I spent the first two weeks of April holidaying in my hometown, as I do every summer. The wave of inertia and frustration that governed the ten days of my life after my last board exam left behind stubborn negativity that lingered on way after its perpetrators departed. Everything vexed me, but I didn’t want to do anything about it. I tried my best to find the energy to go for my morning runs, get stuck in a book, write or just do something productive, but couldn’t.
Safe to say, I may have been mildly unenthusiastic about my annual Goa trip. All my cousins and friends were busy prepping for Uni entrances and higher education and I had internship commitments. My world was growing up as I chose to sleep in. It wouldn’t be the same anymore. If there’s anything worse than a dull, monotonous life, it’s a dull, monotonous holiday.
Here’s where I say that it wasn’t, and it was great fun, and we made time for each other and all you need is a little break sometimes and other mushy gooey clichés that make you want to run away and seek solace in the latest online cat video. Two weeks on vacation taught me more than two years of a less than mediocre HSC syllabus did. It wasn’t the hardcore party, late night gain-three-pounds-before-you-leave trip it usually had been, but it did teach me some of those bookish life lessons that quite frankly, you can’t learn from a book.
1. Home is everything
Home is the place you can take your bra off at the end of a long day even if people do that just about anywhere. To me, home isn’t just about being yourself, or feeling safe, or feeling loved or even just people you care about. Home is frustration. Home is fights. Home is tears. But home is laughter. Home is good food. Home is where you don’t need an alarm clock to wake you up every morning. As much as you want to leave it right now, someday you’ll yearn to return.
2. Get out
Yes, I said it. A bed, air conditioning and a laptop with WiFi connectivity is the closest I’ll ever get to heaven; however, the outdoors surprisingly comes a close second. In Goa, the better part of my day was spent at the beach. I tried to walk to everywhere I had to be in the dead of the Indian summer because it was so beautiful. Even if you prefer to hit the gym or if you’re not one for any sort of exercise (like me), spending even an hour a day outdoors taking a leisurely stroll will do a world of good for your mind.
3. Feed yourself
If you’re eating clean and healthy, keep at it. I know being sad is no excuse to give in. But if you’re having a bad day and you know nothing will make you happier than a three tiered chocolate cake with a melted chocolate centre and chocolate ice cream, eat it. You can run it off the next day. Or not.
4. And your soul
There are things in this world far greater and more powerful than yourself or the individual human being. Respect and embrace the fact that you’re part of something huge. There is always something to be thankful for. Meditate to let the bad out.
5. Don’t be afraid to have fun
If something makes you so happy that you actually don’t want to shoot everyone around you, don’t ever feel guilty for doing it.
6. Don’t be afraid to take a break sometimes
It’s hard to ignore the competition sometimes when you want to get ahead. But it’s okay to slow down and watch the world move ahead. Spend a little time discovering yourself in corners of the world you’ve never seen. Else, you’ll be stuck playing catch up for a prize you later realise you never wanted. This is exactly why I love the idea of a gap year. Hopefully I’ll have the courage to take one in a couple of years.
7. Salt water is the cure for everything
If tears, sweat and the sea don’t help you get over something, you’re going about it the wrong way. Don’t restrict your lacrimal glands. Feel those endorphins. Embrace those negative ions.