It’s been a interesting year for me, yes I know everyone says that. Every year is filled with ups and downs but this one in particular had some unexpected moments that hit me pretty hard – literally! I’m only sharing some of these precious moments because it’s easy to glamorize someone else’s life, and its also hard to know how people get through trying times.
The first trying moment happened in London. You can read the gory details here, but in an effort to make a long story short, I got hit by a car and thought I would lose my left leg. Fortunately my injuries were minor, and happy to say 9 months later I’m back to almost 100%. Even got to run Bay to Breakers!
What this experience taught me was that I needed to slow down! It also taught me that no matter where I am I have people who love and care about me.
Coincidentally less than one week after I got hit my grandmother passed away. I flew back to SF and helped my dad get an emergency visa to visit India. It was sad but it shifted my focus to help someone else, and think less about my physical pain.
The couple months after the accident were tough, especially when people commented on me gaining weight. (I wasn’t working out as much because of the pain in my left leg.) I got tired of telling the story of my accident, and coming up with excuses. So I just did started working out and pushing through the pain, and gave up indulges like chocolate and cheese.
Despite trying to push myself I actually made things worse. All the minimalist running I had been doing caused me to have a stress fracture. That coupled with the long hours I was putting in at work led to me contracting some weird virus in the middle of the summer. Apparently I hadn’t really learned to slow down.
So I finally gave in and turned inward. I began spending the weekends alone, reading Thich Nhat Hanh, practicing yoga daily, and adding in meditation and breathing in the morning after I awoke and before bed. This actually did make me feel better and heal my body.
Since the summer months had been tough I decided to take a much needed vacation. On my last day in Paris, and I went to withdraw cash only to find out that I literally had no money in my checking account. Surely this was a mistake. No it wasn’t… Second trying moment of the year, the government had decided that they had waited long enough for me to pay my taxes, and just went ahead and withdrew all my funds, leaving me penniless 6000 miles away from home. I had intended to pay this bill right when I got back, but procrastination never pays! Needless to say, I didn’t panic, but instead figured out what happened and then came up with a contingency plan. My those engineering problem solving skills sure do come in handy!
The third trying moment happened a couple weeks ago. I had just turned 30 and my mom came to visit. My mom is a pretty supportive person. She will bend over backwards to help anyone and she’s always there for me. But this trip I think she snapped. Me turning 30 freaked her out. As a result, I got a lot of flack for not meeting certain expectations and living up to my duties as woman. My mom knows that I work hard and that I have certain dreams and goals that I want to accomplish before starting a family or taking on additional obligations. She also knows how independent I am, and that she in fact encouraged me to be so from a very young age. But she still felt like I wasn’t living up to the life she had wanted for me. She was upset, and while I tried to soothe her anxieties, I just had to let her speak her peace. Her words were hard to digest, and I did the best I could. Can’t say that she feels any better since then, and I’m OK with that.
Why? Well that’s actually the other lesson I learned. You cannot solve every problem like an engineer, time is sometimes the best resolver. I learned that I just can’t please everyone, including my parents. If they are dissatisfied with me then I just have to come to terms with it. If I can brighten one person’s day then I’ll count it as a success.
Now pile all these random events on top of being a startup founder who choses to spends a majority of her time staying up beat, motivating others, and hustling to make things happens
Yes I realize its probably time to cut back, but doing less or slowing down to a halt doesn’t necessarily make me any happier. What does keep me focused, productive, and happy are these 3 mental tricks:
- Breathing before reacting or making a decision.
- Taking distance from heated moments that cannot be resolved immediately. This also meant shifting my focus to what does need to get done, instead of mulling over that which I have no control over.
- Taking it just one second, moment, and day at a time.
I keep my eyes on the prize but keep my mind focused on what needs to get done in the present. When other people become emotional I try to comfort them to the best of my abilities, but at some point I have to get back to the task at hand because I have others who I’ve made commitments to as well and I also want to move forward.
It’s still been a great year despite the setbacks. I got to live abroad for a couple months, celebrated turning 30 with close friends and family, helped my team launch a new product, and started working with some new and amazing people on creative projects. With only few months left in 2012 I’m packing up the trying moments, and planning to make the most of the rest of the year!