All Posts Tagged ‘reflections

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2018 Here and Gone…

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This year has been a roller coaster of delights; ups and downs, and curves galore. I have spent much of this year working on my career goals and getting my writing mojo back. Of course I also spent the year with close friends and family and a slew of traveling. It’s been a great period of growth for me and also a period of reflection.

From a career standpoint I was able to network my way back to the city of my heart – New York City, specifically Brooklyn (and in Brooklyn specifically Bedford Stuyvesant). I am actually proud of myself that I was able to pull it off. I thought I would have to leave my current company to do it and that was almost the case, but things were able to be worked out and I am not back where I truly feel I belong and where I thrive.

I found myself in the streets of New York City, with the help of people who have become my family. We may not be blood related, but they are the family that I have patch-worked together across boroughs, cities, and even countries. Leaving the city wasn’t what I wanted, but I did what was necessary at the time; and now, I’m back to stay.

Writing, ah writing…

Back in February, my muse decided to come out and play and I was very excited. I’m happy to stay that the passion and drive that began this year didn’t fade at all; it’s actually grown in fact. I participated in both Camp NaNoWriMo’s (one in April and one in July), as well as NaNoWriMo in November.

April was a dud in the writing department, namely due to work and the big career move I was trying to make; the muse was not happy. July was better and I was able to win that and get what I needed written, which spawned a lot of planning for November. NaNo was a success in November with me being able to write more than 50k words that month. So exciting! This past month I’ve actually been working on a completely different idea as well as editing some fan-fiction that I have ready to go for some fans in particular.

All in all, it’s been a great year in the writing department – I hope it continues into 2019.

Friends and family rallied around me for a couple things this year; one, I raised money from Leukemia and Lymph Society’s Team in Training and ran the NYC Marathon this year. Huge feat – I was pissed off about my time (didn’t finish anywhere near I wanted), but in the end…I DID IT!!! It was a great accomplishment and something I’ve been wanting to do for years – so go me!

The other item on the agenda was traveling! Every year I travel and I tend to go to multiple places. This year was great because it was an awesome mix of old favorites and new exciting places. And not only were the places I visited a mix of old and new, the people I traveled with were too!

I started my year by traveling to an old favorite; San Francisco, California. I went here with some new friends from work, but one of my oldest friends in the world. It was a great way to start off 2018. Next trip was back to wine country with my sister for the BottleRock music festival. Let me tell you – the festival is expensive, but for the two of us – totally worth it. I love how much I’ve bonded with my younger sister during this time; we’ve learned a lot about each other I feel during this time.

The sisterly time wasn’t done yet; in July, she and I went to Iceland and had an awesome time. August came and went with a new city and new travel buddy! I went to Ireland for the very first time, ran an international half marathon for the first time, and travelled with a new buddy for her first trip to Ireland as well! I’d heard the food was horrible here, but I have to disagree – I ate so well while I was there. The views are fantastic along the coasts, and the city of Dublin is so cute!

As the year has wound to a close, I find myself writing from the beautiful and old city of Lisbon, Portugal. My big brother and I are enjoying our first solo international trip together. This city is breathtaking, the food is delicious, and the weather in December has been phenomenal. We’ve already decided to come back!

So what have I learned this year? There haven’t been any great flashes of insights or big revelations. The knowledge that I have learned this year has always been with me, but I guess this was the year that I finally voiced what I knew to be true for a long time.

Here’s what I figured out:

I can be disappointed in how long it took to do something; but that never negates the accomplishment of actually putting in the work and doing it.

I have an abundance of experiences that I’ve already lived through, and they are preparing me for what is to come.

I have the capacity to be so much more than what I am right now – it will just take time to get there.

I am truly and well loved and cared for.

Simple things right? Like I said, no rocket science in there at all, but still lessons learned and hard won.

With that, I will bid 2018 a hearty goodbye and farewell.

See you in 2019!

Happy New Year!

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New Year, More Writing? Maybe?

