Sunday, July 26, 2009

To eat or not to eat!!

That has always been the question. There's a constant "Battle of the bulge" going on in almost everyone's life. You know you are at the threshold of middle age when your middle starts to show. And oh boy, do we all work to get those extra few pounds off! I remember a few weeks ago, we went out to eat with friends. And while we were eating, somehow the discussion veered towards fitness, working out, weight control etc. Well, right after the generous dinner and dessert, everybody (except me...I was too lazy!) found themselves at the gym, working out at almost 12 midnight! That's some dedication. Then everybody goes on a diet, till the next dinner outing. I guess dieting is a ticket we pay for exceeding the feed limit.

I think it's great that a lot of folks these days are into exercise and fitness. But a lot of us have a tendency to go overboard. In an effort to look good, we sometimes overlook the need to feel good. Feeling good about ourselves probably helps us more to negotiate life, rather than just looking good. Attempts to lose weight almost becomes like a secondary occupation with some. As one of our good friends puts it -- "I try to lose weight all the time, but it keeps finding me!"

Another friend of mine told me the other day that he was on a seafood diet. "When I see food, I eat it," he says. He has a good sense of humor. Unfortunately, that's the first thing some people will lose when they start a diet. But as my wife says, "the second day of a diet is always easier than the first, because by the second day, you're off it"!

Be positive and have confidence in yourself. Appearance is only a part of the overall package. We should be comfortable with our looks. Whatever we feel inside will be reflected in our persona. We shouldn't judge ourselves through someone else's eyes. Why compare yourself with others? No one in the entire world can do a better job of being you than you. So whatever else you do, don't be stressed about your looks, especially your weight.

'Stressed' spelled backwards is 'desserts'. Coincidence? I think not!


Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Nurturing Neighborhood

A few weeks ago, our 14-year old son came up to me and said-- "Hey dad, I'm going to dance practice."
I almost fell off my chair. "Did you say Dance practice?" The word dance and Simar (our son's name) sound strange in the same sentence.
"Yeah, dad. Dance practice," he said.
"So what kind of dance is it?" I asked hesitantly.
"It's a mixture of Hip-Hop, Bhangra and Bollywood. It's for the graduation party."
My jaw literally hit the floor! "Who convinced you to do all this?" I asked.
"Anything for a friend, dad. Anything... even dance!"

Such is the story of our neighborhood, and particularly its children. Sometimes, it literally feels as if we all have a bunch of kids instead of the two or three of our own! They roll in and out of the neighborhood homes as an entourage. They play together, eat together, argue & fight as kids will, and most importantly, defend each other. In other words, they have each others back. For the last 3 weeks, they practiced sincerely, sometimes 2-3 hours a day. Our daughter made special trips from UVA, whenever she could to practice and help. And the results were evident on the night of the party. The kids were just fabulous in their dance routines, colorful and coordinated. They were seriously involved in their performance, not because they wanted accolades for themselves. They just wanted their friend's graduation party to be memorable.

Friendships like these are generally life-long associations. These kids will soon be carving their own paths as they forge ahead into a promising future. I'm sure they'll always be close to each other, no matter where they are physically, because they'll have poignant memories of growing up together in a nurturing neighborhood. Friendships and associations, formed in childhood and early youth are food for the soul, for an eternity. The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.

The first rule of life is to cherish your family and your friends as if your life depended on it...... you know why?
Because it does.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Take charge of your Attitude!

The other day I met a couple whose life turned upside down because their twenty-two year old son got seriously ill and is now severely handicapped for the rest of his life. What amazed me was their positive attitude.
"I could feel sorry for myself, but it's not going to do me or my family any good. So we have decided, as a family to meet the challenge God has given us. We'll see where it leads us," the husband said.
"But I'm sure you are a little angry... or frustrated at the turn of events?" I asked.
"I was, initially," he replied. "But not anymore. This is our fate, our destiny. I only wish people realize that life is much more than what you own. Life is all about your attitude towards it."

I guess it's the way you look at things. The more I think about it, the more I realize how attitude impacts life. Attitude is more important than the money, the past, the education, the failures & successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a relationship.... an association.... a family. The remarkable thing is that we have a choice every single morning regarding the attitude we are going to embrace for the day. The past cannot be changed, we can't control how certain people will behave. But we sure can control the way we think and behave. So wherever you go, no matter how the weather is, bring your own sunshine.

If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change the way you think about it. Don't grumble that roses have thorns, be happy thorns have roses. Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.

Let me throw you all a question:

Attitude is contagious. Is yours worth catching today?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Looking for that elusive "something"!!

"So what are you up to this weekend?" a friend asked me, before the long weekend.
"Nothing much," I replied.
He was aghast. "You mean you have nothing planned!"
"Not yet," I replied.
"But it's a long weekend, yaar. You should do something."
I smiled and promised him that I would try not to disappoint him. So here's how I tried to do 'something' for the entire weekend!
Thursday evening: "Honey," I said to my wife. "We got to do something special, it's a long weekend."
"We definitely will, but later. Let's go to the movies now," she said. And off we went and caught a wonderful, new movie. After the movie ended, we went to a nice place for dinner.
Friday: My wife got a reminder call from a dear friend in the morning, bright and early, for a class at the Gym. So we went to the gym and after that I tweaked in a little time for the Golf driving range.
"We got to do something," I said to my wife when I got back. "It's a long weekend, you know."
"We sure will. But the kids want to go to the Reston Town center now. Let's hang out with them," she said. So with our children and some friends, we went to the Town center and spent the afternoon there --- eating, joking, laughing and 'chilling' in general. After we came back, we caught another movie.
"Can we go to Busch Gardens tomorrow?" our kids asked me, after the movie.
"Sure...we have nothing planned for tomorrow," I said.
Saturday: At the theme park, we had a great time and ran into more friends. There were some spectacular fireworks there, almost forming a canopy over the entire park.
Sunday: Got back from Williamsburg and just relaxed the rest of the day. The same friend called Sunday evening.
"So did you do something?" he asked.
"Well..." and I went over my weekend. "Does all that qualify for 'something'?"
"So you saw 2 new movies, ate out a couple of times, went to a theme park, saw some spectacular fireworks, hung out with people that mean the most to you.....I think you really did something!" he laughed.

I guess he was right. Sometimes, doing unplanned things works out. So if you are stuck on a weekend with nothing planned, be spontaneous and go with the flow. It will generally end up being special, if you are around family and friends. "Spontaneity is the essence of all pleasure."

"Call it family-time, call it quality time, call it bonding time. Whatever you might call it, whoever you are: you need it." ~ Mark Twain