I am not one of those who care for specific days in the year. You know, birthdays, anniversaries, Fathers’ Day, Thanksgiving, etc. I believe that most of these days are artificial milestones and should instead be observed daily. For example, why give thanks to others on one day? Why remember Dad on one day?
Similarly, the end of a calendar year (be it Gregorian or Hindu) does not mean much to me. I celebrate it because that is one way to spend the holidays with friends and family. At the same time, I do not resolve to do or not to do things as part of the New Year. I resolve when I realize I need to start or stop doing things.
However, I am writing this post because 2013 has been a very odd year. It is one that I would like to end and only if for symbolism, I cannot wait for 2014 to be here so that emotionally and superstitiously, I can start afresh. There have been some ups and many downs in 2013 in my life and here’s hoping for a more stable, mostly up 2014!
2013 saw us moving back from Bangalore, India to the Bay Area. It was obviously not an easy decision, and the relocation and the re-relocation set us back (so to speak) by a year or more. Kids were unsettled most of the 15 or so months, my wife and I were unsettled for longer and in general, a lot of things ended up being in flux most of the year. This is not including the huge financial hit we took in moving ourselves back. One-way flights back for the family, moving expenses, re-buying 2 cars, down payments, lease breakage fees in India, etc.
Hoping 2014 is much more stable from a family perspective. Kids are getting older and we need to focus on them way more than we have been able to in the past one and a half years.
Family health and loss
I’ll start with the worst: I lost my uncle absolutely unexpectedly. He was in his mid-70s and outside of some minor issues, absolutely healthy. More importantly, he was the rock in my aunt’s life and an absolutely selfless caregiver to my nephew and niece as they were growing up. He will be missed and it is one of the big reasons 2013 sucked for me.
My wife fell sick and started losing vision. She ultimately underwent a brain surgery. That one month period in the summer was perhaps the most trying for us. She was helpless (pain medication didn’t seem to work at all), I was helpless and the kids were clueless. Luckily, we reacted in time although it was quite a scary period. All’s well that ends well, I guess, but another shaky moment of 2013.
My mom underwent a knee replacement. After a couple of years of terrible pain in her knee, she was forced to undergo replacement. She is ok now but at her age, any surgery is a risk especially considering she has had a major heart attack in the past. Again, all’s well that ends well, but worrisome for all while she went through pre-op tests and the surgery itself.
An aunt has started showing signs of speech loss. Hard to explain and I won’t go into detail but she has been one of my closest aunts and she has been a bundle of energy all through her life and it is really, really sad to see her get into a shell because she is subconsciously afraid of goofing up as she speaks.
The wife of the uncle who passed away has had to push her own knee surgery multiple times because of some or the other issue that comes up before the surgery in the pre-op testing. She is in terrible pain and she definitely deserves better than suffering through the pain. Let’s hope 2014 changes that.
Some good things too
It was not all bad. We did complete the experience of living closer to our families and even though the end result was that we moved back, the learning was valuable. The experience was worth the effort, mostly because now we won’t regret not giving it a shot when we had a chance to. I thank my previous employer for giving me the chance to move back while keeping my job.
As part of the relocation back, I was in some ways forced to look at other opportunities and I am glad I took the one that I ended up taking. This is a good thing because I have a feeling I would have got too comfortable in my previous job if I had no motivation to look elsewhere.
My kids, especially my younger one, transformed quite a bit when he was in India. I am not sure if it was a natural transformation at his age, but the kid who left the US and the kid who re-entered the US are night and day apart. Most of the friends and family we met after returning back have expressed a pleasant surprise in seeing him be more bold, more mischievous, and in general more extroverted than he was before. I take that as a huge plus.
Looking forward to 2014
I am an optimist by nature. I am hoping 2014 sees us settle down a bit, and prosper as a result. I am certainly hoping my aunts get better and that we don’t see the kind of issues we saw in 2013.
And while I don’t resolve to do something just because the year rolls over to a new one, I do have one that I want to put it out in public. No, it is not fitness-related (although I do want to work on that), it is that I end up reading books at least for 20% of the time I spend on twitter. I fear that being engaged on twitter and using it as a primary source of news and information, there is a tendency to over-use it even if it is in the form of “consumption of news”. I just want to enforce a way for me to spend some of that time away from the info-snacking and get reading some “longform” stuff like books. Wish me the best on that :-)
Wishing you all a Happy 2014, and thanks for reading!