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I’m not really sure where 2017 went for me. When I look back it almost seems as if I were an apparition – a reflection in the mirror – that watched the year speed by like the Shinkansen in Japan. Between the blur of true news, fake news, tumultuous White House shenanigans, and yet another mass shooting, I don’t think that there was a dull moment throughout the year.

What boggled my mind really was the fact that when I tried to put pen to paper or fingers to keys, nothing came to mind.

Not one thing.

I had no inspiration for creativity, no inspirational thoughts that were incessant enough to have me scrambling for my keyboard and this blog – this creative space – to let me unleash the relentless screaming in my mind. Everything was curiously silent. I didn’t know what it meant then, I still don’t know what it meant now, but I do respect it. That lull lasted almost the full year, for whatever reason. I guess I just need a break. Why? I have no clue, but it what it is.

Instead what I did was travel. I traveled with friends, with family, and through long car rides to and from work, I traveled alone with just me, my thoughts, and music. In the year 2017, I think I just was. I had fantastic experiences last year, and for the first time in a while I truly felt that I had lived.

No two experiences are ever alike and through each one I felt as if I achieved something; no matter how minute, it was an achievement.

In Peru, I hiked and reached a 4200 meter summit and walked amongst the ruins of Machu Picchu.

In California, I danced and sang the weekend away at BottleRock Music Festival.

In London, I was awed and inspired by the last Adele concert in Wembley stadium (rumor has it!).

In India, I reflected on many things in Rishikesh, and joyfully attended a friend’s wedding in Udaipur.

And on a cruise ship in the Caribbean I wound down my year and ended it with calm thoughts and an excitement for new beginnings.

Did I write last year you ask? I did – finally – during NaNoWriMo I was able to get out a story that had been fermenting for a while. A quick burst of inspiration, and a quick sprint to the finish to get it done, but it was completed. I was satisfied and surprisingly the urge to write that had failed me so many times over 2017 was alive and well by the time the year ended.

So here I am now, sitting in my room, on my bed, writing for the first time in 2018. A month into the new year I’m still excited, and I can’t wait for what’s coming.

And maybe, just maybe more writing will be done this year, but I’ll just have to wait and see where my mind takes me – this time around. 😉

Until Next Time…

 

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Autumn has gone, winter is here, and the end of the year is near…

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Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.  ~ Hal Borland

My autumn truly began in Long Island, NY at another half marathon the first weekend in October. This half marathon is called the Diva’s Half Marathon and it was very fun. They gave us tiaras and feather boas to cross the finish line in as well as little champagne flutes of sparkly juice at the end.

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Run Sister Run Divas! My big sis Taj & me. 

Later in the month I went geo caching for the first time with a friend of mine in Punderson State Park here in Cleveland. It was an absolutely gorgeous autumn day. Temperatures were close to the low 60s, the sun was shining, and all of the leaves were changing colors beautifully. We hiked for a few hours caught up and then warmed up with tea. It was a great way to end the month.

November is always a short month to me because of Thanksgiving. Every year I take shameless advantage of the fact that I have a built-in four-day weekend due to turkey day. This year I went to Germany; Munich to be exact. A close friend of mine moved to the city with her husband and I went for a visit. I only stayed for a week but I was able to get a lot done. Here are some of the highlights:

Zugspitze: highest peak in the German portion of the Alps:

Architecture and History in Munich: the whole freaking city is awesome, way too much cool architecture to see in a week, will be going back to see more.

Deutsch Museum: Science & Technology Museum; this is a definite must see! You need at least half a day to get through most of this place…just plan a whole day.

Day Trips: Nurnberg (only a 2 hour train ride away)

Christmas Markets: while I was there most Christmas markets were just opening up. I was able to go to more local markets, which was very nice.

Needless to say the trip was so much fun. My friends had to work during the day say, so most of my trip I was alone wandering about, but its nice traveling alone sometimes. I had plenty of time for reflection and I didn’t rush anywhere. I was able to take my time and see the city the way I wanted to. I missed some things but not many, either way I will be going to Munich again.

