I silently passed the much creased and almost torn sheet of paper to my sister. She opened it, with a questioning glance at my face. As she read the fading scribbles, an incredulous look took over.

“You managed to hold on to this for so long?”

“Isn’t it a good thing I did? It does bring back memories”, I said.

“Ah, 18 years”, she breathed.

She looked around for her absent cup of tea. Having faced our respective mid life crises; we now needed the crutch of a beverage to get a conversation going. Where did all the spontaneity and excitement go?

I flattened out the paper with my palm. And ended up in tearing it a little bit more. “Read it aloud”, she said.

I gave a wan smile and started.

“Our List of Resolutions made in January 1996″, I said.

” Learn Driving.
Lose weight
Improve English speaking skills
Be more patient with our younger sister
Help mom more
Clarify career goals
Clear out unnecessary papers from drawers.
Revamp wardrobe.

Our smiles broadened as we moved down the list.

” You know, 90% of these things are still on my resolution list. They have only been modified a bit. In some cases, they have been toned down, taking in view the practicality of things. In other cases, the scope has expanded. But the list remains the same”, my sister exclaimed.

“I have stopped making resolutions”, I said. But inside I wondered if that were the solution. I looked around for my art journal and doodled to get a clearer head.

I thought back to how my perception of things had changed over time.

I now value memories and experiences over things. Revamping wardrobe may still be done but not on war foot. We may not go armed with our month’s savings to bargain hunt for cool clothes. I would much rather take a day trip to a nearby place with friends or my children. In experience vs things, experience wins hands down.

A few years ago, my goals and dreams were paramount. Needs and desires are still important. Perhaps in some ways even more so. I now tend to put others needs before mine. That was unthinkable a few years back. At times, even I am out of touch with my deepest desires. This should change, for a happier me would spread more cheer.

I cherish moments more. I am aware of being mortal, like the rest of humanity. This also makes me realistic. I know what is important in this shorter life span.

I have learnt that the only one I can count on is me. I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by extremely supportive people but I know that the first and the final push has to be mine. I have to take initiative and I have to muster the momentum, for only I know truly about the journey I am on.

I understand that lucky are those who are prepared. Vision, preparation and hard work makes you lucky, not the alignment of your stars.

I recognise the wisdom that age brings. Many years ago, I stubbornly refused to listen to those older to me. I was determined to strike out on my path, alone and undeterred. I know now to look at other’s lives and listen to words so as to predict accurately outcomes of certain actions. There are some immutable laws of the universe that can be uncovered through observation alone.

And most importantly, the thing that is holding you back is usually, rather always in your head.


As for my resolutions this year, I might still put many of those things on my list again. But my attitude to attaining it all has changed, just like my priorities.

One thought on “What came before…

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