Listening to the beat of a heart
Until someone whispers
“You are so special”
The heart surges
With unexplainable emotions
I met up with a colleague from an ex-work place about four months ago. We talked about how different our lives are from what it used to be just five years ago and where our careers have led us today. After an hour or so, she looked at me intently and asked me “so what’s your plan?” to which I simply stared back. I had a million thoughts running through my head though – what plan, should I have a plan, is it bad that I don’t, what does it mean if I don’t have a plan, should I make up one right now just for the heck of it. I couldn’t think of any one thing that would suffice and instead, I replied with a big fat “no”.
I didn’t think about it much for the next couple of days until two weeks later, yet another person asked me the same question. Once again, I responded with a “no” but this time, I felt a tad concerned about what I had just said. Why didn’t I have a plan? If people are going to ask me about it, perhaps I should? And what does it say about me if I don’t?
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that what the question actually posed was “what can I do with my time that’s important and make it fulfilling?”
Finding an answer to this question is a far better one to tackle than the previous one which honestly made me feel like an idiot. I don’t have to sit on my bed contemplating the significance and importance of my life; instead all I have to do is find out what feels important to me, and what makes me happy. And this is exactly what you should find out for yourself too.
You see, because life isn’t about what everyone is posting on social media or what I had for my last meal, or the last time I watched a dumb television series or went to work and felt a bit undervalued. A purposeful life is about the moments that make you forget about the bad things, and instead make you feel like you’ve not lost much time. It fills your hours and days with gratitude for the life you breathe.
I understand that sometimes differentiating work and life isn’t possible. Your passion and drive towards the career you’ve built and are building make it hard to separate and that’s okay. Rather, come to an understanding that they both go hand in hand. This way, every working moment is also fulfilling and will bring you joy. I look at millennials who are a couple of years younger to me and have realized that they tend to blur the line between work and life and strike a balance. Instead of compromising on one, they make sure both complement one another and view it quite holistically.
It is imperative that you spend your time wisely; however, sitting at home, doing nothing every now and then is not such a bad thing either. For many of us, old fashioned complacency can be disastrous; we fall into a routine that serves no purpose, we distract ourselves and end up doing absolutely nothing. I’ve told myself that I want my life input to reflect on my life’s output. As much as I like working hard to receive that paycheck at the end of the month, I also will ensure I put it to good use (add a quarter every month to my savings and spend some of it on traveling and seeing my country). These ideals can change from one person to another, and that’s perfectly alright as long as you find opportunities to be engaged by the challenges that come your way, and you continue to be engaged and energized.
I think I initially panicked because I had forgotten how much of an impact the choices I make in life can have on not just myself, but also the people around me. Know what you value because this will help you understand what’s important to you and how it makes you feel.
Conjuring moments of you and I;
A favourite pastime of mine
Yet, what I long to be true
I’ll never have what’s ideal
Or know what could have been.
Yet, what I long to be true
When I am with you
It’s like nothing else in the world matters.
It’s just us, you and I.
When I am not with you
The world envelopes me
Keeps me away from reaching out to you
There are walls between us I cannot climb
And it’s not just us anymore.
It’s the universe and you.
And it’s just me.
What comes to mind when you read the words ‘healthy habits’? Healthier food habits? Exercising? Getting rid off excess junk from your home? Lifestyle changes? Whatever it may be, you’re on the right track; healthy habits could be anything related to your life, no matter how old you may be.
You obviously want to begin your day on a good note and I find that getting a good night’s rest really helps. It doesn’t necessarily mean eight or over eight hours of solid sleep. Sleep patterns and hours can vary depending on your age and lifestyle but if you can try to count in at least five hours of good sleep, you’re good to go. Also, it helps to keep thinking out loud of how good a rest you had to make your body and mind believe that you actually did. Create a night and morning routine that works for you and will help you achieve this. Having a relaxed hour or so before bed, and waking up to a routine the next day are great habits to adopt as you go.
I don’t do this enough but remind yourself to continuously hydrate your body. 70% of our bodies hold water and are in need of liquids; if we don’t feed it what it needs, your body is going to feel dehydrated, lack energy and eventually not function as it should. You may have read multiple articles on how you should drink eight to ten glasses of water a day, but then again this varies too. Simply, drink as much as you can; I find that a large mug every morning, before a meal, after a meal, in between snacks, and a final one before bed is the best way I can adopt this healthy habit.