My trip to Germany wrapped up my November and December blew in with crazy cold temperatures and snow here in the Northeast. Work was extremely frenetic the first two weeks and utterly dead the third week in December. My family does a holiday trip every year for the Christmas season and this year we went to Universal Studios. It was nice to get out of the cold weather and have some fun while we were doing it. Of course the highlight of my trip was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

When I look back at this year, I can’t believe it went by so quickly. So many things have happened for the good and the bad. I’m just so thankful that I am healthy, happy, and my family is well. There has been plenty of change in 2016 and I can’t wait for what 2017 brings.

Since I will probably be asleep when the New Year rolls in, Happy New Year all. See you in 2017.

Quote from: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_newyears.html
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Reflections: Mad dash to the finish and beyond…

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“Courage isn’t having the strength to go on – it is going on when you don’t have strength.”

― Napoléon Bonaparte

When I think of the last ten to eleven months, I am reminded of training for three to four half marathons in quick succession of each other. Every day is a challenge, whether it is mental, spiritual, or even physical. The last two semesters of getting any degree, not just an MBA, is a sprint to the finish. There are meetings to talk about meetings, group sessions and projects that go awry, pop quizzes, pop tests, and homework that seems to be unending to keep up with your studies.

However, on top of all the school work, there is job searching, figuring out what path you want to travel after this gauntlet, and all of the self doubts and unending questions of what comes after? Or why did I do this? On top of all of this I had received a life altering diagnosis at the start of my summer semester that severely impacted my health the rest of the year. There were days that I was so tired I didn’t want to move, let alone go be productive at school, but I did it anyway. I had quit my job for this degree, threw away my cushy future and went after what I wanted – there was no way I was going to let anything get me down.

I don’t think I have ever been as unsettled before when I thought of my future, as I was finishing my degree requirements mid December, without a job offer in hand. I really felt like I had failed. Or if not failed, performed severely under par. I was by no means the only one feeling this way, but it’s really crushing when the feelings just cascade one on top of the other. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t know exactly what my next steps were going to be or what I was going to do.

I was terrified.

After the initial burst of fear that last a couple of days after finishing classes and finals, I woke up one day after one of the deepest sleeps I’d had in months, completely at peace. I didn’t have anywhere to be, nothing to compete with my time; I could do whatever I wanted. Around the same time, my doctor let me know that my health was on the mend.

I had finished the gauntlet, the degree was mine, and the experiences I had had were amazing, terrifying, and could never be replaced or replicated. My health was back on track; I could get back to where I had left off months before-if I wanted to.

Or I could carve out something completely new and actually be able to spend the quality time to get it right for me this time around. Without a job to quickly jump into, I actually had the time to focus on me. And that’s just what I did and what I’m continuing to do. I’m still looking for a job, but I’ve been working also on mentally recharging my batteries, spending time with friends and family, travelling the world, and truly giving myself a break.

The MBA taught me what I needed to know in business, working in teams, and how to become even more successful in the next phase of my career. However, I also learned that sometimes, it’s okay to slow down as well and take time to really live life and not have a plan moving forward.

So am I still internally freaking out every now and again? Sure. Am I letting it rule me? Absolutely not.

Whatever is supposed to happen will eventually happen and not a minute sooner.

Next Up: Travelling Iceland

*Feature Image Credit to M. Walcher

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Reflections of a Frustrated Global Graduate Student

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“You’ve done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination.” – Ralph Marston

*Wasn’t sure if I was going to post this, but I think it really shows the meaning of the word epiphany. This was a really hard semester.*

XLRI is one of the premier graduate institutions in India. It is most well known for its Human Resources program, but the XLRI Business School is also touted to be a best in class school. So when coming to a best in class institution, there are certain expectations that one automatically believes will come from attending this particular school.

You can expect:

Disciplined academic structure

Tough teachers

Even tougher classwork

Many late nights studying

Mental agony…

And this list could go on and on and differ for many people, but when I think of a best in class institution, the first thing that comes to mind is disciplined academic structure.

