My March

The past few weeks have been a rough but well learning ride. Apart from embarking on finding myself, and what I want from/in life, I also neeeded clarity. I needed clarity regarding the life I was choosing to live, on those who are/were a part of my life and who I wanted to be and what I was willing to go through in order to achieve that. 

Life’s hard and it’ll always be. I expect it to be no different to me. Once you make the right choices for yourself though, there is a sense of calm, peace and happines. I had been longing for that, for far too long. It isn’t easy to decide to end relationships that you’ve been a part of for years, and to find a new path to follow for yourself. We live in a world and I live in a country where the society and community is everything and it’s hard to not follow what is declared normal. Be mindful enough to be able to clarify what and identify what you want and what the society wants. They are most likely two VERY different things. And that’s okay. 

I know now that I can never or hardly ever live up to others’ expectations of myself. I am beyond that. It’s important to me however that I simply live up to mine. Social normals and realities aside, it’s important to find out what is normal and right in my eyes. How do I see myself? How do you see yourself? I know it’s easy for someone to advice you against listening to others and yet, take it fro someone who knows when I say, you really shouldn’t. It’s easy for the mind and heart to fall prey to words that are uttered in shame, anger, pain and disappointment. It does not howevr mean that they are true. Let people talk. They always will. Try not to let it affect you. I’m trying. Words hardly ever die, but a ruined peace of mind is hard to find and nuture so hold on to it as best as you can. 

It may sound ignorant or very stubborn of me, but a close friend told me I need to be thick skinned during hard times. I’m grateful for that piece of advice. It’s gotten me through rough days and harsh criticism. The negativity is hardly ever going to stop when I’ve chosen to do something out of the norm or against what is expected of me. That’s okay too. I can make my peace with that. I choose to let the negativity fall behind my back and continue to move forward. Life does not stop or wait for you. You’ve got to keep moving. 

Finding stability at a hard time and wen you’re just about discovering youself is a bit daunting, but once you start focusing on all the good things in life, stability will follow. Having a job or career that you enjoy, a great support system and friends you can always count on are geat ways to ensure your life continues to go on as best as it can. 

I tell myself, that it is okay to depend on myself. The voices around me misjudge and criticise me for it. All I often hear are the many ways it is a wrong choice to make and the many regrets I will have in my old age. I do it anyways. Why? Because I’m doing it for myself. I owe myself that much. My parents or relatives or friends aren’t always going to be there for me. I know that. This is my life afterall – I come first. Everyone else is secondary. I tell myself to have confidence in myself an to trust that I will be there when I am needed most. Life isn’t about what othes would do for you. What about what you would do for yourself? Be your own confidant, your own friend. Once you believe and trust in yourself, you will be unstoppable. 

What if I gravely fall ill or meet with an accident? Ive been asked these questions countless times. They are possible scenarios but I try not to get too caught up in them. Is the solutin finding a partner so that I can be taken care of? I don’t intend on being cocky or over confident, but I trust that I can take care of myself. I know wahat I am capable of and am not stupid enough to take wild risks. I know when to depend on myself and I know when to ask for help. As long as I am clear on those two terms, I know I have nothing to worry about. 


Twelve months

When I look back on the past twelve months, I see a huge difference in myself. I no longer wear the hijab, I no longer carry a shawl with me wherever I go and I’ve actually taken action regarding my life. Change is coming; change is here. 

It’s been a definite bumpy road, but I see how in small ways, the changes I decided to make have led me to where I am today. For that, I am grateful. 

I am grateful that today, I stand by myself with no need to impress someone or please someone for the sake of keeping the peace. I am grateful, that I do not have to pretend to be someone I am not. I am grateful for the career changes I made because I am able to financially support myself independently and keep my passion for writing alive. I am grateful I kept close, the friends and family who have meant so much to me and continue to support me in my hard times. 

It’s easy I think, to lose sight of what matters in hard times. It’s easy to get caught up in unnecessary drama and forget whats important or lose your way. I’ve faltered on so many accounts in the past twelve months but I am grateful I kept steering towards what needed to be done. 

Some days continue to be hard; like today. It was hard and I moped for some hours; I passed the deadline on a due write-up. i daydreamed a little too much and overthought certain scenarios and moments in my head. I try not to give myself a hard time over having the occassional hard day though. I should be allowed to have a few every now and then. I’m only human afterall. 

Life goes on….

Living by the Latte Factor

At the beginning of every year, it’s always the same mind frame – try not to over spend; it’s about time I spent wisely. It never works, or rather is works for a short while and then not, and then again for a while and then again not. A friend of mine recently brought to light ‘the latte factor’. I immediately assumed this had to do with cups of coffee but how daft was I.  

According to Modesty Money, the latte factor is unconscious spending on the little everyday things that do not add value to our lives. This got me thinking. I mean, who doesn’t unconsciously spend on a cup of coffee in the morning, or a chunky moist brownie in the evening, or a new stylish pair of shoes on whim? There’s also the weekly stash of snacks you buy just to munch on while you watch your favourite tv shows, the soft gummy candy, the luscious scented handmade soap, a new journal with a funky cover that all adds up to little everyday things that really don’t add much value to yours or my life.  

How does this little spendings every now and then cause a dent in your bank account? Here’s an example – a weekly cup of coffee from a decent café in town could cost you say Rs. 500. For a month, that’s you spending Rs. 2,000 and for a year that’s Rs. 24,000. The number may seem to surprise you, but this is just assuming it’s one cup of regular coffee a week. Say you have twice that amount a week? That’s Rs. 48,000 a year spent on cups of coffee alone. Bet you didn’t imagine that!  

I’m someone who loves to eat out. My best friend and I tend to try out new restaurants and cafes so we bust quite a bit of cash on food and drinks. It’s something we love to do so I feel it doesn’t really fall into the category of the latte factor but here’s an example of how overspending can really cause a dent in your bank account if you aren’t mindful about it. Let’s said a single meal costs you Rs. 1,500 at a decent restaurant, this may include a regular drink or iced beverage. Twice a week? That’s Rs. 3,000. For a month that’s Rs. 12,000 and for a year? A whooping Rs. 144,000. I’ll let that settle in before you read further.  

What the latte factor does is shed light on the dangers of habitual yet unconscious spending. Rs 500 here and there won’t look like much but with a bird’s eye view of your every day or every other day spendings, it presents a clear and yet scary image of your financial habits.  

Recognizing the latte factor and changing a few habits isn’t going to make you rich. What it’ll do is, regulate or somewhat discipline your everyday spending habits in the long run. In reality, putting a complete stop to our habits and things we enjoy buying is extremely hard. I’ve been trying for a week and well, I feel like a cheap dud but I know I’m just cutting down on unnecessary spending so I tell myself it’s okay. The occasional cup of coffee or new book is alright. You deserve it. You see, the latte factor isn’t about holding on to every last cent or rupee until you’re old and wrinkly; it just sheds light on the unnecessary parts of literally throwing away money for no good measure or with no meaning.  

According to Modesty Money, the latte factor is about looking at everyday spendings and cutting down on what does not bring you joy or has no proper value to you. That is what needs to be eliminated. Cancel that gym membership you’ve had forever because you’ve not been going. Don’t give it to the temptation of a sale just because the prices would be reduced. Don’t turn your home cooked meal away and run to the nearest best café in town just because you feel like it. Think about it. This is about curbing unnecessary spendings, saving your hard earned money and possibly even investing wisely.

Good luck!