It’s important that you feed your body good food and by that I mean, the right amount of nutrients and vitamins it requires. Adopting a strict clean diet without giving yourself the opportunity to indulge on a treat every now and then isn’t the way to live life. You’re going to go through your daily routine unhappily depriving yourself, when you simply plan your meals around giving in to a treat or two. Exercise is another way you can take care of your body; whether it’s a sport you enjoy, walking, running or yoga, choose one that you enjoy and can see yourself adopting into your lifestyle. You don’t have to stick to doing it every single day of the week. Instead, twice or thrice a week is good enough.
As much as it is important to feed and nourish your body, you should be doing the same for your mind. We can tend to get caught up in the fast-paced world that we live in, with technology taking over every step of our lives. What I’d recommend is to escape from all that rush every now and then, and clear and refresh your mind. Whether it’s keeping aside your phone and other gadgets for a couple of hours a day, taking a vacation, meditating or even speaking with a therapist, choose what works and helps you.
Surrounding yourself with the people and things that you love and enjoy is another great habit you should adopt. Ever have toxic people that suck the life and energy out of you? I’ve had a few negative souls that I had to cut ties with and in all honesty, having a small circle of very close, and truly understanding compassionate friends is way better than having a hundred that make me feel all things negative and add weight to my shoulders. I also love books, so I make it a point to read one at least once a month (I aim for two).
Life is only as complicated as you make it seem. Have positive thoughts and a positive mind, let it out into the universe, and it will come back to you in great ways. If you believe in karma, then you’d understand exactly what I’m saying. Do good things, be a good person, have good thoughts and it’ll come back to you in exactly those forms. Put a smile on that face and face the day in a positive and healthier manner. It’s not rocket science; good luck!
Breakfast is all important fare if you’re Sri Lankan. We take our first meal of the day very seriously and if it isn’t fulfilling, the meals of the rest of the day are going to amount to nothing. In terms of the number of restaurants and cafes swarming the city, Colombo has plenty of options to offer but when it comes to a hearty morning meal that tastes as good as it looks and is priced just right, places are hard to find.
Rare at Residence may have reputation for fine-dining fare with equally fine prices, they’re very quickly becoming the rave for their newest breakfast menu. Keeping in mind the importance of quality over quantity and price, none of the listings are priced over Rs. 900 and include some breakfast choices you definitely won’t find elsewhere.
Creating the menu definitely took its course of time as the team behind the restaurant and management wanted to ensure they got each item of the menu just right. Whether it’s the eggs Benedict or the house-made granola, they’ve harnessed the dishes down to the tee with exceptional flavour, precise technique and great quality.
A morning cuppa joe is important and the menu consists of both hot and cold drinks such as lattes, cappuccinos, teas, smoothies and milkshakes. Their Baker’s Corner includes house-made baked goodies; croissants, muffins and doughnuts. To kick off the tasting experience, we placed an order of the hot latte with baileys and hot chocolate, and a plate of the muffins and croissants.
As someone who loves the typical chocolate muffin, I thought it was only fair that I’d try the pineapple and cinnamon one as well as the wild berries muffin. The fruitiness of the pineapple thankfully wasn’t too overpowering and it was well balanced with the touch of spice from the cinnamon in it. The wild berry muffin on the other hand was quite delicious, although I wouldn’t have minded more fruit chunks in it. The croissants blew my mind away. They were light and airy, crispy on the top and soft on the insides. Almonds croissants are a tough feat to get by; but the creamy compote that oozed out with each bite was truly a delight.
The main menu includes a bowl of porridge; a blend of oats, barley, almonds, organic quinoa, flax seeds, cashew, walnuts, cinnamon, served with honey and poached pear. If you happen to be a someone who is conscious about eating clean and healthy, this is certainly a good option. I’d also recommend the breakfast sundae that is made of house-made granola, mixed berries, honey, curd and mint. Every crunchy bite topped off with the curd and honey was quite expectedly delicious. I wasn’t too keen on the cinnamon and oatmeal pancakes because I happen to prefer plain ones with chocolate chips, but a bite of this certainly changed my mind. The pancakes has the right amount of fluff and flavour, and the topping which was a ‘pani’ apple compote really pulled it together; another great healthy breakfast option.
Any French toast fans out there? Rare’s version of this favourite includes cinnamon, passion fruit, caramelized banana, pure honey, ‘lovi’ and ‘pani’ apple compote; a burst of fruity goodness with each mouthful. There’s also the usual additions – a plate of seasonal fresh fruits, eggs any style you’d prefer from gruffly scrambled ones with topped off with feta and even a typical spicy omelette. Sausages, bacon, chicken, extra cheese and so on can be added upon request.