[Start Rant]

What I didn’t expect was sheer chaos.

As always at the beginning of the semester, the whole cohort was given a schedule of when are classes were, but even within that week there were changes.

And then the next week more changes.

And the week after that there was again another round of changes.

Fast forward to end of March – there was not one week that went by this semester that classes were not cancelled or rescheduled. The schedule given to us at the beginning of the semester wasn’t even close to the schedule that had to be followed.

The last few weeks were particularly crazy. Sometimes we had assignments due the next day, but we weren’t given the assignment until much later that night. It’s not a problem if the assignment is given in class, but an assignment that isn’t given until 11PM the night before and still due the next day? I haven’t ever experienced anything like it.

I asked my Indian classmates many times if this was normal in Indian university levels. Most said that their undergraduate levels weren’t like this, but some did mention that this was how it was done. I was and still am utterly flabbergasted.

I get that school is supposed to be challenging and stretch you and build you up…but in my mind without having a structured environment where you feel safe enough to do that in, it just poses problems.

[End Rant]

For the people who know me well, they know that this makes me a very unhappy human being. I love planning and I love order. I thrive in those environments. Coming into an academic situation where there was no order and stumbling through the semester just with sheer will power alone was excruciatingly painful at times.

Don’t get me wrong. I learned that I have the strength to get through it. I learned that even though ambiguity and uncertainty doesn’t sit well with me at all levels that I can push past it. I even learned I can think on my feet a bit better now and I fight more for my voice, than I have in the past.

And that was really what I had to remind myself of in the end. I didn’t come to get my MBA, or more importantly, voluntarily go abroad to get my Global MBA to just play it safe. I wanted to do this, because I wanted to grow. Honestly if I didn’t learn anything out of this whole semester, then attaining an MBA while traveling the world wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing. This whole experience forced me –literally – out of my shell and made me work. I can say I worked harder than I’ve ever had to, in order to get the grades that I did.

As I look back on the whole semester as it winds to a close; I’m thankful.

I’m thankful that I decided to take this risk.

I’m thankful that I made it thus far.

I’m just – really thankful.

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Inspirational Influence: TATA, Jamshedpur, & India

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“I know that aiming at perfection has its drawbacks. It makes you go into details that you can avoid but that is the only way you can achieve excellence. So, in that case, being finicky is essential.” – J.R.D. Tata

There is usually that one person who sparks inspiration and ingenuity that spreads into a wildfire of innovation and revolutionizes an age.

For India, it ended up being one family.

India is known as the birthplace for yoga, for the colorful clothes, the interesting history, and of course for the Taj Mahal. However, for many that is all that they know India for. Those in business know that there is just one more thing synonymous with India – and that is the TATA Group.

The TATA Group is a conglomerate of a hundred companies in everything from motors, to the food industry, from jewelry, all the way to technological consultancy services. Obviously the group wasn’t started on its own. It was started by one man in the late nineteenth century, with the dream of only starting one company, and his name was Jamshedji Tata.

On XLRI’s campus, there is a museum and archives for the first company created by the descendants of Jamshedji Tata, TATA Steel. TATA Steel was the first industrial company that was created by an Indian in India in the early twentieth century. Though he wasn’t alive to see it built, Jamshedji set the plans in motion. It was amazing hear from our tour guide all the various ideas and the great lengths that this gentleman went through in order to pursue a dream. Not only was he instrumental in the creation of TATA Steel, but he was also integral in the creation of India’s first technical institute, and India’s first planned city, which of course was named in honor of him; Jamshedpur.

Jamshedpur, where XLRI is located, is TATA’s city. You can see TATA Steel from campus and it’s still producing quality steel that is used by the likes of Honda, Toyota, and Hyundai. TATA motors also has offices here and hopefully as part of our courses here we will be able to go to this factory as well. I haven’t seen much of Jamshedpur, but from what I can see, it is a beautiful city. It is the first planned city, as I mentioned before, and it is also the seventh (or eighth) cleanest city in India. Another unique fact about Jamshedpur is that the city is completely run by the TATA Group, not the Indian city government. TATA provides filtered water and electricity to the city. TATA owns some of the land that makes up Jamshedpur, but the rest it leases from the government. The current term of the lease is 99 years and the lease was just renewed in the last few years.

