This is the first blog post of mine and I’d like to review my life until now. I am 27 years old now. I can still clearly remember my school and college days like it was just yesterday. Time is passing by like a swiftly flowing river. At this rate, I think life will surely pass by in a blink of an eye. So the question always is, ‘how have I lived so far? How do I want my life to be? What is truly meaningful?’
I don’t remember myself thinking deeply about these things for most of my teenage years. I used to be extremely shy, lacking self-confidence, lazy and easily swayed away by temptations, outer circumstances. I had a very little sense of self. I also used to be extremely thin.
However, all of this changed gradually. I was studying Economics honours in Kolkata, Jadavpur University. In my 2nd year, I decided to leave college and return home. It was an unhappy phase of my life. My life had no direction or base. But deep inside I knew this wasn’t me. I felt bad for not fulfilling my duties as a student and as a daughter. I had been sent far from home by my parents, but still, I was unable to take any action. Also, I found economics hard and uninteresting. Finally, I convinced my parents after much tension and misunderstanding at home. Only my mother supported and believed in me.
At the time I felt as though everything was going against me, but now I am deeply thankful. It was the major turning point which changed the course of my life.
I returned home in January 2013. However, even after returning home, I was still doing nothing and had much going on inside my head. Before I joined college again, I had to wait until June for the new admission process. I still spent my day uselessly knowing not what to do instead. I had a messy room and I used to wake up late. I was still miserable.
‘I have to change’
But then there came a moment where I strongly felt that this had to change. ‘I could not be so miserable. I have to change my life.’ This thought stayed with me for quite a long time but was still unable to take action. Then finally on 13th February 2013, I rose to action. I still remember the day. I started by cleaning up my room. It took me an entire day, but when in the end, I sat in my clean and tidy room, I felt extremely satisfied and my mind felt light
There was a book that had been lying in front of me which I had never read. It was my father’s. The book was ‘The monk who sold his Ferrari’ by Robin Sharma. I started reading it and soon I felt as though, I didn’t find the book, but the book found me. It was the first book I read which truly started my self-improvement or spiritual journey.
I followed almost everything what the book said and in just one month I could see vast changes in myself. I was amazed by the result of putting a conscious effort to restructure my life.
Here is what i started doing since 2013:
- Started waking up early
- Started exercising
- Started reading books
- Started writing
- Started meditating
- Deactivated all my social media account.
My life became so much simpler (How I simplified my life in 20 ways). Where earlier I found nothing to do, I suddenly realised that I had stopped feeling bored. I stopped feeling like a victim and replaced my regret with determination. I had wasted 2 years of my college life. I promised myself that from then on, I would give my best and not waste any more years.
I began to feel that this phase is actually an opportunity for me to prepare myself, know myself and heal from the past unhealthy state of mind and lifestyle.
Seven years have passed since then. I have been on and off-track. But I always came back to myself again and again and again. I realised it is easy to complicate life, but takes deliberate effort to simplify it.
I joined college again in July 2013 in Darjeeling, close to my hometown leaving the city life behind. My three years there is one of the most treasured times of my life which brought in more simplicity and harmony.
Fast forward till now and here I am writing to you. Here is what I have become and achieved so far in these past 27 years:
- Early riser: I never thought I would be a morning person, but now I am and I am proud to call myself one. Since last year I started waking up at 5 am after reading Robin Sharma’s ‘The 5 am Club’. I love morning time and my morning rituals.
P.S This is how I became a morning person and this is my Morning Routine before 8 am
- Reader: I started gaining an interest in reading books since 2013 but I never read regularly. Nowadays since the end of 2018, I have cultivated the habit of reading every single day. There is not a single day that I don’t read. My current morning read is ‘The youthful diary’ by Daisaku Ikeda and Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, ‘The long walk to freedom’ for my evening read.
P.S This is how I make time to Read everyday
- Writing: I started writing a diary in 2013. I tried to write regularly but failed. Then came back to it again. Since 2016 I have stuck with it and now I have cultivated the habit of writing too. It is a space which clears my mind and where I can come back to my true nature.
Here I have written about how journaling has changed my life – incredible benefits I have gained from Journaling
- Exercise: I started exercising regularly using a free app since 2013. People ask me why I exercise when I am already thin, but I exercise because it keeps me fit and motivated. Also, it is because of exercise I started putting on weight. Now I use the fitness app called ‘sweat’ by Kayla Itsines.
- Encounter with Buddhism: I was born a Buddhist but until 2013, I had no idea about the true essence of Buddhism is or what religion is. When I read and learned more about Buddha and his universal dharma, I was deeply moved by how applicable Buddhism is in our day to day life. I did my first 10 days Vipassana meditation course in January 2016 and it was another major thing that changed my perspective of myself and life. Though I haven’t kept up the practice, I meditate whenever I feel the need for at least 10-15 mins using soothing meditation music.
- Quit partying/ clubbing: I used to be a girl who loved parties. Now I love simple pleasures and no longer feel the need for unnecessary entertainment.
- Overcame depression: There is no specific year or date when I overcame it for it took me a long gradual process but I did it by myself and thinking of it, I feel so victorious.
- Studies: After joining college again taking sociology as my new subject, I graduated from college in 2016 becoming the topper of my department. I then graduated from masters being the topper of my University. I never thought that my name would come under the gold medallist holder. I also cleared NET (National Eligibility Test) for assistant professor in my first attempt and JRF (Junior Research Fellowship) in the second.
- Finances: My mother and I have faced difficult times. Though we could fulfil our needs and most of our wishes, we never experienced abundance.
I didn’t want to depend on her anymore. I was eager to help my mother financially and it was last year, 2019 that I became financially independent.
In January 2019 I had kept certain goals, one of which was that I would have at least Rs.1,00,000 in my bank account by June. And amazingly this goal became true when I got my Junior Research fellowship amount disbursed for a total of four months. This happened in May (just before my goal deadline) When I checked my account balance, I was thrilled to see Rs 1,10,000 as my account balance for the first time! That was the start of abundance in my and my mother’s life.
- Started my career: It was also in 2019 that I started my career as a teacher just after completing my Masters. First as a part-timer in a law college in my own place and now permanently in Kolkata upon clearing the West Bengal College Service Commission. I joined on 2nd September 2019 as an Assistant Professor of Sociology.
- Eco-friendly: Since last year I have become little eco-friendly in my choices and lifestyle. Thanks to my friends and everyone who help raise consciousness. Even though I have not been able to eliminate plastic altogether, I try my best to reduce it by being conscious of what I am buying.
- Took up Faith in Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism: And last but not the least, it was in 2019 that I took up the practice of the wonderful philosophy of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism and started chanting the mantra ‘Nam Myoho Renge Kyo’ from March 18th, 2019. It is by far the greatest thing that has happened to me. It has enabled me to apply the correct way of life and gain the strength to be strong, happy and determined to live each day purposefully. I chose my mentor as Daisaku Ikeda, the third president of Soka Gakkai International (SGI)
Apart from this, there have been many many things to recall. 2019 was one of the best years of my life. I hope to keep making every year the best year of my life and move forward with the principle, “Faith equals daily life.”