The rare version of an eggs Benedict was of an toasted English muffin, capers, pickled shallots, hollandaise sauce, to which you can add smoked salmon as well. Unlike most Sri Lankans, I do love my runny eggs and breaking into the meal was pure satisfaction. The hollandaise sauce was perfection. The Manner crab received a similar reaction, as it included poached eggs, avocado, tomatoes, micro greens, served on a sourdough toast. If you’d prefer something slightly different, try the crispy eggs which includes soft boiled eggs coated in local spices, asparagus cream, toasted English muffin. The asparagus sauce adds a unique touch of flavour to the entire dish. The bagel with bacon, scrambled eggs, micro greens, cream cheese, caramelized onions, and the cured wild salmon, avocado picked onions, dill, crème fresh, potatoes were two of my favourites as well; both dishes had a fresh flavourful bite.
If you’re someone who can’t seem to get away from the local palette of breakfast options, you won’t be disappointed; there’s kiribath and pol roti, with fish curry, chicken ambulthiyal, dhal, lunu miris, and assorted sambols.
No one truly prepares for that moment and year they turn 30. I say it like it’s a big deal when I bet some of you are possibly thinking that’s not even so, but it is to some; it kind of is, to me. “What do you have planned for your life,” a colleague asked me recently. Plan? I have no plan. Should I? From the moment that question entered my brain, I have not been able to stop thinking about it. Am I not living my best life because I have no plan? How much of a difference is a plan going to make anyway?
All these questions could be important, or it could be nothing. I could be panicking and overthinking for no reason. You see, everyone lives differently. Everyone’s perspective of how to live life differs and if its nothing like mine, it’s okay. If it’s nothing like yours, that’s okay too. You live your life according to your own pace and if that seems to be working out for you, good on you!
Here’s where the fallout kicks in though; when you overwork yourself, when you’re tired all the time, when you don’t have the time to take a break and go on a vacation, when your lack of efficiency creates issues and hurts your progress with work, when you neglect yourself, when you stop making plans with the people who mean the most to you. In our quest for perfection, we seem to be on a roll to get from A to B, when in reality there doesn’t exist an A or a B. We’ve simply created that in our minds and have conditioned ourselves to believe that’s where we need to be heading.
When I turned 30, I made a few mental goals for myself. It had to be simple (basic goals, nothing too far-fetched) and it had to be things I was willing to work towards, for myself. I want to continue to travel at least once a month. Even if it means an overnight stay somewhere, I want to be able to go to someplace new, have experiences and make memories. I want to take better care of myself and by this I mean both physically and mentally. I want to be kinder to myself and not kick myself when I make mistakes. I’ll learn, I’ll grow; it’s not the end of the world or the death of someone. I want to feed my body good food and also exercise it. Whether its cooking more meals at home or making healthier choices when I dine out, whether its running thrice a week at the park or taking yoga lessons, I want to feel good by doing these things for myself.
I want to progress in my chosen career path as an entrepreneur. I want to prioritize each avenue I’m a part of it, think of ways I can make it grow and have some progress in terms of introducing new product lines, creating own collections, and quite honestly earn a bit more money than I do at the moment. Like everyone else, I’ve bills to pay, essentials to purchase and so on – so yes, even though my current salary would do, it wouldn’t hurt to have a higher pay in the time to come.
I like the idea of moving out of my parents’ home and having a place of my own. However, at this point in my life, I’m not sure how feasible of an idea that is. You’d think that by 30 I should have this figured out, but in my culture, children are most welcome to live with their parents for as long as they like. And as a divorced, single woman, the chances of moving out are slim. It doesn’t mean it won’t ever happen; I do want to work towards it. Fingers crossed.
My friends’ circle keeps getting smaller. I can’t for the life of me understand why. Am I doing something wrong? Maybe I don’t have the patience to tolerate nonsense any longer. I lost one best friend during the time of my divorce – which was almost a year ago. I lost another best friend earlier this year. And I’ve recently detached from yet another due to a bit of miscommunication and lack of confrontation and communicating about it afterwards. Who’s to blame? I can’t point fingers now can I? I could be the one at fault. Regardless of what the reasons and circumstances are, I’m here today with a very small circle of friends – souls I truly value and keep close, who I’ve come to undoubtedly appreciate and who understand me as much as I do them. The lesson here is simple; it doesn’t matter how many friends you have at the end of the day, as long as they have the qualities that complement your friendship and enrich your life. Quality over quantity, always.
I am far from perfect. I don’t strive towards perfection or a perfect life at all. What I want is to simply be happy if not content with my life.
I’m not looking for a fancy-ass job or a hundred friends to cling to; all I need are connections between souls that inspire me, a chain of events that put a smile on my face, and a mind full of memories that make appreciate every breathe I take.