From the museum visit, I also learned that TATA group also pours much of their resources into environmental protection and education for the people of Jamshedpur and the rural villages that are around the city. They have many small programs such as health programs, and teaching programs in these rural parts, not only to foster a learning environment, but also making sure the people are healthy and well cared for and more opportunities than they could have imagined before.

It’s always nice to see a huge corporation giving back to the people and for me, I’m awed to see that the inspiration of one man over a century ago, inspired his family to create and nurture this same spirit within itself and to others over the years that have past.

Jamshedji Tata

Jamshedji Tata

One exhibit detailing the history of Jamshedji Tata and the start of the TATA Steel plant and other companies.

One exhibit detailing the history of Jamshedji Tata and the start of the TATA Steel plant and other companies.

This portion of the archive depicts the steel making process on the walls. However, it also showcases local Indian artists and their paintings. All of these paintings have been bought by the TATA Group.

This portion of the archive depicts the steel making process on the walls. However, it also showcases local Indian artists and their paintings. All of these paintings have been bought by the TATA Group.

Another amazing man from the TATA family. He dedicated his life to his passion for aviation  and the education of children in India. This is his last quoted statement, before he died.

Another amazing man from the TATA family. He dedicated his life to his passion for aviation and the education of children in India. This is his last quoted statement, before he died.

A painting that was created by a local Jamshedpur artists - who is illiterate - and found away to create a portrait of JRD using convex mirror reflections.

A painting that was created by a local Jamshedpur artists – who is illiterate – and found away to create a portrait of JRD using convex mirror reflections.

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Compilation of Reflections

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Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. ~ John F. Kennedy

As my time in China is coming to a close, I find myself thinking over the last three months and I realize how much I’ve learned. I’ve learned many things; financial accounting, strategy, supply chain and analytics – but the those were just book learnings. Living abroad in a country that is so different from the one you’ve become accustom teaches you so much more about yourself, about life, and how time doesn’t stand still for anyone – it keeps marching forward.

About Me:

I have learned that as much as I have travelled and experience the world, there are still many things that I have yet to learn. My patience has been tested, my book understanding of China and its people has been turned on its head, and my own hypocrisy thrown back in my face.

Classic example; I am patient as long as people are receptive to learning about different things, but once I see some people only hear what they want to hear I baulk and leave them behind. But, when I reflect on this, I find that I do the same thing – especially when I’m not hearing what I want to – or what I think is right.

Hypocritical? Yes. Have I changed yet? Still working on it.

About Life:

My life is my own and everything that I do impacts it. I’m always concerned with doing the right thing or making sure that I am ‘saving face’ that sometimes I think I miss out on things. Perhaps I missed out on being a goofball, or I might have missed that amazing party, but I figure as long as I’m happy and healthy and I have my self respect who cares right? Sometimes I do feel a little down, when I think of the things that I’ve missed out on, but the amazing and crazy thing about life is that you can totally change it.

I need to remember that life serves up the whole world on a platter with an infinite amount of choices as side dishes – it’s up to me to pick what I want, when I want, and how I want it. If something passed me by – well there is always the next dish!

About Time:

Time waits for none; not one person. As soon as we humans were born, we’re literally dying and sooner or later it will be lights out for us all. I don’t want to have regrets when that time comes for me. I don’t want to feel as if I left something out there unfinished that was important to me. There are many things that are important to me and that I feel I need to have done before my time comes. I hope that I have decades, but who knows what’s around that unseen corner.

I’ve realized that in actuality as long as I’m experiencing new things, enjoying my friends, and have the love of my family – I have everything I could ever need. The time to travel, time to get an MBA, time to do more – well, all that time is extra. As long as I have it, might has well use it.

Right?

Until next time!

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