As expected, the first few months of the lockdown were difficult for everyone. The relentless fear and uncertainty, the economic downturn, the adjustment to work from home (WFH), the constant cleaning of hands, and the bad news (and fake news) pouring in from every direction, was too much for most people to manage without panicking. The constant reiteration of the ultimate truth that life is fragile and the realization that the cocoon of safety we thought we had built around ourselves and our loved ones, is not impervious to the virus was unsettling, to say the least.
Almost everyone that I spoke with during the first few months of the lockdown had revisited what they were doing in life and made their own lists of how they will live their lives going forward. I also made a list of ten commandments and published it. You can read it here!
Recently I decided to revisit the list and check how diligently I was following the commandments. I wanted to also check whether the commandments still make sense to me, or was it a case of emotions temporarily taking over. The good news is that I didn’t get any shock when I read them. They all seemed pretty logical to me, but one thing that definitely surprised me was – how could I conjure such a long list of ten commandments!
So, I got down to rating myself on each of the ten commandments, basis the progress I have made in the last year. I am sharing the results with you.
- Dare to be different: Being comfortable with who you are and not trying to impress people who do not matter. It is about not seeking acceptance or approval at the cost of losing your true self.
My score 3/5 — I have made decent progress on this aspect and am indifferent to seeking acceptance. I do better on the personal front but need to improve as far as work is concerned as I get too attached to my work.
- Livelihood is not life: For many of us, life revolves only around our jobs or businesses. This commandment is about aiming to get a balance between work & life and having a life outside of work.
My score 3/5 — I have rated myself a 3 on this commandment as initially, I had gone to the other extreme, but now I am almost back to a better balance. However, I need to make a conscious effort to give more time to life beyond work.
- Family comes first: This one is about making time for family and close friends and being there for them when they need you.
My score 3/5 — Frankly, I am a bit disappointed with myself for not being better off on this one. So I have promised myself to make a more conscious effort going forward.
- Learn to live with uncertainty: As things are likely to continue to be fluid for a long time learning to live with uncertainty is the new normal.
My score 4/5 — I am comfortable in dealing with uncertainty and am okay with making constant adjustments to my plans.
- Enjoy the simple pleasures of life: Small things may not be memorable, but they provide joy and relaxation on a day-to-day basis. Finding your simple pleasures in life and living those moments can make life more relaxed and enjoyable.
My score 4/5 – I have made a conscious effort and started regularly listening to music after a gap of almost two decades. My daughter and I exchange notes on the songs we like and enjoy our little time together, listening to music.
- Cut your losses quickly: Several times, we continue to cling to our decisions even when we realize we have made a mistake. I am not sure whether it is due to ego, the false hope of recovery, or sheer procrastination.
My score 2/5 – No progress or thought given to this one. This one requires fresh thinking.
- Make peace with yourself: My favorite character from Blacklist, Raymond Reddington, played by the super talented James Spader, says, “Revenge isn’t a passion. It’s a disease. It eats at your mind and poisons your soul.”
My score 3/5 – I think I am making some progress here. It was still easy for me to forgive others, but not myself. I have definitely moved a couple of notches in becoming more gentle and forgiving with myself.
- Do not sweat the small stuff: We can lose sight of the big picture and let the less-important-stuff take control over our lives and stress us out.
My score 4/5 – Though I do not think I worked consciously on this aspect but on reflection, it’s been a big jump in the past year. There have been a couple of instances where I felt I could have done much better. I will need to identify the triggers and work on them.
- Express gratitude: Being grateful and expressing gratitude can bring a positive change to our lives and make us happier, more content, and more confident.
My score 4/5 – The first step, and perhaps the most important one to express gratitude, is to first feel it. I have consciously made an effort in this direction and have felt the enormous difference it made to my life.
- Give back to society: We can all make a difference by being careful about the choices we make to mitigate global warming, reduce waste and help the less privileged.
My score 2/5 – I have made conscious efforts to reduce electricity and water wastage. This commandment definitely requires more thought and more action.
I have revisited this list after eight months and am happy with the progress I have made. I think I will do it every quarter going forward. Fortunately for me, this list was not ‘just another list’. If you haven’t revisited the promises you made to yourself during the lockdown, it may be a good time to do it now!
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