year. All it takes is just one event to make you realize that how important it is to enjoy every bit of life. I have tried my best to make up for the lost moments. What keeps me alive, more important than oxygen and blood is hope. Hope that everything will be okay. I think I have learned to fake smile well. My face no longer reflects how much broken I am inside. But then, who cares? Now my life is based on one simple mantra from the Hindi movie Kal Ho Na Ho:

Share one more smile today,
Pray one more time today,
Drink one more tear today,
Live one more life today,
See one more dream today,
Who knows, there may be no tomorrow.

This year, I focused on improvising the skills I picked up in 2016 and made good progress in it. I explored fashion and landscapes.  My photography, if not great, has got some recognition and won award. I did photoshoot of a guy who stood second rank in Star Life Mr India 2017 and my work was published in local newspapers.

Picture on the left won national award in reflection category in Photofie.

My Aurora Borealis capture from Iceland has been nominated as Mentor’s choice in Camarena Academy and World Photographic Forum. It is not a big deal, but I am happy because it’s been just 16 months since I started capturing.

While I am writing all this, I ask myself a very basic question. “Would my life be the same if I hadn’t met that accident?”. You might have guessed the correct answer.

Each phase of life is like a gift wrapped beautifully. You don’t know what you are going to find inside. Some of them can render you with packets of joy and happiness. While others can turn into your darkest nightmare. What most people usually don’t pay attention to is that you can always learn something, if not cherish.

12 lessons I learned in 2017:

  1. If you do something, put your heart and soul in it. Make sure the the result is worth the efforts.
  2. Practice whatever you like 20 minutes a day. Consistency is important
  3. You can make best of friends in weirdest of places
  4. Travel with experienced people. You will learn a thing or two
  5. There is nothing like traveling. Believe me, investing in it won’t make you a spendthrift junkie
  6. Don’t waste your time and energy impressing someone. (S)He might not see you couple of years from now. But you certainly will see YOU. Impress yourself
  7. Good things come to you if you work hard
  8. Being single is sometimes a choice
  9. Take some time out of busy schedule and take a uber look at your life. The story of Narcissus has a very deep meaning that compels us to take another look at our lives. Sometimes, we are so busy praising and criticizing ourselves that we lose the opportunity to witness the beautiful world around us. Had the lake invested a fraction of her time into looking at her surroundings , she would have known, what was it about the beauty of Narcissus that took even goddesses to pursue him in forests
  10. Choose friends wisely. It is better having one physical friend than ten virtual ones
  11. Your parents would never stop loving you. You would always be their first priority. Make sure you return the same favor
  12. Job can wait. Travel can’t. If I don’t travel every three months, my soul becomes restless

Each one of us have different ways of narrating story because we live differently, perceive differently and react differently. If you love reading my way of telling the story, you might like other experiences I penned here – My life experiences.

Here is a list of 12 things I learned in 2016

Happy new year!

Copyright © 2017, Aashish Barnwal,  All rights reserved.

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